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How to Write a Book Essay — Writing Guide

Writing book essays can be a difficult task for students who have only dealt with book reports before. But don’t worry! We are here to provide you with a detailed explanation of how to write an essay on a book. So, read on to learn more about the correct structure, key features of a good book essay, and some useful writing tips.

How to Talk About a Book in an Essay: Key Points

Some students may think that a book essay is nothing different from a book report. But, except for the structure, these two types of essays don’t have much in common. Here are some key points you should know that distinguish an essay about a book from a book report:

  • Authoritative tone. You need to show that your statement is based on what you read, not on what you feel. So, make sure that you can back up your statement with examples from the book.
  • Focus on the ideas behind the plot. The key point you need to keep in mind is that a book essay is not a summary of a book plot. Every book has a certain meaning, and literary merit shown through the plot. And while writing an essay about a book, you need to explain one of the ideas that the author conveys.
  • Quotes and references. In a book report, it is unnecessary to use quotes, as you just summarize the plot. But in an essay on a book, quotes are a tool to prove your point. It is critical to include some quotes to show that your arguments are based on the book. Also, you can use arguments from other essays but don’t forget to cite the reference in the correct way to avoid plagiarism.

Writing Introduction: How to Start an Essay on a Book

An introduction paragraph should catch the interest of the reader and give them a better understanding of what you will discuss in your essay about a book. Thus, there are 3 main elements of an introduction paragraph:

  1. Hook sentence. Start with a general yet intriguing sentence that introduces the book to the reader.
  2. Background information. Give the reader a better understanding of what book you write about, what is its main idea, etc. It is enough to write 2-3 sentences about the book.
  3. Thesis statement. Make a claim about the book, which you will defend in your essay. It should be a clear and precise sentence that defines what you will discuss in your essay.

Body Paragraphs: How to Write an Essay About a Book

The main paragraphs of an essay about a book are devoted to supporting your claim made in the introduction. It is the largest part of the essay, which can be divided into several paragraphs, depending on how many arguments you want to provide. Traditionally, each argument takes one paragraph. Now, let’s take a look at how you need to organize each of the main body paragraphs:

  • A one-sentence statement that supports your claim.
  • 2-4 sentences that explain your statement. It should be quotes from the book and a few explanatory sentences.

Writing Conclusion: How to End an Essay on a Book

A concluding paragraph should summarize all your points and show how they support your thesis together. To start a conclusion, you can restate your thesis statement. Then, write 2-3 sentences that tie all your points together. And end the conclusion paragraph with a sentence that explains what, in your opinion, makes the book valuable and important.

Book Essay Writing Tips

We hope our guide makes it clearer for you how to write book essays. And at the end, we want to give you some extra advice:

  • Read the book. Obvious yet often overlooked tip. To write a good essay about a book, it is not enough to just read a summary of this book. The summary will not give you insight into the book, just an understanding of the plot. So, read a book you need to write an essay on, it will help a lot in writing a decent book essay.
  • Read about the book. To get a better idea of what is the literary merit of a book, it is helpful to read about the book as well. Some background information will help you to understand why the book was written, why the author wants to convey certain ideas, and what experts think of the book.
  • Don’t forget to check what formatting style you need to use for citing references. As we said earlier, there is nothing bad in using other people’s thoughts to form your arguments and back up your statements. But, you need to cite correctly the references you use. So, ask your professor about the preferable formatting style.


How do you start an essay about a book?

An introduction to a book essay should contain information about the book to give context and your thesis statement. A thesis statement is a claim you make about the book and which you will prove in your essay. Also, it is recommended to start the introduction paragraph with a hook sentence that will grab the readers’ attention.

How do you write an essay about a book you like?

To write an essay about a book, you need first to create a thesis statement. Find the theme of the book, understand what ideas the author conveys through the story, and then make your claim about it. Also, writing a book essay, make sure your arguments are based on the book. So, provide quotes to support your point.

Can I write a college essay about my favorite book?

When professors ask students to write an essay about a book, they usually provide specific instructions, including what book to write about. If you want to write an essay on your favorite book, but are unsure if it is allowed, it is better to ask your professor.

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