In the broadest terms, a book report describes and summarizes a work of fiction or nonfiction.
It sometimes—but not always—includes a personal evaluation of the text.
A good book report will address a specific question or point of view and back up this topic with specific examples, in the form of symbols and themes.
These steps will help you identify and incorporate those important elements.
But for both, a good place to start is to explain the author's purpose and/or the main themes of the book. Provide brief descriptions of the setting, the point of view (who tells the story), the protagonist , and other major characters.
If there is a distinct mood or tone, discuss that as well. Along with the sequence of major events, you may want to discuss the book's climax and resolution, and/or literary devices such as foreshadowing.
High school-level papers should include publication information as well as brief statements about the book's angle, the genre, the theme, and a hint about the writer's feelings in the introduction.
, by Stephen Crane, is a book about a young man growing up during the Civil War. As Henry watches and experiences the tragic events of the war, he grows up and changes his attitudes about life.
Well-written books can open your eyes to new experiences, people, places, and life situations that you may have never thought about before.
In turn, a book report is a tool that allows you, the reader, to demonstrate that you have understood all the nuances of the text you just read.