Don’t Do These 4 Things in Your Book Reviews

Ramona Mead
4 min readMay 6, 2021
Photo by Melanie Deziel on Unsplash

In the past I’ve shared my best tips for how to write book reviews and what to include. Today I’m giving you my advice on what not to include.

1. Apologize

I see this more so on Instagram, but occasionally on other platforms too. A reviewer will start with, “Sorry, unpopular opinion here…” before giving their thoughts. Usually this is when they don’t like a book that’s wildly popular. I hate seeing it because it implies that reviewer thinks they’re doing something wrong.

There is absolutely no need to apologize for not liking a book. Even if you got it for free, or you know the author, or it’s won a bunch of awards. Not every book is for every reader.

It’s okay to mention that your opinion differs from the majority. I do that all the time. When I dislike a book, I point out why it didn’t work for me and try to think of readers who would like it. It’s rare that I won’t recommend a book, though it does happen. When it does, I’ll say that in my review and I never ever apologize for feeling that way.

2. Personally attack the author

You’re writing a review of the book, not a critique of the person who wrote it. Sometimes with non-fiction, particularly memoir, it can be difficult to not give your opinion of the author because they are the protagonist of the book. When that’s the case, speak of them that way — as you would a character. There is no reason to be nasty to an author in your review.

Photo by Ryunosuke Kikuno on Unsplash

3. Review books you haven’t read

A book loving friend asked me what I thought of “the Lauren Hough controversy.” I had to look it up, and here’s the article where I got my info. Long story short, Ms. Hough took to Twitter to express her dislike of Goodreads reviewers who were giving 4-stars to her recently published essay collection (she felt those really should have been 5-star reviews.) Readers and reviewers responded en masse, blasting her book with…

Ramona Mead

Avid reader, writer of true stories, book hoarder, eternal optimist