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twirling pages

a recipe for the PERFECT book review

October 21, 2017

hellooo! it’s madeline again.

for my first ~actual post~ on Twirling Pages, i thought i would tell you all about how i might write (what i think is) the perfect book review. book reviews are a huge part of book blogging (hellooo it’s in the name), and we never really talk about the work that goes into reviewing books, just the book reviews themselves.  

but instead of being boring (like i am 99% of the time) and making a basic list, i’m going to be doing it in the form of a recipe! ((i’m trying to be creative here. work with me.)) and YOU KNOW that this post won’t be complete without gifs from The Great British Bake Off, so get ready… *evil cackle* BAKE.


step one: pour in one cup of synopsis and summarization.

i like to start off my book reviews with a synopsis of the book and maybe a few bullet points explaining what the heck is going on in this book?? i like to think of the synopsis section of a book review as the wet ingredients of the cookie dough or brownie batter or WHATEVER delicious desert that you’re making. these ingredients hold everything else, including the dry ingredients together, just like summarizing a book might help a reader to enjoy your review more!

if you go straight into explaining your thoughts about a book without including a synopsis, the reader will (or at least i will) probably have a harder time understanding the specific things you like and dislike about it. especially if i haven’t read the book yet or haven’t even heard of it, it’s so helpful to include a synopsis! 

bonus points if you write your own synopses. you’re awesome if you have the energy to do that. (yeahh i don’t actually write my own synopses. i basically only have the energy to write illegible bullet points kinda summarizing the book #lazy)


step two: stir in two cups of thoughts and feels.

this is the biggest and most important part of the book review! i like to think about thoughts and opinions as the “dry ingredients” of a cookie dough because flour and sugar are the main mass of the dough, and your opinions and thoughts are the truly why people are reading this review in the first place, right?! i mean, you wouldn’t have cookies without the flour, would you?? NO. YOU WOULDN’T.

this is the part when you can scream from the rooftops about why you LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH AHHH or rant about why you hated it. there are so many possibilities and this is YOUR time to let everyone know your thoughts. 


step three: (optional) add in a smattering of structure for extra flavor

i personally like to break up my book reviews into smaller categories and lists such as characters, plot, writing, setting, etc! i find that it makes a book review easier to read and much more enjoyable to devour! we humans have such short attention spans, and i think it’s easier to focus on reading when a book review is broken up into smaller nuggets. 

but i also know many bloggers who write longer paragraphs and their book reviews are still so fun and useful to read, which is why this step is optional. (but i’m team #subheadings and #structure for life, just so you know)


step four: sprinkle in some delicious bookish photography

this is one of my favorite steps! first of all, you gotta have a pretty header image with the book and preferably your favorite dessert also. (kidding.) but do have the book in your header image!!

i also enjoy it so much when bloggers add photos throughout the review to break up the text and add some visual interest. again, with the short attention spans, we gotta stay focused somehow and bookish photography is the solution here (as it always is), i’m telling you.

and it makes the book review even better if you add a few #relatable gifs to break up the text a little if you’re into that.


step five: add a pinch of humor, sass, and style.

this is the part where you really ~spice up~ the cookies by adding some cinnamon and ginger. or, more relevantly here, adding some style to your book review, and show your voice!! especially with book reviews, since i find that they can be hard to read sometimes if they’re not stylistically unique or show off your personality.

there are SO MANY book reviews out there, and i feel that adding some style and humor to yours can make them stand out in the crowd.

aaand i don’t have anything against formal language, but i find it easier to read book review that are written less formally and more conversationally!


step six: bake (or edit) until perfectly golden brown!

chances are, your brownies might not be completely baked when you take them out of the oven to test them with that toothpick for the first time, and the same thing goes for book reviews. sometimes, especially after ranting about a book, your written thoughts might not be the most coherent?? AND THAT’S OK. because there’s, drumroll please, the power of EDITING MAGIC. it might take a little more time in the oven, but you’ll eventually get it right given a little more time.


and that’s it! you’ve got a delicious cookie brownie BOOK REVIEW ready to be eaten and enjoyed!

that’s it for my post today! hope you enjoyed it <3 (ngl i’m hungry now after writing this post lolll)

what’s your recipe for a perfectly delicious book review? would you add any other ingredients/components to your recipe? how do you write your perfect book review?




Madeline Huh

madeline is a sixteen-year-old bibliophile and book blogger. when she's not reading, she's probably running long distances, attempting to finish some of her never-ending homework load, or fangirling over donna tartt & ve schwab. she's also a huge design & biology nerd.