Jun 29 2015

How To Write A Book Critique for College

Adela Belin photo Adela Belin Content strategist and writer
Study Effectively

“Write a book critique on To Kill a Mockingbird”, says your teacher and you wonder what writing a book critique exactly involves.

Is this the same as book review?

Do I have to summarize the book?

Am I supposed to find faults in the writing?

How do I critique a book?

Original: SourceYes, you do so let’s get them answered.

A book critique is an objective critical analysis or evaluation of a book, wherein you are expected to touch upon the strengths, weaknesses and the author’s core purpose behind writing the book.

The goal of this assignment is to get you thinking critically and push you to form your opinion on another literary piece of work, and defend it.

Before you begin this assignment, do note that a critique and review are two very different papers. While the former is an objective evaluation that requires a certain amount of technical knowledge, a review on the other hand is more of a summary of the plot.

Still confused?

Take a look at this video by Susan Faivre wherein she explains what ‘critique’ means in the context of this assignment

Here’s How You Can Excel at Writing an Impressive Book Critique for College

Now that we have established what writing a book critique means, here are some useful tips that can help you approach this assignment with confidence.

Read and Re-read the Book

You might think you can Google existing summaries of the book but that is the worst way to begin writing a critique. The only way to excel is to read the book for yourself because only then will you be able to wholly understand the subject, the core theme and author’s intention.

In fact reading the book once is not enough. Make sure you read it at least 2-3 times and pen down important points that you want to highlight in the book critique.

This approach is a methodical way of working and helps you write with precision, without missing out on any detail.

Do a Background Research on the Author

Research is another important part of writing the book critique. Read up on the author, the times that he lived in and what factors were prevalent in society when he wrote the book. For instance, most of Thomas Hardy’s novels are a historical reflection of the condition of the poor and rural people in the Victorian Era.

Secondly, in order to understand the writing style of the author, you can briefly read or research upon his other books and highlight the common, recurring themes.

Formulate your Thesis Statement

When you are done with the research, it’s a good idea to work on your thesis statement. Don’t worry about perfecting it - at this stage, it can be a work in progress which you can enhance later after you are done writing the rest of the paper.

While writing the thesis statement, consider aspects like the author’s tone, the claims he/she makes, how effectively does the author prove his/her thesis and what assumptions does the author make to name a few.

The clear and strong thesis statement forms the crux of the paper. So, make sure you give it a good thought.

Structure your Writing

As is with other academic papers, drafting the outline for your book critique before starting the writing process is a must.

The introductory paragraph should set the tone of your entire critique. Be sure to write a brief outline of the book, your purpose for selecting it and the overall purpose. Remember - your introduction should not be a summary of the subject you have chosen but a stepping stone for you to build upon your critique.

The body paragraphs are where you need to elaborate on the critical analysis of the plot, characters, themes and writing style. Every argument you make needs to be substantiated with evidence from the book.

The conclusion paragraph needs to summarize the main points. You should also state what changes you would want to make and the impact it had on you.

Be Specific

Have something to say? Get straight to the point. This is no place to beat about the bush or repeat yourself.

Choose 2-3 key points you want to critique and focus on them. Elaborate on each of the points and justify them with specific examples, research data, quotes, etc. This puts your message across clearly and adds credibility to your piece.


So, follow these essential steps and write a book critique that genuinely reflects your unique point of view and thoughts. The trick is to read the book not with the intention to like or hate it but have an objective outlook towards it.

If you are worried about this assignment, don’t hesitate to ask for help.

We at Writers Per Hour have a team of book critique writing experts who are well-versed with the nuances this assignment demands and have exceptional writing skills. So, next time you are met with a book critique writing assignment, write to us with the brief and we will work on delivering a high-quality, custom-written book critique that is 100% original and meets your deadlines.

last edit at Sep 25 2022