Book Review Format: The Complete Guide for 2023

October 5, 2023

book review format

This the complete guide to everything there is to know about book review format.

Whether your teacher has asked you to prepare for a book review assignment or you’re already working on one, this post will help you to structure your paper more appropriately.

Using the right format to write a book review shows that you care about content organization. It also helps to improve your writing style and analytical skills.

How to Format a Book Review

It is important to note that not all books can be reviewed using the same format or template. While certain elements may be similar, there exist distinct review formats for different types of books.

So here’s the approach that we use:

History Book Review Format

When writing a book review for historical works, it is essential to familiarize oneself with the author’s previous publications by reading various articles and books. In some cases, the author may have even offered critical reviews of other authors’ works, which can serve as valuable sources.

By gathering all relevant information, you can gain a deeper understanding of the author’s perspective.

  • Identify the genre of history the author specializes in and their writing approach. History books can focus on various themes, including gender, class, race, labor, law, and culture.
  • Write a summary of the book, making sure it includes the topic, the author’s argument, the demographics, time, and significant events mentioned in the book.
  • Analyze the author’s structure of the book. History books can be in chronological or thematic structure. So you must determine if the structure aligns with the author’s arguments.
  • Evaluate the evidence provided by the author in favor of their arguments. Evidence can include data, narratives, and characters.
  • Highlight both the strengths and weaknesses of the book.
  • You should include a concluding thought on whether or not to recommend the book to readers.

Critical Book Review Format 

A critical book review involves a more in-depth evaluation of all the ideas and information presented in the book.

While one may argue that historical book reviews also involve evaluating ideas and information, a critical book review requires a more thorough examination of each piece of information, and thus it requires more effort and time. 

For a critical book review, a proper format would be to limit the review to three to four pages and focus on a comprehensive analysis. 

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Citations Used in Book Reviews

The citation formatting used for academic book reviews include APA, MLA, Chicago, and Turabian. Let’s look at a summary of each in the following section:

1. APA

The writing style of the American Psychological Association (APA) format is well suited for academic work in fields such as Education, Psychology, and Sciences.

When applying the APA format to a book review, use the following formatting:

  • Typeface: Times New Roman
  • Font size: 12 points
  • Margins: One-inch margin on all pages
  • Line spacing: Double-spacing between lines of text, including headings, title, and references
  • Alignment: Left-justified margin or flush-left feature for entire document
  • Hyphenation: Avoid using hyphens to separate words at the end of a line
  • Sentence length: Strive for shorter sentences to prevent words from extending into the next line.

Adhering to these formatting standards in accordance with the APA style can enhance the readability and professionalism of your writing.

2. MLA

If you’ve decided to use the MLA format for your book review, observe the following rules:

  • Paper format: standard, white paper
  • Paper dimensions: 8.5 x 11 inches
  • Text spacing: double-spaced, following MLA format
  • Font and typeface: no strict rule, but italics should be distinct from regular type style
  • Font size: 12 points throughout the document
  • Space after punctuation marks: only one space
  • Margins: 1 inch on all sides
  • Page numbers: sequentially at the top right corner of each page in the header
  • Gap from top of page: 1 ½ inches
  • Titles of works: italicized throughout the review essay
  • Endnotes: on a separate page before the Works Cited page
  • Works Cited page: included at the end of the paper, listing resources in alphabetical order

You should follow these guidelines to ensure proper formatting of the paper according to MLA guidelines.

3. Chicago

Ensure that there is a minimum 1-inch margin on all sides of the page, with the main text double-spaced. Maintain a ½-inch indent when starting new paragraphs, and avoid using “justified” alignment and opt for left alignment to create a ragged right edge.

You have the option to include the page number either at the top right corner or at the bottom center of the page, but do not place it in both locations.

Including the title at the top of the page, center-aligned and double-spaced, is sufficient. The font used for the title and text should be identical, and there should be a gap between the title and the page, with the title positioned approximately 1/3 down the page.

Additional instructions include:

  • Do not include a page number on the title page, but count it as the first page in the page numbering.
  • Capitalize every heading or headline.
  • Clearly distinguish between different heading levels, such as chapters and subheadings.
  • Use the following format for prose quotations of five or more lines: block quote with a blank line before and after, and indent the citation by an extra ½ inch.
  • For poetry quotations, the minimum is two lines or more.
  • Do not double-space quotations and citations.
  • Always provide the full form of an acronym when introducing it for the first time.
  • Also, you should capitalize and bold the title and subtitles.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve read this guide up to this far, then it should be clear that formatting a book review isn’t difficult at all.

However, if even after understanding the material in this guide you don’t have the time to work on the project, you can take advantage of our writing help and we’ll write the book review for you.

About the author 

Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.

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