how to write a book report

Book Report Writing Guidance

It is common to be tasked with an assignment on writing a book report. You will probably start to feel uncertain and anxious, and this usually happens especially when you lack knowledge on how to write a book report. Therefore, it is important to familiarize yourself with the rules of writing a book report.

What Is a Book Report?

A book report is a piece of writing provides an objective discussion of literary work. These literary papers normally take various forms ranging from 500 to 800 words, and they describe the plot, characters, and the main theme of the book.

The Purposes of Book Report Writing

A book report provides an objective summary of the key arguments and ideas presented by the author. Its purpose is to give adequate information to aid potential readers in deciding whether the book will be of interest or use to them. Another purpose is to assist students to structure and articulate their thoughts on their book, therefore, providing a way of developing communication skills sequentially through reading and writing. Additionally, a book report will aid students in exploring the elements of fiction in a particular way, and students who analyze, interpret, and synthesize the content gain a better understanding of literature.

The Structure of a Book Report

There is a standard structure that a book review should follow, which presupposes:


The introductory paragraph contains the key bibliographic information, a brief summary of the literary work, and a thesis statement. It is important to inform the reader of the title and genre of the book, the name of the author, as well as the publisher. If necessary, mention the number of pages and the year of publication. After this information, state your reasons for writing a report on the book.


The body of a book report is divided into three paragraphs. First, you introduce the main characters and describe their roles in the story. The supportingrmally shine a light on the hidden humanity of the main character, offering hope or an unexpected turnaround even when it seems impossible. Sometimes, it is adequate to state their names especially if they did not play a major role in the plot development. Finally, in the plot, you describe the key events so that a reader can easily understand and follow the plot line.


The closing paragraph is aimed at expressing your opinions on the book. It is also the part where you choose whether to recommend the book. At this point, it is important to revisit your thesis statement since the conclusion should be based on the main argument.

How to Start Book Report Writing

First, choose a book to analyze, and find out the basic information that you will need to start working on the text, including the title, the author, and the genre.

  1. Begin reading the book and take notes. While doing so, keep track of the key characters, their actions, main events, the settings, and determine key ideas.
  2. Identify quotes the book, which you can include in your report to describe an event.
  3. Organize your notes. You should write them under specific lists, bullet points, sub-headings, and headings, which makes it easier to write the report.
  4.  Write the introduction and thesis. Just like in any other report, in this section, you can capture your readers’ attention and inform them of what you want to discuss.

How to Write the Main Part of the Book Report

While writing the paragraph on the main character, you should identify who the main character of the book is and why he/she is significant. It is essential that you point out this figure as the main character, and you should write around two or three sentences for this section. In the paragraph on the other characters, you need to write at least a sentence for the each of the remaining important or prominent characters in the book. You can mention the name of each character and the part that each plays in the book. Most books have five or more important characters other than the main character, therefore, just listing each and describing their role in the literary work will suffice. Finally, you should write the paragraph summarizing the plot. The key points covered here include the kind of book, that is, is it a mystery, thriller, science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, or romance? Additionally, name the country or place and the time period the story was set in, such as ancient Rome, present America, or France in the 19th century. Make sure to describe important locationsuch as houses, airplanes, or buildings present in the story; as well as other notable elements of the book such as whether it was scary, violent, slow-paced, etc.; and the outcome of the story, that is, what happened in the end.

How to Conclude the Book Report

In this paragraph, you should discuss what you enjoyed or did not enjoy about the book. This paragraph should summarize your overall impression of the book. Make sure to begin with a sentence stating that it is a closing part, for instance: “My final opinion on Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned is that it is an amazing book, but I was not impressed by how the story ends, because justice is not served.” Make sure to reiterate why you enjoyed and/or disliked the literary work. Finally, you should discuss the book’s strong and weak points, in your opinion, what you learned from it, and close with a sentence stating whether you would recommend this book.

A Sample Book Report of ‘The Hunger Games’ by Suzanne Collins


The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is a novel published in 2008. The genres of the book include; science fiction, some elements of dystopia, and adventure. The reason I chose The Hunger Games was that I love science fiction, and I decided to try the book. On reading it, I really enjoyed it.


Katniss Everdeen is the novel’s main character and a narrator. She is an intelligent, 16-year-old teenager striving to fend for her impoverished family after the death of her father. She feels the need to take care of her family because her mother has been depressed since that tragic incident.

Peeta Mellark is a character from the same district as Katniss, and his father is a baker.

Haymitch Abernathy is Peeta and Katniss’ mentor in the games and the only living survivor of the games in their district.

Primrose Everdeen is Katniss’ 12-year-old sister who is kind but mostly nervous in nature.

Gale Hawthorne is Katniss’ childhood friend and former love interest.

The book’s time period is in the future as indicated by the technology used such as the holographic dome where the Hunger Games is located, and the capabilities the participants have such as making forest fires, draining ponds, holographic wolves, etc. The setting of the book begins in District 12 where people are dressed in ragged clothes, live in impoverished houses, and struggle to get basic commodities. It then shifts to a train, which is a complete opposite of District 12 with nice chandeliers, expensive food, and expensive silver. Finally, one of the final settings is the Hunger Games dome which is a big forest with lakes, ponds, tall, sturdy trees, caves, and animals. The book revolves around Katniss Everdeen, who is a teenage girl that lives in an impoverished district in Panem, which is the war-scarred future United States. Katniss is recruited to take part in the “The Hunger Games,” a nation-wide spectacle where teenagers have to fight to the death as the entire country watches. The winner of the Hunger Games gets a mansion and is taken care of for the rest of their life. Katniss fights alongside Peeta Mellark, a boy from her district and they ultimately become the winners of the games. However, Katniss discovers that saving Peeta angers the president of Panem and she learns that even though she is a winner, she is not safe from the President’s games. The main theme in the book is the abuse of power and people’s rights as displayed by what teenagers have to do to survive, as well as the theme of love and family, as presented by Katniss’ willingness to sacrifice her life for her sister.


My final opinion is that I liked so many components of the book. Among my favorite ones is when Katniss and Rue spent time together after she woke up from getting stung by the Tracker- Jackers. I also got excited as Katniss thought of a plan to destroy Cato and his alliances’ food. Finally, I liked the part where Katniss shot an arrow into a pig’s mouth at the capitol then says “thank you for your consideration,” since no one was paying attention to her until then. The thing I disliked about the book was Rue having to die for Peeta and Katniss to win since she was a genuinely nice person and tough enough to have won. What I learn from the book is the value of family and friendship. Katniss was willing to sacrifice her own life for her sister and worked hard to take care of her family. Additionally, she valued her friends, and they were all supportive of each other. I would recommend the book to anyone who loves mysterious books that give an adrenaline rush, or to anyone who is looking for a fun and interesting story.