Writing a Book Review in MLA Format

How to Write a Book Review in MLA Format

Book reviews are scholarly essays that examine the ideas presented in a written text. An effective book review essay begins with a captivating introduction that gives essential details on the topic.

For example, a book review on history may situate it within the context of Latin American social movements.


A book review is a type of literary criticism in which the author’s ideas are presented in a critical manner. It can be written on any novel and is often assigned to students as an assignment to illustrate their knowledge of the literature. To write a good review, one must make meticulous preparations and gain sufficient understanding of the text.

To write a book review in MLA format, start by writing the title of the book followed by the author’s name and the book’s publication details. You should also include a brief description of the book to help readers identify it.

Next, write the body of the review. This part should be divided into paragraphs that discuss the different aspects of the book. These could include the setting, characters, and writing style. The review should conclude with a short paragraph that sums up the main ideas of the book. You should also provide a citation for each point you have made in the review.


The body of a review essay provides a deeper analysis of the book’s key issues, including your opinion of them. To develop your opinions, it’s helpful to look at the author’s underlying message as well as what genre or field of study the work belongs to. For example, a historian might place their work within the framework of feminist history, focusing on women’s role in society or social movements.

Also, consider the author’s use of specific details and motifs. While you typically don’t need to express your own personal opinion in academic papers below the Ph.D. level, this is an exception when writing a book review. Lastly, make sure to include your recommendation about whether or not you would recommend the book to others. It can be helpful to refer to templates when writing a book review to help you understand the required writing style. This will also ensure that your introduction is short—a long introduction can lower a grade.


Book reviews can be challenging for students to write, but they provide valuable writing experience and are important for future professional success. By following proper book review format, students can learn to critically evaluate and analyze the material. In addition, they can also improve their writing skills and gain an understanding of how publishing functions.

When writing a book review, it is important to understand that the purpose of a review is not just to sum up the content of the book, but to make a judgment about its value and worth to potential readers. Negative criticism can be helpful, but it must be constructive and based on an evaluation of the text.

When writing a book review, the author may choose to use either MLA or APA style. The choice is often based on the guidelines set by the publication or assignment instructions. For example, if the review is to be published in an academic journal, the author will likely use APA style.

Works Cited

A book review should be accompanied by a Works Cited page. The entry should include the author’s last name, first initial and middle initial; full title of the book including the subtitle; editor, if any; place, publisher and date of publication; edition, if applicable; and number of pages. You should also note if the work is available in an electronic version and provide the digital object identifier or DOI, if possible.

The author’s position in the field or genre is another important element to consider when writing a book review. For example, a historian might want to situate the book in a context of Cold War rivalries or Latin American social movements. This can help to inform your own interpretation of the text and clarify your argument. Also, consider whether the author has chosen to emphasize certain points over others. This can influence how the book is received by readers.

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