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How to write a comparative book review essay

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How to Write a Comparative Book Review Essay

Book reviews are mainly assigned students to help them show a clear understanding of the novel. It is merely a summary of a book. This review analyzes the argument, evidence, and, most importantly, the book’s methodology.

A comparative book review aims to analyze and examine the arguments, evidence, and methodologies presented in two or more books. Hence the word compares. It gives attention to the similarities and differences between the books under review. The two books must have related information.

The comparison must reflect the essential components of each book- including evidence, method, thesis, context, and sometimes historical contributions, not forgetting the differences and similarities. Always critically evaluate all the components.

To write a good comparative essay, you must take your raw data and make them cohere into a meaningful argument.

Comparative Book Review Required Elements 

  1. A reference frame

These refer to the context within which you place the two books you intend to compare. The reference may consist of a theme, idea, problem, question, or a theory. In other words, it may be a group of similarities from which you extract historical and biographical information. If you want to have a perfect reference frame, it is always advisable to construct it from specific sources rather than your observations or thoughts.

Luckily, most assignments will give you a frame of reference or tell you what it should be. However, if it’s not provided, you must create one.

  1. Comparison grounds

Assuming you are writing a review on a book talking about different types of essays, and you have chosen to compare persuasive and narrative essays. Aim at answering these questions: why this particular type, why narrative essays and not compelling, the grounds of comparison, and let the reader understand why your choice is meaningful.

  1. Thesis

Thesis refers to the point you try to prove throughout the essay. In any argumentative paper, your thesis statement should convey the gist of your argument. It must follow your frame of reference. However, in a comparative book review, the thesis depends on how the two books you have chosen relate.

Do they complicate, extend, contradict, or debate one another?

Your comparative essay can indicate the relationship between book A and Book B by using the word whereas in your thesis.

  1. Organizational scheme

When writing your introduction, include your frame of reference, thesis, and grounds of comparison. Listed below are two ways to organize the body of your review:

In the point-by-point pattern

They are also referred t0as as the alternating method. Here you will find related points common to your central subjects A and B; choose to alternate the issues based on them (AB, AB, AB). In simpler terms, try not to mix up your opinions, they should rotate.

Take a look at this illustration. When writing a comparative review on the American and European revolutions, your essay should appear as illustrated below:

  1. Paragraph 1 in body new technology and the American Revolution
  2. Section 2 in body new technology and the European revolution

This method tends to provide a more and tightly analytical and integrated review. Consider the alternating method if you can identify the related points between books A and B.

In subject- by subject pattern.

It is also referred to as the block method. In this case, you will discuss all the points gathered in book A, then all of B.

Use block method when

ØYou are unable to find closely related points.

ØYour ideas about B extend your thoughts about A.

ØYou are comparing three or more books.

  1. Linking of A and B

All comparative essays will require you to link each point in the argument back to the thesis statement. It is crucial to help your reader see how new sections systematically advance your argument.

In a comparative book review, you need to create links between A and B in your writing body. These will help hold the paper together.

The words used to make these include: likewise, on the other hand, on the contrary, similarly, conversely, and moreover.


Writing a comparative book review may sound complicated, but writing it down should not be a problem if you can outline the similarities and differences. Remember to do thorough research before writing on any topic.

Happy writing!

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