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25 of the Best Words to Describe a Book for Your Book Review

25 of the Best Words to Describe a Book for Your Book Review

Even the best book readers suffer from writer’s block, when finding the words to describe a book you just read can be an uphill task.

A book review needs to express your opinion coherently and authoritatively, and this can only be achieved using the best possible words to describe a book.

We have some examples below for different categories.


Best words to describe a book: a praising review for a book you liked


This is a great word to use because it promises readers that they will have positive feelings after reading the book. It is also a good way to describe a book that checked all the boxes for you in terms of the story and the quality of writing.
E.g. Children of a Lesser God is not just a thrill: it is also a highly satisfying book.


woman sitting in front of laptop
Photo by Polina Zimmerman under pexels license


When you can’t find a good word to praise a book, “brilliant” is a good one to employ in your book review. It is great to use because it immediately suggests intelligent writing for non-fiction books and unique storytelling for fiction books.
E.g. In one word only, I can summarize Beautiful Bodies by Jane Smith as brilliant.


It highlights the best aspect of the book immediately: the thrill is in its pages. This is the best word to describe a fast-paced story that is full of twists, and readers will love it.
E.g. This is hands down one of the most thrilling books I have ever laid eyes on. #TheShining #StephenKing


rafting on balsa river in costa rica

Photo by Cheryl Page on reshot


Any book that makes you want to read it nonstop can be described as “exciting.” This word is best to use if a book is not necessarily a fast-paced thriller, but it’s still exciting in its own way.
E.g. To say I couldn’t wait to get to the next chapter is an understatement because this book is just too exciting.


This word is great to use because everyone gets the picture or image of nail-biting immediately. If your book is good, full of surprises, and filled with twists you didn’t expect, then “nail-biter” is a good way to describe it.
E.g. Right from page 1, Our House in the Valley is an unusual nail-biter that you won’t want to put down.


fall vibes nail pink

Photo by Cameron Aper on reshot


This is a great word to use if a book is humorous. It also suggests that you found a good story with interesting characters, which is a good draw for readers.
E.g. This book is very funny. I was laughing hard on the bus and attracting some stares while I was at it.


camel showing its teeth

Photo by Dan Cook on unsplash


This is a word that you can use for a wide audience. It works in the same way as the words “thrilling” or “nail-biter” and suggests a fast-paced book. The word “pulsating” could refer to a book with unique story twists and multiple events.
E.g. Forget about the last thriller you read. This one is a pulsating work of fiction that will leave you asking for more.


If your book ends in a way that you didn’t expect, or if it opens your mind on subjects you didn’t know about, then the best description for a book like this would be “mind-blowing.”
E.g. This is one of the most mind-blowing books I have ever read.



This is a good word to use because it immediately suggests that you’ve read a fascinating story, and it suggests that there is no chance for boredom while reading the book.
E.g. James Peters has written a page-turner of monumental proportions with Kiss Your Wife Goodbye.


reading a book while having a coffee
Photo by Lars Poeck on reshot


This is the ultimate word to describe a book if it’s perfect in your opinion. The word “masterclass” suggests perfection or nearly there.
E.g. With its expert plotting, commendable characters, and a cliffhanger that not even JK Rowling could have imagined, Harry’s Children is a masterclass book written for a 20th century audience.


you are your only limit book

Photo by Rashtravardhan Kataria on unsplash


Best words to describe a book: an impartial or analytical review of a book


This is a good word to use because it suggests that the book takes an unusual approach or tackles a difficult topic in a sensible way. It’s a perfect word to use because it doesn’t betray partiality.
E.g. The best thing about Dark Matter is that it is provocative and written in a bold way.


person holding 101 essay that will change the way you think

Photo by Thought Catalog unsplash


This suggests clever writing, expert knowledge, and a unique analysis or perspective. Using it in a description of a book is a good way of suggesting that the book is a good quality read. It works particularly well with non-fiction books.
E.g. For executives and managers everywhere, there is no single book that is more insightful right now than Arthur Mangold’s Better Profits.


This is a great word because it is simple to use in a sentence and easy to understand. It immediately describes the quality of the content in the book. It can also be used to describe a book about philosophical topics.
E.g. The last book I read was very deep. It was an interesting piece on human fragility and the mature type. It was written by Raj Moniker. I haven’t ever read anything like it.


woman diving underwater

Photo by Jakob Boman on unsplash


An intriguing book keeps you hooked and wondering over its unique plot and characters. This is a good word to use in professional settings because it projects impartial praise as well.
E.g. If I had to vote, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins would win as the most intriguing book on my Goodreads list.


This is a great word to use if the book is topical, current, and strong in terms of the truth. It works well for a book that approaches a topic from an unpopular or unfamiliar angle.
E.g. What We Need To Do is not just a good book, but it’s also a necessary book for today’s politics.



If you read a book and come away feeling better informed about an individual, company or story, then it deserves to be described as “revealing.” This word works best for books that feature previously untold secrets and stories.
E.g. Kamala Harris’s memoir is one of the most revealing books on the Times bestseller list. It’s so raw and naked.


woman in green top whispering to a man in a gray tank top
Photo by Ba Tik under pexels license


17Expertly written
This phrase is good to use because it immediately suggests that the book was written by experts, and is therefore worth reading. If you want readers to take a book seriously, then “expertly written” is the way to describe it.
E.g. The Woman in the Window  is an expertly written and deeply researched novella on agoraphobia by AJ Finn.


“Camp” is one of those words that is easy to understand when it’s used to describe a book. It is also rather specific. If you’re looking for specific words to describe a book that remind readers of camp, then this is one word to use.
E.g. This is such a campy book, and I love it.


This is a good word to use because it describes unusual books very well. If the book you’re describing is not mainstream, then the easiest word to use is “edgy.” It also works well in professional settings, such as when you’re writing professional book reviews.
E.g. Among the Lilies by Carol Kane stands out for its edgy positioning and unusual heroine.


white concrete tower shape building near building during daytime

Image from Pixabay under pexels license


This word works well with books that shed more light on a particular topic or reveal the deeper side of a current situation. It’s a simple word to remember, and it’s easy to understand when used in a description or a review.
E.g. I haven’t read a more eye-opening book this season than JD Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. 


A smart book is sharp, funny, witty, a good length, well-written, and well-researched. This is a good word to use if you are describing a book that you thought was very good, but you can’t find a more complex word to do it justice.
E.g. I have always thought that The Iliad by Homer was a very smart book.



If a book is not a light read, whether in terms of the plot or subject matter, “complex” is a good word to describe something of good quality. It is good to use in professional settings because the word suggests impartiality too.
E.g. This is a complex book, which means it’s one that doesn’t run away from controversial jabs or unpopular opinions.


aerial photography of maze bush
Photo by Tom Fisk under pexels license


Best words to describe a book: a review of a book you didn’t like


This is a good word to describe a book that makes you feel underwhelmed when you complete it. It suggests that it may be a well-written book, but it is not colorful or satisfying enough to warrant a good review.
E.g. This is a highly visual and masterfully plotted book, but alas, it is also empty at its core. There isn’t much satisfaction that can be found in its pages.


birdcage hanging on tree branch

Photo by SWEN on reshot


If a book glosses over important topics or proves too rushed to make for a good read, then one good word to use for a description of it is “shallow.” It’s the kind of word that immediately suggests it’s not a good book.
E.g. I found Marie Antoinette’s Cake to be a bit shallow.


If you weren’t impressed by the ending or some of the topics mentioned in the book, or you were just underwhelmed by its entire execution, then “disappointing” is the word you will want to use to review it. No one will misunderstand your review.
E.g. There is only one way to describe Giants of the Midwest by John Grisham – disappointing.



Book reviewers need to employ the best words to describe a book. They do this to project authority, but they also do this so that they can drastically improve (or disprove) the book’s reception.
If you have just finished a book and you can’t find the right words for your review, then we hope the classic words to describe a book and associated phrases listed above will help to inspire your next book review .

Alec F. Murillo

Monday 20th of May 2024

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Saturday 30th of March 2024

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