Finish your draft in our 3-month master class. Sign up now to watch a free lesson!

Learn How to Write a Novel

Finish your draft in our 3-month master class. Enroll now for daily lessons, weekly critique, and live events. Your first lesson is free!

Reedsy Community

Guides • Perfecting your Craft

Last updated on Nov 09, 2023

Book Hook: 48 Examples of Irresistible Elevator Pitches

Formulas and advice aside, one of the best ways to learn how to craft a book hook is to immerse yourself in great ones. In this post, we've gathered examples of pitches for books (and book adaptations) from various platforms, including Amazon, Publishers Marketplace, and Netflix.

As you read each hook, take note of your gut reaction. Do you instinctively think: “Tell me more.” The greater your curiosity, the stronger the hook.

Let’s dive in and catch on to some book hooks. 

1. The Road To Tender Hearts by Annie Hartnett

“An elderly man plans to drive across the country to declare his love for his high-school sweetheart when he unexpectedly becomes the guardian of two recently orphaned children and an orange tabby cat who may or may not be able to predict death.” (Publishers Marketplace) 

2. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey

“In the Fall of 1963, a Korean War veteran and criminal pleads insanity and is admitted to a mental institution, where he rallies up the scared patients against the tyrannical nurse.” (IMDb)

3. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

“After spending years in California, Amir returns to his homeland in Afghanistan to help his old friend Hassan, whose son is in trouble.” (IMDb)

Are you ready for a literary agent?

Find out here! Takes one minute.

Literary fiction

4. playground by richard powers.

“[Playground follows] four lives—a marine biologist, an artist, a school teacher, and an AI pioneer—that intersect on an island in French Polynesia when it is chosen as a base for seasteading, humanity's next great adventure.”  (Publishers Marketplace) 

5. Fresh, Green Life by Sebastian Castillo

“A study of interiority unfolding over the course of a single, snowy night when the author's namesake protagonist breaks a year of silent self-improvement to attend a reunion.” (Publishers Marketplace) 

6. The Twitcher by Josh Selfe 

“Colin is the nation's 7th greatest competitive birder (by his own estimation) and has dedicated his life to his pursuit. When a virus hits the UK, and birdwatching is outlawed, Colin descends into paranoia and madness: what is a twitcher who cannot twitch?” (Reedsy Live)

Book hook example for American Psycho

Is self-publishing or traditional publishing right for you?

Takes one minute!

Historical Fiction

7. the other boleyn girl by philippa gregory .

“Two sisters, Anne and Mary, are driven to advance their family's power by courting the affections of the King of England and a ruthless rivalry develops between them.” (Prime Video)

8. Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

“In the waning days of the American Civil War, a wounded soldier embarks on a perilous journey back home to Cold Mountain, North Carolina to reunite with his sweetheart.” (IMDb)

9. Bridgerton: The Duke and I by Julia Quinn

“By all accounts, Simon Basset is on the verge of proposing to his best friend's sister—the lovely and almost-on-the-shelf—Daphne Bridgerton. But the two of them know the truth—it's all an elaborate ruse to keep Simon free from marriage-minded society mothers. And as for Daphne, surely she will attract some worthy suitors now that it seems a duke has declared her desirable.” (Amazon)

10 . The Holiday Honeymoon Switch by Marissa Stapley

“Two best friends trade one's cabin Christmas vacation for the other's Hawaiian honeymoon after she's left at the altar, and both find love they weren't expecting.” (Publishers Marketplace) 

11 . To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

“When her secret love letters somehow get mailed to each of her five crushes, Lara Jean finds her quiet high school existence turned upside down.” (Netflix)

12. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

“Two teenage cancer patients begin a life-affirming journey to visit a reclusive author in Amsterdam.” (IMDb)



Book Description Template

Learn to write a book description that will make readers click “buy.”

13. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab

“France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever―and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.” (Amazon)

14. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

“Four kids travel through a wardrobe to the land of Narnia and learn of their destiny to free it with the guidance of a mystical lion.” (IMDb)

15. Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

“When an unconfident young woman is cursed with an old body by a spiteful witch, her only chance of breaking the spell lies with a self-indulgent yet insecure young wizard and his companions in his legged, walking castle.” (IMDb)

16. The Third Rule of Time Travel by Philip D. Fracassi

“A scientist discovers a way for human consciousness to travel through time and relive moments of their life, but after one fateful experiment she returns to find her reality altered to a horrifying extent.” (Publishers Marketplace) 

17. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

“When the creator of a virtual reality universe called the OASIS dies, he leaves his immense fortune to the first person to find a digital Easter egg he has hidden somewhere in the OASIS, sparking a contest that grips the entire world.” (Prime Video)

18. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

“In a utopia whose perfection hinges upon control of monogamy and privacy, members of the collective begin to question the rules, putting their regimented society on a collision course with forbidden love and revolution.” (IMDb)

Three cover concept examples for the book Brave New World

19. Over The Edge by Kathleen Bryant

“A failed reporter-turned-jeep tour guide finds a dead body in a backcountry canyon and must overcome PTSD-related memory loss to find the killer before he finds her.” (Publishers Marketplace) 

20. Death In The Downline by Maria Abrams

“A struggling millennial gets sucked into a multi-level marketing scheme by her BFF. When a distributor dies under mysterious circumstances, she must uncover the dark secret at the heart of the organization and save her best friend before it's too late.” (Publishers Marketplace) 

21. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

“A murder inside the Louvre, and clues in Da Vinci paintings, lead to the discovery of a religious mystery protected by a secret society for two thousand years, which could shake the foundations of Christianity.” (IMDb)

22. The Shining by Stephen King

“A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where a sinister presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from both past and future.” (IMDb)

23. The Bad Seed by William March

"Rhoda Penmark seems like your average, sweet eight-year-old girl. After her rival at school dies in mysterious circumstances at the school picnic, her mother starts to suspect that Rhoda was responsible." (IMDb)

24. The Colour Out of Space by H. P. Lovecraft

“After a meteorite lands in the front yard of their farm, Nathan Gardner and his family find themselves battling a mutant extraterrestrial organism that infects their minds and bodies, transforming their quiet rural life into a technicolor nightmare.” (Google)

Book hook example for The Green Mile

25. Exit Black by Joe Pitkin

“Eight ultra-wealthy guests are taken hostage during the grand opening of the first hotel in space. The resident biophysicist on the space station must save them when the guests are pitted against each other and expelled into space one-by-one when they don't comply with the terrorists' demands.” (Publishers Marketplace) 

26. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

“With his wife's disappearance having become the focus of an intense media circus, a man sees the spotlight turned on him when it's suspected that he may not be innocent.” (IMDb)

27. The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum

“A man with amnesia faces life on the run from shadowy enemies as he fights to piece together his identity — and his mysterious connection to the CIA.” (Netflix)

Book hook example for Silence of The Lambs

Young Adult

28. the maze runner by james dashner.

“Thomas is deposited in a community of boys after his memory is erased, soon learning they're all trapped in a maze that will require him to join forces with fellow "runners" for a shot at escape.” (IMDb)

29. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

“Katniss volunteers to replace her sister in a tournament that ends only when one participant remains [alive]. Pitted against contestants who have trained for this all their life, she has little to rely on.” (Google)

30. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

“When Bella Swan moves to a small town in the Pacific Northwest, she falls in love with Edward Cullen, a mysterious classmate who reveals himself to be a 108-year-old vampire.” (IMDb)

31. Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

“Yearning for escape and adventure, a young boy runs away from home and sails to an island filled with creatures that take him in as their king.” (IMDb)

Still from the movie Where The Wild Things Are with the protagonist running wild in his jump suit

32. Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes

“A mouse named Wemberly, who worries about everything, finds that she has a whole list of things to worry about when she faces the first day of school.” (Google)

33. The Cat in The Hat by Dr. Seuss

“When Sally and her brother are left alone on a rainy day, they think they are in for a dull time 一 but then the Cat in the Hat steps onto the mat, bringing with him madness and mayhem.” (Amazon)

34. Life of Pi by Yann Martel

“After a cataclysmic shipwreck, young Pi Patel finds himself stranded on a lifeboat with only one other survivor 一 a ferocious Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. Bound by the need to survive, the two are cast on an epic journey.” (Prime Video)

A sill image from the movie Life of Pi with Pi and the tiger on the boat

35. Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

“On a quest to find out what happened to his missing brother, a scientist, his nephew and their mountain guide discover a fantastic and dangerous lost world in the center of the earth.” (IMDb)

36. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

“Seconds before Earth is destroyed to make way for a new hyperspace express route, mild-mannered Arthur Dent is whisked into space by his best friend, an alien posing as an out-of-work actor.” (Prime Video)

37. Wild by Cheryl Strayed

“A troubled young woman seeks to find herself and overcome her past by hiking the grueling Pacific Crest Trail.” (Prime Video)

38. The Pursuit of Happyness by Chris Gardner 

“A newly single father determined to lift himself and his son out of poverty works his way up from the bottom at a stock brokerage firm.” (Netflix)

39. Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl

“With five loyal friends in tow, explorer Thor Heyerdahl sails a fragile balsa wood raft along an ancient path some 4300 miles across the Pacific to prove his theory on Polynesian ancestry.” (Netflix)


40. a long way home by saroo brierley.

“A five-year-old Indian boy is adopted by an Australian couple after getting lost hundreds of kilometers from home. 25 years later, he sets out to find his lost family.” (IMDb)

41. American Sniper by Chris Kyle, Jim DeFelice, and Scott McEwen

“Navy S.E.A.L. sniper Chris Kyle's pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield and turns him into a legend. Back home with his family after four tours of duty, however, Chris finds that it is the war he can't leave behind.” (IMDb)

42. A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar

“At the age of thirty-one, John Nash, a mathematical genius, suffered a devastating breakdown and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Yet after decades of leading a ghost-like existence, he was to re-emerge to win a Nobel Prize and world acclaim.” (Amazon)

Still from the movie a Beautiful Mind with John Nash in front of a dashboard

43. Say Hello To Strangers by Gillian Sandstrom

“Why connecting with the people you know least makes us more creative, less lonely, and less cynical.” (Publishers Marketplace) 

44. Beat The Bots! by Jane Cleland

“A writer's guide to leaning into their humanity and creativity to survive and thrive in the age of AI.” (Publishers Marketplace) 

45. Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

“One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one—homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us?” (Amazon)


Book Proposal Template

Craft a professional pitch for your nonfiction book with our handy template.

46. The Shack by William P. Young

“After the disappearance of his youngest child, Mack Phillips is severely depressed. His life takes an unlikely turn when he receives a mysterious letter asking him to visit a cabin.” (Google)

47. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

“Sold into prostitution as a child, Angel knows nothing but betrayal. Can her heart ever be mended?” (IMDb)

48. The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel

“A seasoned journalist chases down the biggest story in history一is there credible evidence that Jesus of Nazareth really is the son of god?” (Amazon)



Polish your book with expert help

Sign up to browse 2000+ experienced editors, designers, and marketers.

These examples should be enough to get you inspired. To truly master the craft, take out a pen and paper and try to deconstruct each hook in terms of character, conflict, stakes, as well as other elements like character arc and story details. 

Refining your pitch might be a tricky process, but it’ll help you gain a clearer understanding of what your novel is really about so you can feel more confident both when writing it and presenting your work to others. 

Join a community of over 1 million authors

Reedsy is more than just a blog. Become a member today to discover how we can help you publish a beautiful book.

Upgrade | Book Blurb Template | 2023-03

Get readers hooked

Use our template to write a blurb that convinces readers to pick up your book.

Reedsy Marketplace UI

1 million authors trust the professionals on Reedsy. Come meet them.

Enter your email or get started with a social account:

How to Write a Book Review: A Comprehensive Tutorial With Examples

blog image

You don’t need to be a literary expert to craft captivating book reviews. With one in every three readers selecting books based on insightful reviews, your opinions can guide fellow bibliophiles toward their next literary adventure.

Learning how to write a book review will not only help you excel at your assigned tasks, but you’ll also contribute valuable insights to the book-loving community and turn your passion into a professional pursuit.

In this comprehensive guide,  PaperPerk  will walk you through a few simple steps to master the art of writing book reviews so you can confidently embark on this rewarding journey.

What is a Book Review?

A book review is a critical evaluation of a book, offering insights into its content, quality, and impact. It helps readers make informed decisions about whether to read the book.

Writing a book review as an assignment benefits students in multiple ways. Firstly, it teaches them how to write a book review by developing their analytical skills as they evaluate the content, themes, and writing style .

Secondly, it enhances their ability to express opinions and provide constructive criticism. Additionally, book review assignments expose students to various publications and genres, broadening their knowledge.

Furthermore, these tasks foster essential skills for academic success, like critical thinking and the ability to synthesize information. By now, we’re sure you want to learn how to write a book review, so let’s look at the book review template first.

Table of Contents

Book Review Template

How to write a book review- a step by step guide.

Check out these 5 straightforward steps for composing the best book review.

Step 1: Planning Your Book Review – The Art of Getting Started

You’ve decided to take the plunge and share your thoughts on a book that has captivated (or perhaps disappointed) you. Before you start book reviewing, let’s take a step back and plan your approach. Since knowing how to write a book review that’s both informative and engaging is an art in itself.

Choosing Your Literature

First things first, pick the book you want to review. This might seem like a no-brainer, but selecting a book that genuinely interests you will make the review process more enjoyable and your insights more authentic.

Crafting the Master Plan

Next, create an  outline  that covers all the essential points you want to discuss in your review. This will serve as the roadmap for your writing journey.

The Devil is in the Details

As you read, note any information that stands out, whether it overwhelms, underwhelms, or simply intrigues you. Pay attention to:

  • The characters and their development
  • The plot and its intricacies
  • Any themes, symbols, or motifs you find noteworthy

Remember to reserve a body paragraph for each point you want to discuss.

The Key Questions to Ponder

When planning your book review, consider the following questions:

  • What’s the plot (if any)? Understanding the driving force behind the book will help you craft a more effective review.
  • Is the plot interesting? Did the book hold your attention and keep you turning the pages?
  • Are the writing techniques effective? Does the author’s style captivate you, making you want to read (or reread) the text?
  • Are the characters or the information believable? Do the characters/plot/information feel real, and can you relate to them?
  • Would you recommend the book to anyone? Consider if the book is worthy of being recommended, whether to impress someone or to support a point in a literature class.
  • What could improve? Always keep an eye out for areas that could be improved. Providing constructive criticism can enhance the quality of literature.

Step 2 – Crafting the Perfect Introduction to Write a Book Review

In this second step of “how to write a book review,” we’re focusing on the art of creating a powerful opening that will hook your audience and set the stage for your analysis.

Identify Your Book and Author

Begin by mentioning the book you’ve chosen, including its  title  and the author’s name. This informs your readers and establishes the subject of your review.

Ponder the Title

Next, discuss the mental images or emotions the book’s title evokes in your mind . This helps your readers understand your initial feelings and expectations before diving into the book.

Judge the Book by Its Cover (Just a Little)

Take a moment to talk about the book’s cover. Did it intrigue you? Did it hint at what to expect from the story or the author’s writing style? Sharing your thoughts on the cover can offer a unique perspective on how the book presents itself to potential readers.

Present Your Thesis

Now it’s time to introduce your thesis. This statement should be a concise and insightful summary of your opinion of the book. For example:

“Normal People” by Sally Rooney is a captivating portrayal of the complexities of human relationships, exploring themes of love, class, and self-discovery with exceptional depth and authenticity.

Ensure that your thesis is relevant to the points or quotes you plan to discuss throughout your review.

Incorporating these elements into your introduction will create a strong foundation for your book review. Your readers will be eager to learn more about your thoughts and insights on the book, setting the stage for a compelling and thought-provoking analysis.

How to Write a Book Review: Step 3 – Building Brilliant Body Paragraphs

You’ve planned your review and written an attention-grabbing introduction. Now it’s time for the main event: crafting the body paragraphs of your book review. In this step of “how to write a book review,” we’ll explore the art of constructing engaging and insightful body paragraphs that will keep your readers hooked.

Summarize Without Spoilers

Begin by summarizing a specific section of the book, not revealing any major plot twists or spoilers. Your goal is to give your readers a taste of the story without ruining surprises.

Support Your Viewpoint with Quotes

Next, choose three quotes from the book that support your viewpoint or opinion. These quotes should be relevant to the section you’re summarizing and help illustrate your thoughts on the book.

Analyze the Quotes

Write a summary of each quote in your own words, explaining how it made you feel or what it led you to think about the book or the author’s writing. This analysis should provide insight into your perspective and demonstrate your understanding of the text.

Structure Your Body Paragraphs

Dedicate one body paragraph to each quote, ensuring your writing is well-connected, coherent, and easy to understand.

For example:

  • In  Jane Eyre , Charlotte Brontë writes, “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me.” This powerful statement highlights Jane’s fierce independence and refusal to be trapped by societal expectations.
  • In  Normal People , Sally Rooney explores the complexities of love and friendship when she writes, “It was culture as class performance, literature fetishized for its ability to take educated people on false emotional journeys.” This quote reveals the author’s astute observations on the role of culture and class in shaping personal relationships.
  • In  Wuthering Heights , Emily Brontë captures the tumultuous nature of love with the quote, “He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” This poignant line emphasizes the deep, unbreakable bond between the story’s central characters.

By following these guidelines, you’ll create body paragraphs that are both captivating and insightful, enhancing your book review and providing your readers with a deeper understanding of the literary work. 

How to Write a Book Review: Step 4 – Crafting a Captivating Conclusion

You’ve navigated through planning, introductions, and body paragraphs with finesse. Now it’s time to wrap up your book review with a  conclusion that leaves a lasting impression . In this final step of “how to write a book review,” we’ll explore the art of writing a memorable and persuasive conclusion.

Summarize Your Analysis

Begin by summarizing the key points you’ve presented in the body paragraphs. This helps to remind your readers of the insights and arguments you’ve shared throughout your review.

Offer Your Final Conclusion

Next, provide a conclusion that reflects your overall feelings about the book. This is your chance to leave a lasting impression and persuade your readers to consider your perspective.

Address the Book’s Appeal

Now, answer the question: Is this book worth reading? Be clear about who would enjoy the book and who might not. Discuss the taste preferences and circumstances that make the book more appealing to some readers than others.

For example:  The Alchemist is a book that can enchant a young teen, but those who are already well-versed in classic literature might find it less engaging.

Be Subtle and Balanced

Avoid simply stating whether you “liked” or “disliked” the book. Instead, use nuanced language to convey your message. Highlight the pros and cons of reading the type of literature you’ve reviewed, offering a balanced perspective.

Bringing It All Together

By following these guidelines, you’ll craft a conclusion that leaves your readers with a clear understanding of your thoughts and opinions on the book. Your review will be a valuable resource for those considering whether to pick up the book, and your witty and insightful analysis will make your review a pleasure to read. So conquer the world of book reviews, one captivating conclusion at a time!

How to Write a Book Review: Step 5 – Rating the Book (Optional)

You’ve masterfully crafted your book review, from the introduction to the conclusion. But wait, there’s one more step you might consider before calling it a day: rating the book. In this optional step of “how to write a book review,” we’ll explore the benefits and methods of assigning a rating to the book you’ve reviewed.

Why Rate the Book?

Sometimes, when writing a professional book review, it may not be appropriate to state whether you liked or disliked the book. In such cases, assigning a rating can be an effective way to get your message across without explicitly sharing your personal opinion.

How to Rate the Book

There are various rating systems you can use to evaluate the book, such as:

  • A star rating (e.g., 1 to 5 stars)
  • A numerical score (e.g., 1 to 10)
  • A letter grade (e.g., A+ to F)

Choose a rating system that best suits your style and the format of your review. Be consistent in your rating criteria, considering writing quality, character development, plot, and overall enjoyment.

Tips for Rating the Book

Here are some tips for rating the book effectively:

  • Be honest: Your rating should reflect your true feelings about the book. Don’t inflate or deflate your rating based on external factors, such as the book’s popularity or the author’s reputation.
  • Be fair:Consider the book’s merits and shortcomings when rating. Even if you didn’t enjoy the book, recognize its strengths and acknowledge them in your rating.
  • Be clear: Explain the rationale behind your rating so your readers understand the factors that influenced your evaluation.

Wrapping Up

By including a rating in your book review, you provide your readers with an additional insight into your thoughts on the book. While this step is optional, it can be a valuable tool for conveying your message subtly yet effectively. So, rate those books confidently, adding a touch of wit and wisdom to your book reviews.

Additional Tips on How to Write a Book Review: A Guide

In this segment, we’ll explore additional tips on how to write a book review. Get ready to captivate your readers and make your review a memorable one!

Hook ’em with an Intriguing Introduction

Keep your introduction precise and to the point. Readers have the attention span of a goldfish these days, so don’t let them swim away in boredom. Start with a bang and keep them hooked!

Embrace the World of Fiction

When learning how to write a book review, remember that reviewing fiction is often more engaging and effective. If your professor hasn’t assigned you a specific book, dive into the realm of fiction and select a novel that piques your interest.

Opinionated with Gusto

Don’t shy away from adding your own opinion to your review. A good book review always features the writer’s viewpoint and constructive criticism. After all, your readers want to know what  you  think!

Express Your Love (or Lack Thereof)

If you adored the book, let your readers know! Use phrases like “I’ll definitely return to this book again” to convey your enthusiasm. Conversely, be honest but respectful even if the book wasn’t your cup of tea.

Templates and Examples and Expert Help: Your Trusty Sidekicks

Feeling lost? You can always get help from formats, book review examples or online  college paper writing service  platforms. These trusty sidekicks will help you navigate the world of book reviews with ease. 

Be a Champion for New Writers and Literature

Remember to uplift new writers and pieces of literature. If you want to suggest improvements, do so kindly and constructively. There’s no need to be mean about anyone’s books – we’re all in this literary adventure together!

Criticize with Clarity, Not Cruelty

When adding criticism to your review, be clear but not mean. Remember, there’s a fine line between constructive criticism and cruelty. Tread lightly and keep your reader’s feelings in mind.

Avoid the Comparison Trap

Resist the urge to compare one writer’s book with another. Every book holds its worth, and comparing them will only confuse your reader. Stick to discussing the book at hand, and let it shine in its own light.

Top 7 Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Writing a book review can be a delightful and rewarding experience, especially when you balance analysis, wit, and personal insights. However, some common mistakes can kill the brilliance of your review. 

In this section of “how to write a book review,” we’ll explore the top 7 blunders writers commit and how to steer clear of them, with a dash of  modernist literature  examples and tips for students writing book reviews as assignments.

Succumbing to the Lure of Plot Summaries

Mistake: Diving headfirst into a plot summary instead of dissecting the book’s themes, characters, and writing style.

Example: “The Bell Jar chronicles the life of a young woman who experiences a mental breakdown.”

How to Avoid: Delve into the book’s deeper aspects, such as its portrayal of mental health, societal expectations, and the author’s distinctive narrative voice. Offer thoughtful insights and reflections, making your review a treasure trove of analysis.

Unleashing the Spoiler Kraken

Mistake: Spilling major plot twists or the ending without providing a spoiler warning, effectively ruining the reading experience for potential readers.

Example: “In Metamorphosis, the protagonist’s transformation into a monstrous insect leads to…”

How to Avoid: Tread carefully when discussing significant plot developments, and consider using spoiler warnings. Focus on the impact of these plot points on the overall narrative, character growth, or thematic resonance.

Riding the Personal Bias Express

Mistake: Allowing personal bias to hijack the review without providing sufficient evidence or reasoning to support opinions.

Example: “I detest books about existential crises, so The Sun Also Rises was a snoozefest.”

How to Avoid: While personal opinions are valid, it’s crucial to back them up with specific examples from the book. Discuss aspects like writing style, character development, or pacing to support your evaluation and provide a more balanced perspective.

Wielding the Vague Language Saber

Mistake: Resorting to generic, vague language that fails to capture the nuances of the book and can come across as clichéd.

Example: “This book was mind-blowing. It’s a must-read for everyone.”

How to Avoid: Use precise and descriptive language to express your thoughts. Employ specific examples and quotations to highlight memorable scenes, the author’s unique writing style, or the impact of the book’s themes on readers.

Ignoring the Contextualization Compass

Mistake: Neglecting to provide context about the author, genre, or cultural relevance of the book, leaving readers without a proper frame of reference.

Example: “This book is dull and unoriginal.”

How to Avoid: Offer readers a broader understanding by discussing the author’s background, the genre conventions the book adheres to or subverts, and any societal or historical contexts that inform the narrative. This helps readers appreciate the book’s uniqueness and relevance.

Overindulging in Personal Preferences

Mistake: Letting personal preferences overshadow an objective assessment of the book’s merits.

Example: “I don’t like stream-of-consciousness writing, so this book is automatically bad.”

How to Avoid: Acknowledge personal preferences but strive to evaluate the book objectively. Focus on the book’s strengths and weaknesses, considering how well it achieves its goals within its genre or intended audience.

Forgetting the Target Audience Telescope

Mistake: Failing to mention the book’s target audience or who might enjoy it, leading to confusion for potential readers.

Example: “This book is great for everyone.”

How to Avoid: Contemplate the book’s intended audience, genre, and themes. Mention who might particularly enjoy the book based on these factors, whether it’s fans of a specific genre, readers interested in character-driven stories, or those seeking thought-provoking narratives.

By dodging these common pitfalls, writers can craft insightful, balanced, and engaging book reviews that help readers make informed decisions about their reading choices.

These tips are particularly beneficial for students writing book reviews as assignments, as they ensure a well-rounded and thoughtful analysis.!

Many students requested us to cover how to write a book review. This thorough guide is sure to help you. At Paperperk, professionals are dedicated to helping students find their balance. We understand the importance of good grades, so we offer the finest writing service , ensuring students stay ahead of the curve. So seek expert help because only Paperperk is your perfect solution!

Order Original Papers & Essays

Your First Custom Paper Sample is on Us!

timely deliveries

Timely Deliveries

premium quality

No Plagiarism & AI

unlimited revisions

100% Refund

Try Our Free Paper Writing Service

Related blogs.


Connections with Writers and support

safe service

Privacy and Confidentiality Guarantee


Average Quality Score

Blurb Blog

Home » Writing » How to Write a Good Book Review

how to write a good hook for a book review

Tips for Writing a Good Book Review 

Now that you’ve prepped what you want to say, how you want to say it, and who you want to say it to, it’s time to start writing. Below we’ve gathered our favorite tips to help you write a good book review. Wait… make that a GREAT book review.

1. Include general information

Make sure to include all the relevant book information for your audience , including the title, author, genre, and publisher in your review. While not necessary, it is also helpful to include the number of pages, list price, and ISBN number.

2. Provide a brief plot summary

After the hook, you can then move on to the brief plot summary. This summary shouldn’t be too long, but it can be a paragraph that explains the basic plot so that the reader better understands if it’s a topic of interest. One pitfall to avoid is to give away spoilers in the plot summary. Don’t give away any plot twists, and err on the side of caution if you feel that the information is too much. For example, tell the reader that the plot has unexpected twists rather than explain any surprises in the summary.

3. Focus on the book, not the author

Keep in mind that your main job as a reviewer is to share your opinion on the book, not to critique the author. Keep the focus on the story. Avoid referencing pitfalls in any of the author’s past books or what you about them as a writer. You can provide a brief introduction to the story mentioning the author and past books, but don’t spend too much time focused on the author. The review should focus on the content of the book and its characters.

4. Be clear and specific

It is not enough to just say that you did or didn’t like the book. Let your readers know why. Make your thoughts clear as early as possible and explain the reasons why you liked or disliked specific storyline components and characters. Be specific about what you loved about the writing, what drew you to the characters, or what left you feeling lukewarm about the plot. You don’t need to explain every aspect of the book, but the reader should walk away with a sense that they understand the basic plot and determine from the review if they want to read the book for themselves.

Write a 5 star book review

5. Remain subjective

Not all book reviews have to be glowing, but they should be subjective. Rather than just saying you didn’t like something, support it by letting your readers know why. We all gravitate towards different things, so what may not appeal to you may appeal to someone else. If you remain subjective, then you can explain to the reader the basic story and let them decide for themselves. The review can include your likes and dislikes, but they should focus on what you felt the story did well and what parts of the story you didn’t like. However, the main focus of the review should be to explain the story so that readers can determine if they want to read the book further.

6. Avoid spoilers

We know it can be tempting, but do your best not to let any spoilers slip in your book review. Have you ever been excited to see the latest blockbuster hit (or watch the season cliffhanger to your favorite TV show) and then someone spoils the end before you even have time to watch? That is exactly what you don’t want to do to your reader. As you explain the book in your summary, ask yourself if what you are explaining ruins any surprises or twists. As you write the review, keep it vague. For example, explain that there is a major plot twist but don’t go into the specifics.

7. Be transparent

Always share if you received an incentive to review the book, got an advance copy, or have any connection to the author. Your readers will appreciate your honesty. Plus, it helps you avoid the negative impact on your credibility if they find out later. Getting paid for a review is a perfectly reasonable excuse to read a book, but it does allow readers to determine if you’re being unbiased. By specifying if you have any relationship with the author, the reader can better trust your opinion, even if they feel you’re being more biased.

8. Keep it short

While book reviews can be any length, it is always best to keep it short and succinct. Pull in your reader with a strong first sentence that sets the tone of the review and end with your recommendation. Remember, most people start to scan when something gets too long. A book review is a short summary, so writing a novel-length review loses reader interests. Keeping it short will ensure that your readers will dive into your likes and dislikes and use your reviews to determine if they have an interest in the books.

9. Proofread before posting

The quickest way to lose credibility is to post a review filled with typos. Make sure to give your final book review a thorough read before posting it and double check the spelling of any character names or places that you mention. Even better, ask someone else to read it over. It is always good to have a fresh pair of eyes proof to catch any typos. If you don’t have a family or friend who will help with proofreader, you can join a writing community where members offer test reads and proofreading. Make sure that you don’t post the review publicly, because search engines will index it and the review will no longer be unique content.

Also, keep in mind that you will want to write different book reviews for different sites. Don’t just copy and paste the same review. Google search engines scan for duplicate content and if flagged, your review won’t appear.

10. Add a hook

The hook is one or two sentences that grab the reader and convince them to keep going. It should be interesting, but it should also stick with the topic without misleading readers. The hook could be a simple statement that explains the main character of the book, or it could ask a question that resonates with the reader. Don’t make the hook too sensational to avoid sounding like a sales pitch. It should simply provide an introduction that grabs reader interests.

11. Explain what you liked about the book

Writing your own book review is a way to explain what you liked about it, and what you liked could be of interest to another reader. This section allows you to personalize the review. You can explain what you liked about the characters, who was your favorite character, what part of the book was your favorite, and if the book invoked any personal feelings (e.g., you laughed or cried).

12. Explain what you disliked about the book

You likely have something that you disliked about the book, and this section explains what you wish would have been different about the storyline or the characters. Just like the other sections, make sure that you do not reveal too much and give away important plot lines that could be considered spoilers for the rest of the story.

13. Include brief quotes as examples

Brief quotes provide readers with better insight into characters. Using quotes from characters will help the reader follow the plot summary and determine if the characters are people they can relate to. Avoid using excessively long quotes. Since the reader hasn’t read the book, a long quote could ruin plot twists or overpower the review.

14. Reference similar books

A great way to introduce readers to a specific book is to compare your book review with other books. For example, you can explain to the reader that they will like the current book you’re reviewing if they like another similar book. Alternatively, you can also compare characters between books to provide better insight into the story’s characters and the dynamic between individual characters.

Ready to make your own book? Get started quickly and easily with our free bookmaking software, Bookwright .

This post doesn't have any comment. Be the first one!

This is a unique website which will require a more modern browser to work! Please upgrade today!

This is a modern website which will require Javascript to work.

Please turn it on!

Tips for Writing a Book Review


As many avid readers know, book reviews can be magical. Not only are they book recommendations, they’re also bridges to our fellow bookworms all around the world. Reviews offer a chance to share your thoughts with other readers and to keep track of your own musings on the books on your shelf, but many find that writing a review isn’t as easy as it seems. To help our NetGalley members craft the best reviews possible, we’ve put together a list of 12 tips for how to write a book review. Whether you’re reviewing books on NetGalley or your personal blog and social media accounts , these steps are sure to help take your reviews to the next level.

Describe the plot First things first: Your readers will want to know what the book is about. But describing the plot needs to be a fine balance in a book review. You want to share just enough to hook the reader without giving too much away and without veering into book report territory. Give a bit more background on the plot outlined on the book’s jacket, and focus on any elements that you feel particularly strongly about or you think that your readers will want to be aware of. If you’re reviewing an audiobook, you’ll need to also talk about the narrator, pacing, and more. You’ll find our tips for writing audiobook reviews here .

Avoid spoilers Spoilers—enemy number one of readers everywhere. Most readers take spoilers very seriously, but they continue to pop up in book reviews. Often, spoilers can be tempting to share because they are frequently the elements that gave the reviewer an intense reaction (a sudden twist, a shocking death, a surprise unveiling). But make sure you don’t rob any of your readers of that genuine emotional reaction or discovery. Unless your reviewing platform offers a way to hide spoilers, avoid them completely or at least add a “spoiler alert” warning to your review.

Consider content warnings Content warnings can help readers be aware of elements of a book that might trigger traumatic memories, cause anxiety, or are generally upsetting. Providing them in a review is a helpful way of giving readers a heads up about what they’re in for so they can make a healthy and informed choice about whether or not they want to engage with that book.

Find the hook There are two hooks to think about when writing a book review. First, how to make a reader stop scrolling and read your entire review. Second, in cases of positive reviews, how to convince them to pick up the book. Don’t wait until the middle of your review to try to catch the reader’s attention. Try to hook them from the very first sentence. Think about what made you pick the book up, and use that to inspire your own way of writing about it.

Make your opinion clear This tip might seem obvious, but sometimes a reviewer may get caught up in describing the plot and forget to offer their own insight. We recommend making your thoughts clear as early as possible and throughout the review. As you describe the plot, share your opinion on the things that worked or didn’t when it comes to the writing, characters, and events of the book. Tell readers why they should (or shouldn’t) pick this book up.

Find your voice Readers choose to follow certain reviewers because of similar reading taste, but also because they enjoy their review style. Celebrate your uniqueness in your book reviews. Provide the insight only you can offer. This is an opportunity to share your passion with other readers, so make it personal. Don’t be discouraged if this doesn’t happen immediately. Rewrite, hone your voice, and keep reviewing. Your signature style will develop as you go.

Rating system Ratings help to give readers an immediate sense of how you felt about a book. If you review on a personal blog, decide on the rating system that works for you and make sure you clearly explain how it works to your readers. Professional reviewing platforms like NetGalley provide readers with a pre-set rating system . NetGalley’s system pairs stars with a likelihood of recommending the book to fellow readers. Think about how the way you personally rate books fits into their system. For example, if you give half stars on your blog (or in your mind!) but the platform doesn’t have half-stars as an option, decide if those should be rounded up or down.

Consider the reviews you’ve read Browse through NetGalley to read reviews and find examples that you think are effective. Ask yourself what it is that you like about the review, and find ways to showcase those same elements in an original way in your own. Maybe you’re swayed by great pull quotes, thorough plot summaries, or a review with a strong voice. Do you love reviews that are conversational, like you’re talking with a friend? Do you want a bit of humor in your book recs? Or do you prefer a serious tone, to convey how much thought you’ve put into your feelings about the book? These are all techniques you can use to make your own reviews even more successful.

Explain both praise and critiques When it comes to book reviews, it’s important to explain both your praise and critiques of a book so that other readers get the whole picture. For example, don’t just say that the book has great characters—explain what makes them great. Don’t tell readers that the book was boring—explain which elements failed to capture your attention. This will help readers to understand your point of view and decide for themselves whether or not this is a book that they might enjoy. Thoughtful praise and critique often can also be a great starting point for a continued conversation about a book. Click here to read our tips for writing a critical book review !

Think about the audience Let readers know if this is a book you’d recommend, and to whom. Not every book is suited to every reader, so you’ll want to be specific about who is likely to enjoy it. For example, you’d recommend  A Game of Thrones  to fans of historical fantasy, not urban fantasy. But it may also be a great recommendation for those who love a good political thriller. Keep in mind that even if a book didn’t fit your personal reading tastes, there’s a chance it may appeal to other readers and your review could help them discover it.

Proofread before posting The fastest way to lose credibility with your audience is to have a typo-laden review. Give your entire review a final read before posting to catch any spelling or grammar errors, including checking facts you share, the spelling of author and characters names, pronouns used, and any quotes you use. The last thing you want is for a reader to stop following your reviews because you accidentally kept calling the main character Jay Catsby.

This is also a great time to add a disclosure statement! The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires readers to disclose if they received a review copy of a book. In reviews, members should include a simple line like, “Thank you (name of publishing company) for providing this book for review consideration via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.”

Have fun! Reviewing can be a labor of love, but it’s a job that should always bring you joy. If you ever find yourself feeling burned out, take a break and remind yourself of why you started reviewing in the first place: to share your love of books with readers all over the world.

Looking for fresh and creative review formats? We’ve got you covered!

Check out the  netgalley review guidelines  and  tips for writing and submitting feedback  to publishers. , netgalley tips.

A girl smiling at her computer

The Different Ways to Access Books on NetGalley

Above shot of someone with their hands on a laptop keyboard. A phone is to their left, to their right is an open note book, coffee, and glasses.

How to Review Books Across Different Platforms

A hand holding a smartphone. The phone's screen displays various social. media icons.

Tips for Making Your Social Media Accounts More Accessible

A person sitting outside and smiling at an open laptop

Everything You Want To Know About Requesting Books on NetGalley

Person sitting surrounded by books and looking bored

What to Do When You DNF a NetGalley Book

how to write a good hook for a book review

10 Things You Should Include in Your NetGalley Profile

A light yellow banner with orange text that reads "Play NetGalley Bingo!"

Join the #NetGalleyBingo Summer Reading Challenge!

how to write a good hook for a book review

Tips for Promoting Your NetGalley Reviews on Social Media

A white hand holding an e-reader in front of an open book

Answering NetGalley Members’ FAQs About ARCs

how to write a good hook for a book review

10 Things You Might Not Know About NetGalley

' src=

Kelly Gallucci

Kelly Gallucci is the Executive Editor of We Are Bookish, where she oversees the editorial content, offers book recommendations, and interviews authors and NetGalley members. When she's not working, Kelly can be found color coordinating her bookshelves, eating Chipotle, and watching way too many baking shows.

Great summary. I write quite a few book reviews and this has helped me think more about what I should emphasize and how to phrase my comments. I like the reminder to have fun, too! Thanks!

I have seen it written in many places that book reviews should be impersonal. Keep the focus on the book, not on the reviewer. Probably good advice if one is looking to make a living at it. But I often find that a personal touch adds a lot. Not all books will touch those individual nerves, or connect to one’s life experiences, but I have found that when books do, incorporating those elements gives my reviews considerable extra punch. Also, I have found them among the most fun to write.

Excellent points! Thanks!

This looks great!

Thanks for the great tips on writing book reviews. I often wonder what would make my review stand out or really express my feelings about a book. I totally agree about careful proofreading before being posted. I am also turned off if a reviewer has grammatical errors, misspellings, and exhibits poor writing habits. I also agree that a good review should give the reader a little glimpse into the personality of the reviewer! ❤️📚

Great tips and very helpful suggestions!

Loved this article 😊

Very useful article. Thank you!

Thank you so very much for the tips! Been doing reviews for over a year now and I’m getting better at it! One thing do hate is your not dc king a book report! I try and getting better,I don’t want to know a bunch when reading a reviewing but ,just enough I say to wet my whistle! I never thought about using the humor think I will try that when it’s warranted! Thanks again,will let you know if I think I am improving ,lol,can’t get any worse than I am now!!Maybe when I write one I will have you look at it for me. I will send you a copy!!

The tips are good and helpful. As I read other reviews I do get insights into way to present my views. But I refrain from being too much of a critic in respect to the author’s effort in writing so many pages. Thanks for the tips.

I’m trying to write my 1st ever review and to be honest I’m nervous. I really like the author and the book was amazing, so I’m worried about letting the author down. These tips are going to be invaluable, so thank you.

Thank you very much, this was very helpful in helping me get started! I’m so excited!

Thank you for these great and helpful hints for writing a book review. I am new to book reviewing online but have been giving book reviews in the 5 libraries I have worked in, over the past 20 years, as an Assistant Librarian. I have loved reading since 1st grade and have tried to pass that passion on to family, friends, and strangers! I write brief reviews on BookBub and GoodRead, while keeping a list of all the books I have read. Sincerely, Ramona

This was very helpful! Thanks

Write a book that is not only going to fill your pocket but is also going to satisfy your mind and heart. In essence, to write an amazing book, you must be an amazing, passionate author.

Lots of good tips on writing a review. I don’t agree on including a summary of the story in my reviews. A summary can be found on the jacket front fly or on various websites. I believe a review should include the rest of the items you mentioned and should be my personal viewpoint of the book. Then the reader can make their own decision on whether or not to read the book.

I agree with you, Kathy C., about foregoing the summary of the story in the book review. Not only is this information available on the book jacket or online description, but reading review after review that begins with a summary becomes tedious. I’m really more interested in what people think about the book rather than their summary of the plot. I definitely agree with all the other tips offered. Thanks for your helpful thoughts!

I understand that you want to your reviewers to put some thought into their reviews. I read a lot of books (200 plus a year, not including the ones I don’t finish). I review most of them and I get a lot of positive comments on my reviews. The reason why is I am honest, and I explain to the readers how this books relates to events in my life. The response is that readers respect my reviews because I have a worldly view and have experienced events that most people have not. For example, I wrote a review about Mohammed Ali biography and the author include a lot of current events that were going on during that time. This was when I was a teenager, and I remember those events and Ali’s life relevant to me because he was reacting to what was going on at that time. So yes you can write a long review, and describe the plot, but if you can’t explain how the book makes you feel then you have lost your audience.

I’m finding out what is proving difficult in writing reviews is that some books have almost the same theme/plot. For me, it’s like watching an exciting weekly TV series that engages me and I want to continue until the season ending. I really can’t complain about the authors because I tend to pick my favorites. Any ideas on how to write a good review?

Yolie McLaughlin

Thank you for this article! I have a brand new book blog and reading thru these tips gave me a few ideas to keep me on track while writing a review. I do like that the information is conveniently separated so I can just glance at the topics when I need to. I’ll be saving this for ease of reference. Thanks again!

Just wondering about book covers we love, do we mention that in the review? Some book covers are just beautiful, and some are fairly ordinary. If a cover really makes an impact should we also give credit in our review of the book?

Thanks for your insightful tips, Cheers Jools

Great question! While it isn’t necessary to talk about a book’s cover in your review, if it had a particularly positive impact on you it’s definitely worth mentioning. You can also use the Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down option on all book pages to show your love for favorite covers, or by selecting that it’s what drew you to the book when making a request!

Thank you for these tips. I will try to leave reviews in accordance with these suggestions that will be a credit to the company and to the authors that have shown confidence in my commitment to be a reliable and honest reviewer.

I appreciate your wonderful and practical book review writing advice. Although I’m new to book reviews on the internet, I have 20 years of experience as an assistant librarian and have reviewed books in 5 different libraries. Since the first grade, I have loved reading, and I have made an effort to share my enthusiasm with friends, family, and strangers. I maintain an inventory of all the books I’ve read and post succinct reviews on BookBub and GoodRead.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Please enter an answer in digits: 3 + 8 =

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter for book recs, interviews, and favorites from our editor.

  • PRO Courses Guides New Tech Help Pro Expert Videos About wikiHow Pro Upgrade Sign In
  • EDIT Edit this Article
  • EXPLORE Tech Help Pro About Us Random Article Quizzes Request a New Article Community Dashboard This Or That Game Popular Categories Arts and Entertainment Artwork Books Movies Computers and Electronics Computers Phone Skills Technology Hacks Health Men's Health Mental Health Women's Health Relationships Dating Love Relationship Issues Hobbies and Crafts Crafts Drawing Games Education & Communication Communication Skills Personal Development Studying Personal Care and Style Fashion Hair Care Personal Hygiene Youth Personal Care School Stuff Dating All Categories Arts and Entertainment Finance and Business Home and Garden Relationship Quizzes Cars & Other Vehicles Food and Entertaining Personal Care and Style Sports and Fitness Computers and Electronics Health Pets and Animals Travel Education & Communication Hobbies and Crafts Philosophy and Religion Work World Family Life Holidays and Traditions Relationships Youth
  • Browse Articles
  • Learn Something New
  • Quizzes Hot
  • This Or That Game
  • Train Your Brain
  • Explore More
  • Support wikiHow
  • About wikiHow
  • Log in / Sign up
  • Education and Communications
  • Writing Techniques

How to Write a Hook for a Book

Last Updated: February 22, 2024 Approved

This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, PhD . Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas. He received his PhD in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 83% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 82,844 times.

Writing a “hook” can mean 2 different things and will require 2 different methods. You may be trying to write a first line for your book that draws your reader into the story right away and encourages them to turn the page. Or you may be creating a hook summary for a book to promote your book to a publisher or to readers. You can create either “hook” using a few straightforward steps.

Writing a Hook First Line

Step 1 Create a strong, engaging description.

  • For your first line, you can use a strong, interesting description to describe an image of your main character in action. For example, the first line of Joseph Heller’s novel Catch-22 : “Yossarian was in the hospital with a pain in his liver that fell just short of being jaundice.” This is a strong opening because the main character is introduced to the reader right away, he is placed in a setting, and he has an issue he has to deal with.
  • You can also start with a description of the setting of your book. For example, the first line of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit : “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” [3] X Research source This is a simple, direct opening that capture the reader’s attention.

Step 2 Start at a pivotal plot point.

  • For example, the opening line of Kate Morton’s The Forgotten Garden : “It was dark where she was crouched but the little girl did as she’d been told.” [4] X Research source This is a good hook opening line because it places the reader in the action, creating a situation that suggests danger or fear for the “little girl.” This is also known as an “in medias res” opening.

Step 3 Introduce a compelling narrative voice.

  • For example, the opening line of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone : “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” [7] X Research source This is a third person narrative voice that has attitude and color to it, drawing readers into the story.
  • The first line of Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Lolita is another good example, as the novel begins: “Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins.” [8] X Research source Right away the reader is prepared for a unique narrator who is not afraid to embellish, entertain, and disturb.

Step 4 Start with an unusual set up.

  • For example, the opening lines of Nick Hornby’s novel Juliet, Naked : “They had flown from England to Minneapolis to look at a toilet.” [11] X Research source This first line pulls the reader in right away and sets up a strange, engaging situation.

Step 5 Write to your audience.

  • For example, if you are writing a book with a reader who is young adult, you may start the story with a young adult in mind. Consider what details or moments you might include if you were writing for a young adult.
  • This may also be a useful tactic if you are writing a hook for a book that is non-fiction, as you may consider what fact, anecdote, or moment in the history you are writing about would most spark your reader’s interest.

Creating a Hook Summary for a Book

Step 1 Recognize the purpose of the hook.

  • Your hook should grab your reader’s attention in 30 seconds and act like the elevator pitch for your book. Having a strong hook in your book proposal or in the marketing material for your book can make it seem more attractive to an editor or a literary agent.
  • Your hook should also explain how your book is different from the other books that are currently available. If you are writing in a specific genre, the hook should also tell your reader how and why your book is different from the other books published in that genre.

Step 2 Use the active voice.

  • Most hooks for a book are written in the present tense, rather than the past tense, to make the hook feel more active to the reader. You should try to always use the present tense to describe the action in the book.

Step 3 Address the main plot.

  • You should use engaging nouns in your hook to describe the main plot. Avoid too many adjectives or adverbs. You want the hook to be descriptive, but not long-winded or too full of descriptors. When in doubt, simple is better for the hook.
  • Make sure you do not reveal the ending of the book in the hook, only the main plot. The ending of the book should be included in your synopsis of the book, not in the hook.

Step 4 Focus on character and action, rather than theme.

  • You can try the following formula to create your hook, using character and action: “When [opening conflict] happens to [characters], they must [overcome conflict] to [complete their quest].”
  • For example, the hook for J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone could be: “When a Dark Lord murders a boy wizard’s parents, he must train for the battle for his life to save his friends and the wizarding world.” This hook is simple and straightforward, so it will be more likely to entice readers.

Step 5 Read the hook out loud and revise it.

  • You can then revise the hook so it is more concise and to the point. Your hook should be no longer than 1 to 2 sentences and should leave the reader wanting to read your book in full.

Community Q&A

Community Answer

You Might Also Like

Write a Descriptive Paragraph

  • ↑
  • ↑
  • ↑
  • ↑
  • ↑
  • ↑
  • ↑
  • ↑

About This Article

Christopher Taylor, PhD

  • Send fan mail to authors

Reader Success Stories

Meya Marston

Meya Marston

Jul 11, 2016

Did this article help you?

Meya Marston

Nouf Al Abbasi

Oct 22, 2016

Jo Mamah

Sep 20, 2020

Noctia Ma'le

Noctia Ma'le

Jan 1, 2017


Jan 13, 2017

Am I a Narcissist or an Empath Quiz

Featured Articles

Write a Diary

Trending Articles

Confront a Cheater

Watch Articles

Make Sugar Cookies

  • Terms of Use
  • Privacy Policy
  • Do Not Sell or Share My Info
  • Not Selling Info

wikiHow Tech Help Pro:

Level up your tech skills and stay ahead of the curve

AI-driven Writing

How to write a good hook: a step-by-step guide.

Author's Image

Updated: April 16, 2024

Post Cover

Imagine casting a fishing line into the vast ocean, what makes the fish bite? It's the lure, intriguing and irresistible. Just like fishing, writing begins with a hook that grabs your reader's attention, but crafting that perfect opener can often feel daunting.

Start Writing Your Free Essay!

A good hook is the first statement in your writing designed to captivate your audience, making them eager to dive deeper into your work. In this step-by-step guide, we'll explore the art of writing compelling hooks for various types of essays, provide examples to spark your creativity, and offer strategies to ensure your opening line makes a memorable first impression.

Understanding Hooks: The Gateway to Engaging Writing

At the heart of every captivating piece of writing lies a powerful tool known as the "hook." A hook is essentially the opening line or paragraph that grabs the reader's attention right from the start. Imagine opening a book and being immediately drawn into its world, or starting an article and feeling an irresistible urge to read on. That's the magic of a well-crafted hook. It's not just any opening sentence; it's your first, and perhaps most crucial, opportunity to engage your audience. Whether it's an intriguing question, a surprising fact, or a vivid scene, the hook sets the tone for everything that follows.

Why is the hook so important? In today's fast-paced world, where distractions abound, capturing your reader's attention within the first few seconds is more critical than ever. Studies show that our attention spans have significantly decreased, making the battle for engagement a tough one. A compelling hook acts as a gateway, inviting the reader into the narrative and making them want to stay. It's not just about starting strong; it's about laying the foundation for a connection that keeps the reader invested in your story or argument. By understanding the role and power of hooks, writers can transform their openings from mere introductions to captivating invitations into their written worlds.

The Different Flavors of Hooks: Choosing the Right One

Just as a chef selects the perfect ingredients to create a dish that will delight the senses, a writer must choose the right type of hook to engage their reader's interest from the very beginning. There are various "flavors" of hooks at your disposal, each serving a unique purpose and appealing to different tastes. Rhetorical questions provoke thought and curiosity, anecdotes offer a personal touch that can make your writing more relatable, and startling facts grab attention with their unexpectedness. Understanding the nuances of each type allows you to tailor your opening to the specific dish you're serving – that is, the theme, tone, and audience of your essay.

Selecting the appropriate hook is akin to choosing the right key for a song; it sets the stage for everything that follows. For instance, a rhetorical question might be perfect for an essay that challenges common beliefs, while an anecdote could be the ideal opener for a personal narrative that aims to connect deeply with the reader. Startling facts work well in essays that aim to inform or persuade based on empirical evidence. It's important to consider not just the essay's content, but also its intended effect on the reader. By matching the "flavor" of the hook to the essay's goals, writers can create a harmonious and compelling introduction that resonates with their audience.

Hook Examples That Capture Attention

Let's dive into some examples of hooks that have the power to captivate readers right from the start. Imagine opening an essay on environmental conservation with a startling fact: "Every minute, an area of rainforest the size of 20 football fields is lost." This fact immediately sets a serious and urgent tone, compelling the reader to learn more. On a lighter note, an anecdote could open a personal essay on the joys and trials of learning to cook: "The first time I tried to make a soufflé, it ended up looking more like a pancake." This humorous glimpse into the writer's life piques curiosity and builds a relatable connection.

For essays that seek to challenge or provoke, a rhetorical question can be incredibly effective: "What if everything you were taught about healthy eating was wrong?" This question not only draws readers in but also primes them for a discussion that may alter their preconceived notions. Meanwhile, a quote can lend authority and thematic depth to an essay on leadership: "As John C. Maxwell once said, 'A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.'" By carefully selecting a hook that aligns with the essay's theme and desired impact, writers can ensure that their first impression is both memorable and engaging.

When to Weave Your Hook: Timing in the Writing Process

Crafting the perfect hook is a crucial step in the writing process, but when exactly should you focus on this task? Many writers might be tempted to start with the hook right away, believing it sets the tone for everything that follows. However, an effective strategy is to write your hook after you have a clear understanding of your essay's content and direction . This approach allows you to craft a hook that not only grabs attention but also aligns seamlessly with the overall message and purpose of your essay. By waiting until you have laid out your arguments or narrative, you ensure that your hook is not just intriguing but also deeply connected to the essence of your writing.

There are several benefits to crafting your hook later in the writing process:

  • Alignment with your essay's tone and purpose : Ensuring that your hook accurately reflects the tone and main ideas of your essay is easier when you have a complete draft in front of you.
  • Flexibility to experiment : Writing your hook later gives you the freedom to experiment with different types of hooks (such as rhetorical questions, startling facts, or anecdotes) to see which one best suits your essay.
  • Enhanced creativity and relevance : With a fully fleshed-out essay, you can draw upon its content to create a hook that is not only creative but also highly relevant to your reader's interests and the essay's key themes. This strategic placement of the hook within the writing process ensures that your opening line is not just a catchy phrase but a compelling gateway into your essay's world .

Tailoring Your Hook to the Essay Prompt

Tailoring your hook to the essay prompt is like choosing the right outfit for an occasion—it needs to fit perfectly to make the right impact. The essay prompt provides clues about the tone, style, and direction your essay should take, making it essential to align your hook accordingly. For example, if the prompt asks for a reflective piece on a personal experience, an anecdote that resonates with the theme will draw readers in more effectively than a startling statistic. Similarly, for a prompt that demands a critical analysis of a societal issue, starting with a provocative question or a startling fact can set the stage for a compelling argument. It's all about matching the hook to the prompt's requirements to ensure your essay starts on the right foot.

Here are a few strategies to ensure your hook is perfectly tailored to your essay prompt:

  • Reflect on the prompt's key themes : Identify the core themes or questions posed by the prompt and brainstorm hooks that directly engage with these ideas.
  • Consider the desired emotional impact : Determine what emotions the prompt aims to evoke—be it curiosity, empathy, or shock—and choose a hook that aligns with this emotional tone.
  • Keep the audience in mind : Think about who will be reading your essay and what kind of hook would be most appealing or relevant to them. A hook that intrigues a general audience might differ from one that captures the attention of a more specialized group. By meticulously aligning your hook with the essay prompt, you ensure that your introduction not only captures attention but also sets a coherent and relevant tone for the rest of your essay.

Crafting Hooks for Argumentative Essays

Crafting hooks for argumentative essays demands a strategic approach due to their persuasive nature. Unlike narrative or expository essays, argumentative essays aim to sway the reader's opinion from the outset. Therefore, the hook in an argumentative essay should not only grab attention but also position the reader to be more receptive to the argument that follows. This can be achieved through:

  • Posing a provocative question that challenges preconceived notions
  • Presenting a startling fact or statistic related to the essay's argument
  • Quoting a powerful statement from a reputable source that aligns with your stance

The effectiveness of your hook in an argumentative essay hinges on its ability to engage the reader's emotions and intellect simultaneously. For instance, a hook that highlights a controversial issue or a common misconception can spark curiosity and encourage readers to explore your perspective further. Remember, the goal is to make readers question their current beliefs and consider your argument with an open mind. By carefully crafting your hook to align with the persuasive goal of your essay, you set the stage for a compelling and thought-provoking argument.

Personal Statements: Hooks That Tell Your Story

Crafting a good hook for your personal statement is about more than just grabbing attention; it's about making an authentic and emotional connection with the reader from the very first line. Your personal statement is a unique opportunity to share your story, your aspirations, and what makes you, you. To achieve this, start with something deeply personal or an experience that shaped you. This could be a pivotal moment, a challenge you overcame, or a passion that drives you. The key is to be genuine; authenticity resonates more than any grandiose statement could. Here are a few approaches to consider:

  • A vivid anecdote that illustrates a defining moment
  • A question that reflects your inner thoughts or dilemmas
  • A powerful statement that encapsulates your values or ambitions

Remember, the goal of your hook is not just to pique interest, but to set the tone for your entire personal statement. It should seamlessly lead into the rest of your story, highlighting why you are a compelling candidate for admission. This means that after capturing the reader's attention, your hook should also hint at the themes or experiences you will explore in greater detail. For instance, if your hook is about a moment of failure, your statement might delve into the lessons learned and how they propelled you forward. Or, if you start with a question about your identity, the rest of your essay can explore how various experiences have shaped your understanding of yourself. By carefully crafting a hook that is both engaging and reflective of your overall narrative, you'll ensure that your personal statement stands out for all the right reasons.

Engaging Hooks for Personal Narratives

Writing engaging hooks for personal narratives is all about drawing the reader into your world from the very first sentence. Personal narratives offer a unique opportunity to share your experiences, thoughts, and feelings, making it crucial to start with a hook that captures the essence of your story. A great hook could be a vivid description of a moment, a line of dialogue that sets the scene, or an intriguing question that hints at the narrative's emotional core. These hooks work because they create a sense of immediacy, placing the reader right in the middle of the action or thought process.

Consider the following strategies for crafting compelling hooks in personal narratives:

  • Use sensory details to paint a vivid picture of the scene or moment. This could involve describing a sound, taste, or smell that is significant to your story.
  • Start with a moment of action or conflict to immediately grab the reader's attention. This could be a critical turning point in your story that raises questions or sets the tone.
  • Pose a thought-provoking question related to your narrative's theme, inviting the reader to ponder as they dive into your story. By employing these strategies, you ensure that your personal narrative begins with a hook that not only engages but also promises an emotionally rich and immersive storytelling experience .

Literary Analysis Essays: Starting with a Strong Hook

Starting with a strong hook in a literary analysis essay can be a game-changer, drawing your reader into a deep exploration of themes and characters. Using a quote from the literature you're analyzing is a classic yet effective approach. It not only shows your familiarity with the work but also sets a thematic tone right from the beginning. Alternatively, crafting a thematic statement that encapsulates the essence of the literature can intrigue readers, making them eager to see how you'll unravel these themes further.

Another powerful technique is posing a provocative question that relates directly to the literary work's themes or characters. This approach:

  • Engages readers by prompting them to think critically about the literature.
  • Serves as a bridge to the deeper analysis you will provide.
  • Indicates that your essay will offer fresh insights or perspectives. By carefully selecting a hook that resonates with the essence of the literary piece, you ensure that your essay not only captures attention but also promises a thoughtful and compelling exploration of the text.

Research Papers: Setting the Stage with Your Hook

Writing a great hook for a research paper is like laying down the first piece of a puzzle; it sets the stage for everything that follows. Unlike essays that might start with a bold claim or a provocative question, research papers require a hook that establishes both relevance and curiosity. This could be a surprising statistic that highlights the significance of your research topic, an intriguing question that your paper seeks to answer, or a brief anecdote that illustrates the real-world implications of your study. The goal is to make the reader think, "This is something I need to know more about."

Why focus on relevance and curiosity? For research papers, these two elements are crucial because:

  • Relevance assures the reader that the paper addresses an important issue or question.
  • Curiosity piques the reader's interest and motivates them to delve deeper into your research findings.

By carefully crafting a hook that balances these aspects, you ensure that your introduction not only grabs attention but also seamlessly leads into the broader context and objectives of your research. Remember, a compelling hook is your first opportunity to show the reader why your research matters and to set the tone for a persuasive and insightful paper.

Elevate Your Hooks with Start Writing Today

Crafting the perfect hook can be challenging, but's AI-powered writing assistance makes it easier by offering tailored research and access to authentic sources . This ensures your hooks are not only captivating but also grounded in accurate information. With, you can:

  • Effortlessly find intriguing facts or quotes to start your essay
  • Access a wide range of authentic sources for inspiration
  • Ensure your hook aligns with the overall theme and tone of your writing

Moreover,'s advanced plagiarism checks guarantee that your writing remains original, setting your work apart from the rest. This feature is crucial for maintaining academic integrity and fostering true creativity in your writing. Start writing with today and take the first step towards crafting hooks that not only grab attention but also leave a lasting impression. With, elevating your writing is just a click away.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a good hook sentence.

A good hook sentence is the first statement in your writing designed to captivate your audience, making them eager to dive deeper into your work. It's an opening line or paragraph that grabs the reader's attention right from the start, setting the tone for everything that follows. Whether it's an intriguing question, a surprising fact, or a vivid scene, a good hook ensures that your first impression is memorable and engaging.

How do you write a catchy hook?

Writing a catchy hook involves selecting the right type of hook to engage your reader's interest from the beginning. This could be a rhetorical question to provoke thought, an anecdote for a personal touch, or a startling fact for immediate attention. The key is understanding the nuances of each type and tailoring your opening to the theme, tone, and audience of your essay. Additionally, crafting your hook after you have a clear understanding of your essay's content and direction can help ensure it's not only intriguing but also deeply connected to the essence of your writing.

How do you write a strong opening hook?

Writing a strong opening hook involves a strategic approach that aligns with the overall message and purpose of your essay. Start by choosing the right type of hook that matches the essay's goals, such as a provocative question for argumentative essays or a vivid anecdote for personal narratives. Ensure that the hook reflects the essay's tone and main ideas, and consider crafting it after you've outlined your arguments or narrative for better alignment. Experimenting with different types of hooks and drawing upon the essay's content can also enhance creativity and relevance, making your opening line a compelling gateway into your work.

What are the 5 hooks in writing?

The blog post discusses various "flavors" of hooks rather than specifying a list of five. Among the types mentioned are rhetorical questions, which provoke thought and curiosity; anecdotes, offering a personal touch; startling facts, grabbing attention with unexpectedness; quotes, lending authority and thematic depth; and thematic statements or provocative questions for literary analysis essays. These hooks serve unique purposes, appealing to different tastes and aligning with the theme, tone, and audience of your essay.

Most Read Articles

Your Guide to Help Writing a Essay Successfully

Your Guide to Help Writing a Essay Successfully

Ever felt like writing an essay is a daunting task that looms over you like a dark cloud.

Jhone Doe

Essay Tips: Strategies for Writing Mastery

Everyone knows writing an essay can feel like trying to scale a mountain. the challenge often lies in not knowing where to start or how to ensure your essay stands out..

How to Write a Good Hook: A Step-by-Step Guide

Imagine casting a fishing line into the vast ocean, what makes the fish bite? It's the lure, intriguing and irresistible.

How to Write Critical Thinking Essay: Expert Tips

How to Write Critical Thinking Essay: Expert Tips

Diving into the world of critical thinking essays can be both exhilarating and daunting..

how to write a good hook for a book review

8 story hook examples (how to grab attention)

A ‘hook’ in a story promises intrigue, entertainment and answers to the questions it raises. Far from the trickery of a bait and switch, a hook gives a true sense of what your reader can expect of your story’s pleasures. Explore great story hook examples and what they teach us about starting strong:

  • Post author By Jordan
  • 20 Comments on 8 story hook examples (how to grab attention)

how to write a good hook for a book review

A literary ‘hook’ in a story promises intrigue, entertainment and answers to the questions it raises. Far from the trickery of a bait and switch, a hook gives a true sense of what your reader can expect of your story’s pleasures. Explore great story hook examples and what they teach us about starting strong

Story hook examples

A literary ‘hook’ in a story promises intrigue, entertainment and answers to the questions it raises. Far from the trickery of a bait and switch, a hook gives a true sense of what your reader can expect of your story’s pleasures. A brilliant hook also also grabs a reader’s attention from the get go, to encourage them to read on. A hook can also show a strong voice from the start. Explore great story hook examples and what they teach us about starting strong. Here are eight types of hooks.

These hooks in narrative writing a hook should: Raise curiosity, create questions and promise eventful action with them.

1. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

At dusk they pour from the sky. They blow across the ramparts, turn cartwheels over rooftops, flutter into the ravines between houses. Entire streets swirl with them, flashing white against the cobbles. Urgent message to the inhabitants of this town , they say. Depart immediately to open country . Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See (2014), p. 3.

2. Anil’s Ghost by Michael Ondaatje

When the team reached the site at five-thirty in the morning, one or two family members would be waiting for them. And they would be present all day while Anil and the others worked, never leaving; they spelled each other so someone always stayed, as if to ensure that the evidence would not be lost again . Michael Ondaatje, Anil’s Ghost (2000), p. 5.

3. Let The Great World Spin by Colum McCann

Those who saw him hushed. On Church Street. Liberty. Cortlandt. West Street. Fulton. Vesey. It was a silence that heard itself, awful and beautiful. Some thought at first that it must have been a trick of the light, something to do with the weather, an accident of shadowfall. Others figured it might be the perfect city joke – stand around and point upward, until people gathered, tilted their heads… Colum McCann, Let The Great World Spin (2009), p. 3.

4. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

It’s 1851. I’ll be twenty-four years old next birthday. I’ve been shut up in here since the age of sixteen. I am a model prisoner, and give no trouble. That’s what the Governor’s wife says, I have overheard her saying it. I’m skilled at overhearing. If I am good enough and quiet enough, perhaps after all they will let me go; but it’s not easy being quiet and good… Margaret Atwood, Alias Grace (1996), p. 5

5. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

Villon-sur-sarthe, France, July 29, 1714 A girl is running for her life. The summer air burns at her back, but there are no torches, no angry mobs, only the distant lanterns of the wedding party, the reddish glow of the sun as it breaks against the horizon, cracks and spills across the hills, and the girl runs, skirts tangling in the grass as she surges toward the woods, trying to beat the dying light. V.E. Schwab, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue (2020), p. 3.

6. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

Let me begin again. Dear ma, I am writing to reach you-even if each word I put down is one word further from where you are. I am writing to go back to the time, at the rest stop in Virginia, when you stared, horror-struck, at the taxidermy buck hung over the soda machine by the restrooms, its antlers shadowing your face. Ocean Vuong, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous (2019), p. 3

7. God Help the Child by Toni Morrison

It’s not my fault. So you can’t blame me. I didn’t do it and have no idea how it happened. It didn’t take more than an hour after they pulled her out from between my legs to realize something was wrong. Really wrong. Toni Morrison, God Help the Child (2015), p. 3

8. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

On the morning of October 30, 1969, the body of Chase Andrews lay in the swamp, which would have absorbed it silently, routinely. Hiding it for good. A swamp knows about death, and doesn’t necessarily define it as tragedy, certainly not a sin. Delia Owens, Where the Crawdads Sing (2018), p. 6

The examples of hooks from novels above illustrate what effective hooks do:

How to write good hooks for stories:

Great story hooks do one or more of the following. They:

  • Build urgency
  • Prompt pressing questions
  • Involve intriguing contexts
  • Introduce striking voices
  • Show a glimpse of a vivid world
  • Imply past or future conflicts
  • Build narrative tension
  • Share relevant backstory
  • Set the story’s tone

Let’s explore each of these ideas in brief with reference to the story hook examples given above.

Story hook examples - Ovid on the advantages of always having a hook cast

Ways to write hooks:

1. build urgency.

A girl running for her life; a dead body lying in a swamp; a crowd gathering to point into the sky.

Each of these actions or images create a kind of urgency that hooks a reader into the story.

The reader wants to know why a girl is running for her life. We need to find out who murdered Chase Andrews. We want to know what the crowds are staring up at in Let The Great World Spin (an urban tightrope walker).

To build urgency in your story’s hook, you could:

  • Describe an action with a time limit: For example, having ten minutes to get to a crucial interview
  • Share actions with high stakes: A girl running for her life; a tightrope walker between NY skyscrapers
  • Imply a situation requiring urgent investigation: A murder, a mystery – a vital piece of missing information for one or more characters

What needs to happen at the start of your story (or scene, or chapter) that is of utmost priority for your characters?

Watch this brief video on how to write hooks and keep reading for more ideas:

Story Hook Examples: How to grab attention

2. Prompt pressing questions

Good story openings include meandering beginnings that take time getting to the point (this is especially common in literary novels that do not necessarily require the brisk pace of a thriller).

Yet even if your story opening is gentler, more tone-and-mood-setting, a question hook, rather than full-tilt action, how can you prompt pressing questions, creating elements of a hook?

In the opening hook to Anil’s Ghost , for example, we wonder what evidence is being sought that could be ‘lost again’.

A good story makes us ask ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘why’, ‘where’ and ‘when’ at several junctures. The hook is a crucial place to set up these questions. Tweet This

For the above story hook examples, readers may have questions such as:

  • What are people gathering to point at? ( Let The Great World Spin )
  • What or who is the girl running from? (The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue )
  • Why does the narrator think something is gravely wrong with her newborn (God Help the Child )
  • When will the prisoner be released, if ever? ( Alias Grace )

What thought-provoking questions does your hook give your reader? You can also use a rhetorical question as a hook. Or, use a statistic hook, quoting facts and figures to grip a reader’s attention.

Make a Strong Start to your Book

Join Kickstart your Novel and get professional feedback on your first three chapters and story synopsis, plus workbooks and videos.

Now Novel writer

3. Involve intriguing contexts

The best story hooks don’t only grab our attention. They tell us (often in a highly compressed way) a lot about the world we’re about to enter. Why we’re in for a good story .

We begin to understand aspects of con text such as place , era, scenario and situation. That a wartime city is about to be evacuated, for example ( All the Light We Cannot See ). Or that there is a wedding party, somewhere in the periphery, that may be relevant to a character’s current situation ( The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue ).

What makes context intriguing? Elements such as:

  • Implied recent, imminent or eventual conflicts
  • Interesting, compelling relationships (e.g. the man writing to his mother at the start of On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous )
  • Interesting facts (for example, Delia Owens’ description of the swamp’s peculiarities as a biome opening Where the Crawdads Sing )

How can you involve your characters’ contexts at the start of a novel, chapter or scene so that your reader pricks up their ears?

4. Introduce striking voices

We tend to think of hooks strictly in terms of ‘Plot’ with a capital ‘P’. Yet a hook may be something as simple as teasing the reader with introduction to an interesting character (or multiple characters).

For example, in the opening to Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous (written as a Vietnamese-American man’s letters to his abusive mother), there is an immediate, intimate sense of a connection between two characters. A connection that has its own complex history filled with vignettes such as the rest stop scene the narrator describes.

We have an immediate sense of voice through the wording of the man’s letter.

A hook thus is not only made up of the pressing or intriguing questions it inspires. It can also be something as simply compelling as a lone, specific voice reaching out to us from the written page.

You could also consider using a quotation hook. This, as the name implies, means using a quote from a notable or famous person. This will serve introduce the topic of your story, or lead into it. A quote hook will can be effective in reeling your reader in from the word go.

What makes your viewpoint narrator’s voice compelling from the first line? What fragment of their experiences, beliefs, fears or desires may invite your reader into their narrative?

Ted Naifeh on the importance of a story hook

5. Show a glimpse of a vivid world

Many novels start with story hooks that describe and define place, a descriptive hook. Delia Owens’ swamp facts at the beginning of Where the Crawdads Sing , for example. Or Ondaatje’s description of a forensic archaeological site in Sri Lanka.

To hook readers in, you could show a glimpse of what is extraordinary about this place. The dead body in the swamp with its already remarkable properties. The strange hunting trophy on the rest stop wall that fills the narrator’s mother with horror in On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous . These are all examples of vivid descriptions of scenes that create a picture  in a reader’s mind.

What detail is typical of your story’s era, time or primary location? Or else, your hook could begin with something out-of-the-ordinary – the tightrope walker between towers of Let The Great World Spin , for example.

6. Imply past or future conflicts

Stories are about change, at root. Nothing is an agent of change like conflict (as the evacuation order leaflets at the start of All the Light We Cannot See show).

As an example, on the first page of God Help the Child by Toni Morrison, we wonder what is so wrong about the narrator’s newborn.

We quickly learn that her worry is driven by colorism, a by-product of racism. The narrator’s child has been born ‘midnight black, Sudanese black’ (p. 3), the mother’s surprise being because she has lighter skin tone herself.

From the first page, this story hook example suggests conflicts at the heart of racism; its comparative prejudices and violences. We wonder how others will treat this child due to a mother’s concern, thus her anxious focus creates narrative suspense.

What past or anticipated conflicts might feature strongly in the opening pages of your story? Find ways to build a hook around their suspense.

7. Build narrative tension

The best story hook examples teach us how to build narrative tension from the start. It may be something as simple as Addie LaRue running for her life from the wedding party. Or else the hush of a crowd craning their necks at a terrifying, aerial spectacle.

To build narrative tension in your hook, you could use just such an attention-grabbing hook:

  • Describe high-stakes events (e.g. a man walking a tightrope between skyscrapers)
  • Imply an immediate struggle or obstacle (for example, the implied hurdles of being ‘other’ in the opening to God Help the Child )
  • Suggest a situation whose outcome could go either way (for example, whether the protagonist will be released from prison or not in Alias Grace )

8. Share relevant backstory

Beginning with a large chunk of backstory that is irrelevant to the main events of your story is not a good way to begin. Your reader may quickly become bored, as writing coach Romy Sommer explains:

An issue I see with a lot of beginner writers is they tend to write the backstory as the story itself. So the first few chapters will be, ‘This thing happened, and then this thing happened…’ Understanding Character Arcs: How to write characters, preview on YouTube

Good story hook examples instead of giving all the backstory tell the reader backstory that is relevant to the current situation.

For example, the petty crime that lead a character to be currently incarcerated. Or the evacuation order that lead to your character’s current hurrying from their home city. This type of hook is useful for revealing just as much as you want to in a few simple sentences.

Relevant backstory tells us just enough to give the present scene context, history, and fuller narrative purpose .

9. Set the story’s tone

Many of the story hook examples listed above set the tone for the story. Addie LaRue’s bid for freedom, to not ‘just’ be anybody’s wife, for example. Or Little Dog’s difficult, complex relationship with his mother in On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous .

How can your story’s hook hint at your story’s primary subjects, themes and symbols?

Writing exercise: ‘Toning’ your hook

Find three adjectives for a hook sentence you’d like to write. For example:

  • Tense, unsettling, eerie
  • Lyrical, languid, mysterious
  • Gritty, fast, loud
  • Silly, quirky, unexpected

Write a sentence to a paragraph while thinking about your three adjectives. How many questions out of the 5 (‘who’, ‘what’, ‘why’, ‘where’ and ‘when’) can you make your reader ask?

Start finessing your story idea now so you have the foundation for a brilliant hook.

Related Posts:

  • Grabbing attention with scene beginnings: 5 tips
  • 10 dialogue tips to hook readers
  • How to start a novel: Hook readers from page one
  • Tags how to write a hook , story openings

how to write a good hook for a book review

Jordan is a writer, editor, community manager and product developer. He received his BA Honours in English Literature and his undergraduate in English Literature and Music from the University of Cape Town.

20 replies on “8 story hook examples (how to grab attention)”

Another excellent and practical article, Jordan. Thank you!

Thank you for the kind feedback, MJ! Have a lovely week.

Hi Jordan, so glad I stumbled on this article while researching Hook / Concept! Excellent information and I’ve printed it off (for an anti-clutter frugal printer, that is quite high praise lol). Now off to read your other articles. Thanks!!

Hi Regan, thank you so much for your kind feedback and taking the time to share it. I am only happy to contribute to print-clutter 🙂 It’s a pleasure, have a good week.

Thanks Jordon you help me a lot I am writing a non fiction article I needed to find out about a good hook how to try to hook reader in the first sentence I got it thanks to your explanations if you ever teach writing lessons on how write short stories for children I ready to enlist thanks for your help

Hi Scooter, it’s a pleasure. Penguin has a useful article by Alan Durant on how to write a children’s picture book here that you may find interesting. Happy holidays!

Thank you, Jordan. I found this very helpful! People so often talk about a ‘hook’ and it’s interesting to really break it down to see what makes it work.

Hi Rebecca, it’s a pleasure. I’m glad to hear that! Thank you for reading our blog and have fun working on your story’s hook 🙂

Very helpful. Thanks. Although, I noticed that you use ‘their’ to refer to the woman giving birth, but ‘him’ to the person writing to the mother, whose gender was not revealed in the sentence. sigh. why do we need to erase women? Other than that small observation, very useful info.

Thank you for your feedback and my apologies, definitely no erasure intended. I think the spur-of-the-moment rationale was probably to use the neutral ‘their’ due to the ungendered reference in the immediate sentence (‘the narrator’). Yet since the narrator in question is indeed a woman, I’ve changed it to ‘her’. I’m glad you found this article useful, thank you for reading and sharing.

If you had to pick one story hook, which would you pick, having something blow up or a tiny man shrinking?

Hi Alex, thank you for your question about story hooks. Explosions are fairly standard for action stories, but depending on the context it could be a safe in medias res starting point. But if a man is tiny already, why would he be shrinking? Thanks for reading our blog.

Great article. It helped me a lot with my writing. thanks

So glad to hear that, Sule. It’s a pleasure, thank you for your feedback and for reading our blog.

Excellent examples and a well written article.

Hi Debra, thank you for your kind feedback. I’m glad you enjoyed this article.

I hope this doesn’t annoy you, I’m compelled to rearrange wording until its more clear to me of what’s being said.

We tend to think of hooks strictly in terms of ‘Plot’ with a capital ‘P’. Yet a hook is just as often made from an inviting ‘who’—or compellingly repulsive anti-hero.

Hi Meka, not at all, thank you. I appreciate all help from our readers in making my articles better, especially when feedback is constructive like this. I’ve rewritten that sentence for clarity (I’m always updating articles here thanks to readers’ helpful suggestions). Thanks for sharing.

I’ve struggled for ages to understand hooks and inciting incidents! I’m autistic, and despite having a great logical brain, sometimes it takes the right kind of teaching by breaking down a concept into steps, then “steplets” lmao. I’ve been writing for years, but never actually LEARNED how, if you know what I mean. Now I want to write a proper fanfiction that’s not for kids. I want it to be as scary and spine tingling as possible without being heavy handed. This article helps a ton!!! I’m definitely gonna check out any others and watch the linked videos! Thank you very much for the help! ^–^ ♡♡♡

Thanks Rose. That’s wonderful to hear, so pleased that this is so helpful. Enjoy the videos and the rest of our varied blog posts.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

  • Features for Creative Writers
  • Features for Work
  • Features for Higher Education
  • Features for Teachers
  • Features for Non-Native Speakers
  • Learn Blog Grammar Guide Community Events FAQ
  • Grammar Guide

How to Write a Hook: Top 5 Tips for Writers

Hannah Yang headshot

Hannah Yang

how to write a hook

How do you make people feel excited to read your work?

Well, for starters, you can write a great hook.

The “hook” refers to the first sentence, or first few sentences, of an essay, article, or story. That’s because these first few lines need to hook readers in, the same way fishermen use bait to hook fish in.

If you’re trying to figure out how to write a hook, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn how to write a fantastic hook and to see some examples of successful ones.

What Is a Hook in Writing?

Top 5 tips for writing good hooks, great examples of hooks, is writing a hook in an essay different from a story hook, conclusion on how to write a hook.

We use the term “hook” to talk about the very beginning of a written work—specifically the part designed to grab readers’ attention. The hook can be as short as a single sentence or as long as a full paragraph.

Writing hooks is a necessary skill for all types of writing—narrative essays, research papers, fiction writing, and more.

definition of a hook in writing

What Makes a Good Hook Important?

Good hooks make your reader feel excited to keep reading.

If you’re writing a book, you need a great hook so people decide to actually buy your work, instead of putting it back on the shelf.

If you’re writing a blog post or article, you need a great hook so people read to the end, instead of scrolling or flipping to a different article instead.

And if you’re writing an essay for school, you need a good hook so you can practice the skill of writing well.

What Are the Different Types of Hooks?

There’s more than one way to write a great hook.

Here are six types of hooks that will grab your reader’s attention.

  • Question hook : a question that provokes the reader’s curiosity and makes them keep reading to find out the answer
  • Statement hook : a strong declaration related to your topic that makes the reader keep reading to see you defend this statement
  • Statistic hook : an interesting fact or statistic that makes you sound knowledgeable, so your reader trusts your expertise
  • Quote hook : a memorable quote, often by a famous person, that the reader will find interesting
  • Description hook : a vivid description that immerses your reader into a specific scene
  • Anecdotal hook : a personal story that relates to your topic and makes the reader feel personally connected to the story

Here are our top tips for writing a strong opening hook.

Tip 1: Surprise the Reader

Readers crave the unexpected. If you start your piece in a surprising way, they’ll be more likely to keep reading.

You can even say something controversial. Readers will want to keep reading to see how you prove your own statement.

Tip 2: Raise a Question

When starting an essay or a story, you should try to create a question that the reader wants answered.

This doesn’t have to be a literal question that ends with a question mark—instead, it can simply be an unusual statement or a weird situation. Make sure it’s something your target audience will find interesting.

Tip 3: Keep Your Promises

If you open your essay with an interesting hook, you need to be mindful of what you’re promising to the reader. If you don’t keep that promise throughout the piece, your reader will feel tricked.

For example, you’d probably be unhappy if you read a story that started with, “The monster was coming for me” and then, later in the first chapter, said, “Then I woke up and realized it was just a nightmare.”

The first sentence is a strong opening hook, but it promises a dramatic scene, which doesn’t get fulfilled, because the hook turns out not to be real.

An equivalent in an essay would be writing a controversial statement and then failing to prove why that statement is true, or asking an interesting question and then failing to answer it later.

Tip 4: Keep It Relevant

Some writers try so hard to choose an interesting hook that they end up using something irrelevant to their essay. Readers will get confused if you open with a random quote or statistic that only tangentially connects to your thesis.

If you’re choosing between a fascinating hook that doesn’t have much to do with your topic, or a decent hook that’s directly related to your thesis statement, you should go with the latter.

Tip 5: Don’t Stop at the Hook

Some writers focus so much on nailing the opening hook that they forget to make the rest of the essay equally strong.

Your reader could still stop reading on the second page, or the third, or the tenth. Make sure you use strong and engaging writing throughout the piece.

One way to learn how to write hooks is to look at examples.

Here are examples of six hooks you could use to start a persuasive essay about artificial intelligence, plus three hooks you could use to start a sci-fi story.

Example 1: Question Hook

  • Will artificial intelligence someday become smarter than humans?

Example 2: Statement Hook

  • Artificial intelligence could become smarter than humans by 2050.

Example 3: Statistic Hook

  • As of 2022, the global AI industry is worth over $130 billion.

Example 4: Quote Hook

  • The scientist Stephen Hawking once said, “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.”

Example 5: Description Hook

  • The Alexa AI blinks from the kitchen table, emitting a comforting blue light.

Example 6: Anecdotal Hook

  • Like many people of my generation, I used an AI for the first time when I was twelve years old.

Example 7: Sci-Fi Story Hooks

  • Samuel Gibson had friends. Sure, all his friends were AI robots that his parents had purchased for him, but they still counted as friends.
  • My father’s office is full of strange machines, which none of us are allowed to touch.
  • The AI revolt began on Christmas morning of the year 2068.

Both essays and stories require good hooks. After all, you’re still competing for your reader’s attention, no matter what kind of work you’re writing.

However, a story hook will look very different from an essay hook.

If you’re writing fiction, you most likely won’t use a statistic, question, or quote to hook your readers in. Instead, your best options will be a statement, a description, or an anecdote—or, or often, a sentence that combines a little bit of all three.

Just like with essays, you should try to raise a question in your reader’s head. This can be a strange character, an unusual setting, or a mysterious fact.

Here are some examples of strong hooks in novels:

“My first memory, when I was three years old, was of trying to kill my sister.”—Jodi Piccoult, My Sister’s Keeper

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”—Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

“Once upon a time, on the coldest night of midwinter, in the darkest heart of the forest, Death and Fortune came to a crossroads.”—Margaret Owen, Little Thieves

“The women gather in a YMCA basement rec room: hard linoleum floors, half-windows along one wall, view of sidewalk and brick.”—Maria Adelmann, How to Be Eaten

“I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a rainy overcast day in 1975.”—Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

“It did not surprise Fire that the man in the forest shot her. What surprised her was that he shot her by accident.”—Kristen Cashore, Fire

There you have it—a complete guide to writing a fantastic hook.

ProWritingAid's creative writer document types

ProWritingAid has specific settings for creative writers and students, so it can help you write your story or essay. Try it out the next time you need to write a hook.

Good luck, and happy writing!

how to write a good hook for a book review

Be confident about grammar

Check every email, essay, or story for grammar mistakes. Fix them before you press send.

Hannah Yang is a speculative fiction writer who writes about all things strange and surreal. Her work has appeared in Analog Science Fiction, Apex Magazine, The Dark, and elsewhere, and two of her stories have been finalists for the Locus Award. Her favorite hobbies include watercolor painting, playing guitar, and rock climbing. You can follow her work on, or subscribe to her newsletter for publication updates.

Get started with ProWritingAid

Drop us a line or let's stay in touch via :

Literacy Ideas

How to Write a Book Review: The Ultimate Guide

' data-src=


how to write a book review | what is a Book review | How to Write a Book Review: The Ultimate Guide |

Traditionally, book reviews are evaluations of a recently published book in any genre. Usually, around the 500 to 700-word mark, they briefly describe a text’s main elements while appraising the work’s strengths and weaknesses. Published book reviews can appear in newspapers, magazines, and academic journals. They provide the reader with an overview of the book itself and indicate whether or not the reviewer would recommend the book to the reader.


There was a time when book reviews were a regular appearance in every quality newspaper and many periodicals. They were essential elements in whether or not a book would sell well. A review from a heavyweight critic could often be the deciding factor in whether a book became a bestseller or a damp squib. In the last few decades, however, the book review’s influence has waned considerably, with many potential book buyers preferring to consult customer reviews on Amazon, or sites like Goodreads, before buying. As a result, book review’s appearance in newspapers, journals, and digital media has become less frequent.


Even in the heyday of the book review’s influence, few students who learned the craft of writing a book review became literary critics! The real value of crafting a well-written book review for a student does not lie in their ability to impact book sales. Understanding how to produce a well-written book review helps students to:

●     Engage critically with a text

●     Critically evaluate a text

●     Respond personally to a range of different writing genres

●     Improve their own reading, writing, and thinking skills.

Not to Be Confused with a Book Report!



While the terms are often used interchangeably, there are clear differences in both the purpose and the format of the two genres. Generally speaking, book reports aim to give a more detailed outline of what occurs in a book. A book report on a work of fiction will tend to give a comprehensive account of the characters, major plot lines, and themes in the book. Book reports are usually written around the K-12 age range, while book reviews tend not to be undertaken by those at the younger end of this age range due to the need for the higher-level critical skills required in writing them. At their highest expression, book reviews are written at the college level and by professional critics.

Learn how to write a book review step by step with our complete guide for students and teachers by familiarizing yourself with the structure and features.


ANALYZE Evaluate the book with a critical mind.

THOROUGHNESS The whole is greater than the sum of all its parts. Review the book as a WHOLE.

COMPARE Where appropriate compare to similar texts and genres.

THUMBS UP OR DOWN? You are going to have to inevitably recommend or reject this book to potential readers.

BE CONSISTENT Take a stance and stick with it throughout your review.


PAST TENSE You are writing about a book you have already read.

EMOTIVE LANGUAGE Whatever your stance or opinion be passionate about it. Your audience will thank you for it.

VOICE Both active and passive voice are used in recounts.


how to write a book review | movie response unit | How to Write a Book Review: The Ultimate Guide |

⭐ Make  MOVIES A MEANINGFUL PART OF YOUR CURRICULUM  with this engaging collection of tasks and tools your students will love. ⭐ All the hard work is done for you with  NO PREPARATION REQUIRED.

This collection of  21 INDEPENDENT TASKS  and  GRAPHIC ORGANIZERS  takes students beyond the hype, special effects and trailers to look at visual literacy from several perspectives offering DEEP LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES by watching a  SERIES, DOCUMENTARY, FILM, and even  VIDEO GAMES.


As with any of the writing genres we teach our students, a book review can be helpfully explained in terms of criteria. While there is much to the ‘art’ of writing, there is also, thankfully, a lot of the nuts and bolts that can be listed too. Have students consider the following elements before writing:

●     Title: Often, the title of the book review will correspond to the title of the text itself, but there may also be some examination of the title’s relevance. How does it fit into the purpose of the work as a whole? Does it convey a message or reveal larger themes explored within the work?

●     Author: Within the book review, there may be some discussion of who the author is and what they have written before, especially if it relates to the current work being reviewed. There may be some mention of the author’s style and what they are best known for. If the author has received any awards or prizes, this may also be mentioned within the body of the review.

●     Genre: A book review will identify the genre that the book belongs to, whether fiction or nonfiction, poetry, romance, science-fiction, history etc. The genre will likely tie in, too with who the intended audience for the book is and what the overall purpose of the work is.

●     Book Jacket / Cover: Often, a book’s cover will contain artwork that is worthy of comment. It may contain interesting details related to the text that contribute to, or detract from, the work as a whole.

●     Structure: The book’s structure will often be heavily informed by its genre. Have students examine how the book is organized before writing their review. Does it contain a preface from a guest editor, for example? Is it written in sections or chapters? Does it have a table of contents, index, glossary etc.? While all these details may not make it into the review itself, looking at how the book is structured may reveal some interesting aspects.

●     Publisher and Price: A book review will usually contain details of who publishes the book and its cost. A review will often provide details of where the book is available too.

how to write a book review | writing a book review | How to Write a Book Review: The Ultimate Guide |


As students read and engage with the work they will review, they will develop a sense of the shape their review will take. This will begin with the summary. Encourage students to take notes during the reading of the work that will help them in writing the summary that will form an essential part of their review. Aspects of the book they may wish to take notes on in a work of fiction may include:

●     Characters: Who are the main characters? What are their motivations? Are they convincingly drawn? Or are they empathetic characters?

●     Themes: What are the main themes of the work? Are there recurring motifs in the work? Is the exploration of the themes deep or surface only?

●     Style: What are the key aspects of the writer’s style? How does it fit into the wider literary world?

●     Plot: What is the story’s main catalyst? What happens in the rising action? What are the story’s subplots? 

A book review will generally begin with a short summary of the work itself. However, it is important not to give too much away, remind students – no spoilers, please! For nonfiction works, this may be a summary of the main arguments of the work, again, without giving too much detail away. In a work of fiction, a book review will often summarise up to the rising action of the piece without going beyond to reveal too much!

how to write a book review | 9 text response | How to Write a Book Review: The Ultimate Guide |

The summary should also provide some orientation for the reader. Given the nature of the purpose of a review, it is important that students’ consider their intended audience in the writing of their review. Readers will most likely not have read the book in question and will require some orientation. This is often achieved through introductions to the main characters, themes, primary arguments etc. This will help the reader to gauge whether or not the book is of interest to them.

Once your student has summarized the work, it is time to ‘review’ in earnest. At this point, the student should begin to detail their own opinion of the book. To do this well they should:

i. Make It Personal

Often when teaching essay writing we will talk to our students about the importance of climbing up and down the ladder of abstraction. Just as it is helpful to explore large, more abstract concepts in an essay by bringing it down to Earth, in a book review, it is important that students can relate the characters, themes, ideas etc to their own lives.

Book reviews are meant to be subjective. They are opinion pieces, and opinions grow out of our experiences of life. Encourage students to link the work they are writing about to their own personal life within the body of the review. By making this personal connection to the work, students contextualize their opinions for the readers and help them to understand whether the book will be of interest to them or not in the process.

ii. Make It Universal

Just as it is important to climb down the ladder of abstraction to show how the work relates to individual life, it is important to climb upwards on the ladder too. Students should endeavor to show how the ideas explored in the book relate to the wider world. The may be in the form of the universality of the underlying themes in a work of fiction or, for example, the international implications for arguments expressed in a work of nonfiction.

iii. Support Opinions with Evidence

A book review is a subjective piece of writing by its very nature. However, just because it is subjective does not mean that opinions do not need to be justified. Make sure students understand how to back up their opinions with various forms of evidence, for example, quotations, statistics, and the use of primary and secondary sources.


how to write a book review | 9 1 proof read Book review | How to Write a Book Review: The Ultimate Guide |

As with any writing genre, encourage students to polish things up with review and revision at the end. Encourage them to proofread and check for accurate spelling throughout, with particular attention to the author’s name, character names, publisher etc. 

It is good practice too for students to double-check their use of evidence. Are statements supported? Are the statistics used correctly? Are the quotations from the text accurate? Mistakes such as these uncorrected can do great damage to the value of a book review as they can undermine the reader’s confidence in the writer’s judgement.

The discipline of writing book reviews offers students opportunities to develop their writing skills and exercise their critical faculties. Book reviews can be valuable standalone activities or serve as a part of a series of activities engaging with a central text. They can also serve as an effective springboard into later discussion work based on the ideas and issues explored in a particular book. Though the book review does not hold the sway it once did in the mind’s of the reading public, it still serves as an effective teaching tool in our classrooms today.

how to write a book review | LITERACY IDEAS FRONT PAGE 1 | How to Write a Book Review: The Ultimate Guide |

Teaching Resources

Use our resources and tools to improve your student’s writing skills through proven teaching strategies.


how to write a book review | book review graphic organizer | How to Write a Book Review: The Ultimate Guide |


how to write a book review | digital graphic organizers 1 | How to Write a Book Review: The Ultimate Guide |

Introduce your students to 21st-century learning with this GROWING BUNDLE OF 101 EDITABLE & PRINTABLE GRAPHIC ORGANIZERS. ✌ NO PREP REQUIRED!!! ✌ Go paperless, and let your students express their knowledge and creativity through the power of technology and collaboration inside and outside the classroom with ease.

Whilst you don’t have to have a 1:1 or BYOD classroom to benefit from this bundle, it has been purpose-built to deliver through platforms such as ✔ GOOGLE CLASSROOM, ✔ OFFICE 365, ✔ or any CLOUD-BASED LEARNING PLATFORM.

Book and Movie review writing examples (Student Writing Samples)

Below are a collection of student writing samples of book reviews.  Click on the image to enlarge and explore them in greater detail.  Please take a moment to both read the movie or book review in detail but also the teacher and student guides which highlight some of the key elements of writing a text review

Please understand these student writing samples are not intended to be perfect examples for each age or grade level but a piece of writing for students and teachers to explore together to critically analyze to improve student writing skills and deepen their understanding of book review writing.

We would recommend reading the example either a year above and below, as well as the grade you are currently working with to gain a broader appreciation of this text type .

how to write a book review | book review year 3 | How to Write a Book Review: The Ultimate Guide |


how to write a book review | 2 book review tutorial28129 | How to Write a Book Review: The Ultimate Guide |


how to write a book review | transactional writing guide | Transactional Writing |

Transactional Writing

how to write a book review | text response | How to write a text response |

How to write a text response

how to write a book review | compare and contrast essay 1 | How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay |

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay

how to write a book review | expository essay writing guide | How to Write Excellent Expository Essays |

How to Write Excellent Expository Essays


How to write a compelling book hook

Posted on May 9, 2024 at 8:56 AM by Guest Author

To convince people to take a chance on your work, you need to capture their interest right away. Gain insight into writing a strong book hook or tagline. 

Table of Contents

Understanding the Role of a Book Hook

Characteristics of Effective Hooks

7 Practical Tips for Crafting Your Book Hook

Understanding the role of a book hook  .

A book hook (aka a tagline or elevator pitch ) plays an important role in your marketing efforts. As the term suggests, its purpose is to “hook” potential readers, publishers, agents, or other partners so they’re eager to learn more. Typically consisting of one to two sentences, it describes the essence of your book’s appeal without giving anything away.

Whether you’ve already published your book or not, having a hook is strongly recommended. For starters, it can guide your writing efforts and help you get back on track when you stray from the central theme.

But it can really come in handy once you’ve finished your book. That’s because you can use it in several ways:

To pitch your book to literary agents

To approach book bloggers and influencers

To supplement your book blurb on the sales page

To feature your book on promotional sites 

To publicize your book on media outlets

To build excitement among email subscribers

To drum up interest on social media 

In short, a strong book hook is an invaluable tool for drawing people in and encouraging them to take a chance on your work.

Characteristics of Effective Hooks  

When it comes to writing a book hook, there’s no strict formula to follow. Some include thought-provoking questions, whereas others trail off in suspense. The possibilities are endless! However, effective hooks tend to have some common characteristics.   

They’re clear and concise.

A strong book hook should be short — around one to two sentences long — and share just enough information to pique someone’s interest. Keep in mind that it’s meant to communicate the essence of your story. It shouldn’t overwhelm the reader with unnecessary details. 

They include intriguing language.

Effective hooks use language that stands out to readers and leaves them wanting more. Often, they employ vivid imagery, powerful metaphors, or unexpected twists. Creative word choices can captivate readers and reflect the quality of your writing. 

They connect to the core theme.

The best hooks establish a direct link to the heart of the story. Generally, they suggest what the plot is about without describing it fully. Instead, they tap into universal themes or address pressing questions that drive the narrative forward.

They evoke emotion or curiosity.

A successful hook inspires emotion in the reader. It could be excitement, fear, empathy, or any other strong feeling. By appealing to their emotions, you can connect with readers on a deeper level. Moreover, you can compel them to delve into your book. 

They hint at the book’s genre.

Great hooks also provide subtle clues about the genre. They give readers an idea of what to expect while still leaving room for surprise. Whether it’s through the tone, setting, or characters, hinting at the book’s genre helps attract readers who love a particular type of story. 

Writing a compelling book hook can be a challenge — even for seasoned authors. If you’re struggling to write yours, it’s worth taking a step back. Make sure you have a solid foundation on which to craft your hook by applying the tips below. 


First things first — having a firm grasp of your book’s core theme is essential. Before you do anything else, identify the central conflict or underlying message that moves your story forward. It could be the power of friendship, the search for love, or the battle between good and evil. Whatever the case, clarifying the main theme sets the foundation for your hook. 


Your book hook should attract potential readers, which is why you need to know who they are. That way, you can tailor your hook to appeal to them. Research your target audience to discover what resonates with them. Pay close attention to the following:



By gathering this information, you can craft a hook that speaks to their desires and expectations. And as a result, you increase the likelihood of capturing their attention. 


Take the time to study successful hooks in your genre to determine what works and why. There are plenty of examples of great hooks available online. Look through them and note common techniques, patterns, and structural elements. You can gain valuable insights to apply to your own hook. 


Do some brainstorming to generate a list of powerful words and phrases you can use in your book hook. Consider the emotions, imagery, and concepts you want to convey to potential readers. If you get stuck, don’t be afraid to use a helpful AI tool like ChatGPT for ideas.


It’s best to write multiple versions of your hook to see which will resonate most with your audience. Experiment by emphasizing different aspects of your book’s…


You can also play around with formatting by including a question or ending with an ellipsis. 


To test different variations and refine your hook, seek feedback from others. Share your list with trusted friends, beta readers, or fellow writers to gather diverse perspectives. Note their reactions, suggestions, and critiques, and use their feedback to improve your hook. Sometimes, having a fresh set of eyes can be a huge help. 


Generally, a hook is placed above the longer blurb on a book’s sales page. So, it’s important that it complements the blurb seamlessly — while still being able to stand on its own. Check that your hook aligns with your blurb’s messaging. Make any necessary adjustments to ensure consistency and coherence between the two, maximizing their combined impact. 


If you haven’t written a book hook already, put it on your to-do list. A short, attention-grabbing pitch can be a valuable addition to your book marketing efforts. So, get to work creating a brief yet compelling hook that will inspire others to learn more.

(Do you need help writing your hook or blurb? Take advantage of our blurb generator option and get custom copy ideas for free!) 

Categories: Behind the scenes

Tagged As: Artificial intelligence (AI) , Marketing / promotion , The business of writing

* Indicates a required field

Hook Readers on Your Book: 8 Tips with Examples

Learn eight different ways of delivering a strong hook that will get you reeling in your readers.

T L Murchison

In this age of short attention spans, instant gratification, and a plethora of choices for readers, a catchy opening line is a key ingredient in encouraging readers to not only pick up your book but also to keep turning the pages. Those first few words hook an audience and showcase an author’s writing style.

Every piece of writing needs an opening. The key is to make it a gripping one. How to write a good hook may seem daunting at first, but there are some tried-and-true techniques to apply to those opening sentences to craft a great hook that can grab readers’ attention.

‍ What is a hook?

A hook is the very first line or lines of a story with the specific purpose of grabbing a reader’s attention and enticing them to continue reading. It’s a literary device that generates curiosity about a unique character trait, an unusual situation, or an important question. These opening lines also define the genre, introduce the themes of the story or character traits, and help establish your writing style.

The term comes from a fisherman’s hook. To catch fish, they use a shiny hook and delicious bait to lure and capture their prey, snagging them so they can’t get free. You’ll want to use arresting details and purposeful words to suck in potential readers with your first line.

‍ Why you need a good hook

People have an attention span of about 8 seconds. For the average reader, that’s around 17 words. If you don’t grab the reader’s attention in your first sentence, chances are they won’t pick up your story. Think about what drew you to this article. Were you searching for tips on writing a good hook, and the title drew you in? Or did the emotive words in the title cause you to click?

Consider a child playing with a ball. The ball rolls onto the street and the child, distracted, doesn’t see a car speeding down the road. Do you quietly say “Excuse me, you should get out of the street” or do you yell “Look out!”

You do what’s necessary to grab the child’s attention. The opening lines of your book need that same “pay attention to me” treatment.

How do you peak a reader’s interest? You turn on their curiosity.

‍ What Kind of Hook is for you?

Writing hooks can be confusing, and there are different types of hooks depending on a few factors. The genre of your book is a good place to start, but don’t forget about your writing style. Below are the most popular types of hooks, along with some sample first sentences to showcase the type of hook’s qualities.

‍ 1. Start in the middle.

Technically called media res, one of the most common and impactful ways to create a great hook is to drop your readers right into the middle of the action. It’s an easy and clear way to create intrigue with very little setup.

This type of hook has two advantages:

1. By landing in the action, the scene’s own energy motivates the reader to keep going.

2. Readers do not have any context as to the nature of the story yet and as such, they will have questions. The only way to find out those answers is to keep reading. They want to know what creature is chasing the hero, who wrote the love poem, why the air is unbreathable, etc.

For some authors, this means literally in the midst of an action scene, but in general, the concept is to not start with the day the world was created. There will be plenty of opportunities to write in elements of your backstory. The core concept here is to start in the middle of something interesting happening.

George R. R. Martin drops us into the action in A Game of Thrones with an opening line where readers want to know, at the same time, where the characters have been and where they are going.

‍ “We should start back,” Gared urged as the woods began to grow dark around them.

In Enchanter’s End Game , David Eddings sets a scene where readers want to know why mule bells are mournful to the character.

‍ There was, Garion decided, something definitely mournful about the sound of mule bells.

‍ Pro-tip: A short-cut to this is a stolen prologue. This is essentially an eventful and key scene in your story that you steal, but placing a snippet of the scene as your prologue.

‍ 2. Life-changing moments

Speaking of action, why not use your inciting incident to kick off your story? By honing in on the life-changing moment for your character, you can catch readers’ interest by showing the pivot that is happening in that moment.

Potential reader’s curiosity is heightened because they are going through the same monumental change as the character and thus a close connection to the character can be cemented.

A great example of this is in Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka.

“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.”

In Coraline by Neil Gaiman, you know that Coraline is going through that door. But what’s on the other side?

‍ “Coraline discovered the door a little while after they moved into the house.”

‍ 3. Hit them where it counts.

Tapping into your readers’ sense of empathy is another poignant way to connect with potential readers. Kicking your story off with an intense emotional response in the first few lines lets your readers attach to your character. Developing a relationship with a character draws the reader into their world, making them interested in their story, their wound, their battle to overcome. If a reader is invested in the character, they are much more likely to keep reading to find out what happens.

Pay careful attention to the choice of words here. Focus on emotive language, words and phrases that create the reaction you want. If you are writing about a murder, there’s a difference between an innocent bystander and a defenceless victim, both of which draw a picture of the scene more than simply stating there is a dead person.

‍ Pro-tip: Hooks matter in writing outside fiction too. Even in academic writing, essay writing, and academic papers, it helps to have an effective hook to draw readers in, and propelling them towards your thesis statement - the core argument of your piece. In those settings,  consider hooking readers with a personal story. An emotional appeal can help readers understand why you wrote this book and ease them into the more dense or informative content to come.

L.E. Modesitt, Jr. creates a connection with the reader in his The Magic of Recluce by pointing out a complaint about childhood most fantasy readers can relate to.

‍ “Growing up, I always wondered why everything in Wandernaught seemed so dull.”

In Mistborn , Brandon Sanderson writes a line connecting readers to a common fear.

‍ “Sometimes, I worry that I’m not the hero everyone thinks I am...”

‍ 4. Surprise your readers

Billie Wilder famously said about beginnings, “Grab them by the throat and never let go.” Opening your book with an unexpected rhetorical question, or a controversial statement, will engage your audience as they are eager to continue reading to find out where you’re going with that opening.

This could take the form of a statement hook that shocks readers, or you take a common misconception and turn it on its head.

Jane Austen opens Pride and Prejudice with a sentence that piques the reader’s curiosity without introducing a single character, setting or time frame.

‍ “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

William Goldman launches The Princess Bride with a statement at odds with itself.

‍ “This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it.”

‍ 5. Make FOMO your friend

The fear of missing out (FOMO) is a strong motivator to keep readers engaged. Hint at what is coming, but don’t give them all the details. Reader needs to solve the puzzle, figure out why the character is doing or saying that or where the action takes place. This will drive readers to continue.

Mark Twain not only mocks himself, but teases at more to the story in his opening line of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn .

‍ “You don’t know about me, without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but that ain’t no matter. That book was made by a Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly.”

In City of Glass by Douglas Coupland, readers want to know about all the wrong things in this opening line.

‍ “It was a wrong number that started it, the telephone ringing three times in the dead of the night, and the voice on the other end asking for someone he was not.”

‍ 6. The question hook

This hook idea is a classic, one you might have heard in high school during a class on essay hooks for various types of essay, including the  narrative essay, persuasive essay, argumentative essay, or a research paper. 

Open with a question that is an attention grabber, one with no clear and obvious answer. Something readers will feel compelled to keep reading so they can discover the answer.

‍ “Where’s Papa going with that ax?” said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.

–– E.B. White, Charlotte's Web.

Edgar Allan Poe delivered a perfect hook in his story, The Cask of Amontillado.

“The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as best I could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge.”

This hook is brilliant on multiple levels. As a first person point of view statement, it gives the reader insight into the mental state of the main character. It could fit into several of the hook categories listed in this article. I included it here because, even though it is not a question itself, it immediately had me asking questions. What kind of injuries are we talking about here? What was the insult that was so bad revenge is needed? How will this person take their revenge?

‍ 7. Timing

The pace of your opening lines can help with a sense of urgency, setting the clock not only for your story but also setting your readers’ minds on alert. The structure of these opening lines should lend to the rushed or urgent aspect of your story.

In Freaky Deaky , Elmore Leonard displays urgency through his use of time, orientation and the short, crisp fragments he cuts his opening sentence up with:

‍ “Chris Mankowski’s last day on the job, two in the afternoon, two hours to go, he got a call to dispose of a bomb.”

Lee Child’s staccato delivery of the opening lines of The Killing Floor introduces inner workings of the lead character. They are blunt, detail oriented and precise. Readers immediately want to know why, where and what is going on at this diner.

‍ “I was arrested in Eno’s diner. At Twelve O’clock. I was eating eggs and drinking coffee. A late breakfast, not lunch.”

‍ 8. Skip the description

World building in any story is essential, but don’t write an opening opus of the rules of magic, the planes of your planet or the physical description of your character’s features and wardrobe. Without any questions to create curiosity, this explanation may leave readers feeling they have to dredge through content to get to the good stuff. And what do readers do when they get bored? They put down your book and stop reading.

Focus on a few key details that help orientate the reader. You have plenty of time to fill in the details of your story in the following pages, even for a short story.

Ernest Hemingway sets the stage nicely in The Old Man and the Sea .

‍ “He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish.”

In the opening line to Harry Potter, J. K. Rowling gives us location, character development and a hint at the core themes of the book. 

‍ “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”

‍ One more thing…

Before potential readers sink their teeth into your strong hook, they’ve already had a taster: the title of your book. Your title is a snapshot of your story, the essence drilled down to one, two, or three words. It is a mini hook that can pull in your target audience with emotionally impactful language that piques their curiosity.

‍ Keep it up.

A great hook is the first step in creating interest in a reader, but use these techniques sparingly. You are telling a story and with that comes balancing the reader’s curiosity with answering the questions or explaining the hints you’ve dropped. Be sure to fill in some of those blanks early on, while holding the larger reveals for later. Readers want to know their hunches were correct or find out why they were wrong.

‍ Pro-tip: Mystery authors, or those of you with a mystery in your books, can sustain the hook by using a Russian doll type method: as you open one doll or reveal the answer to one question, just like there is a smaller doll inside, propose another question to be puzzled out.

Hook, Line, and Sinker

A well-written hook will capture a reader’s interest and draw them into your story. It’s the first tasty morsel to sample the meal that is your book. Think about what draws you into reading a story and try out the different techniques above to create your own engaging hook.

Want to read more about indie publishing?


Book Marketing for Self-Publishing Authors

Home / Book Writing / Story Hook Examples: The Best Way to Get Readers to Read

Story Hook Examples: The Best Way to Get Readers to Read

The word “hook” is used a lot in the literary world. Unfortunately, this can complicate things quite a bit. Especially because there are two kinds of hooks that people discuss when talking about books. There’s the type of hook that’s best used in marketing your book, and there’s one that’s used at the very beginning of your book to pull the reader into your story. 

By the end of this article, you’ll know all about both types of hooks. And, if I’ve done my job, you’ll know how to craft both types effectively. 

  • What a “tagline” hook is.
  • What a story hook is.
  • Examples of each type of hook.
  • Tips for writing your hooks.

Table of contents

  • What Are the Two Types of Hooks?
  • 1. All the Sinners Bleed by S. A. Cosby
  • 2. Cross Down by James Patterson and Brendan DuBois
  • 3. Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros
  • 4. The Diviners by Libba Bray
  • 5. Twenty Years Later by Charlie Donlea
  • Tagline Hooks Explained
  • Tip 1: See What Other Authors Are Doing
  • Tip 2: Search Reviews
  • Tip 3: Get to Writing
  • Tip 4: Test Your Taglines
  • 1. The Secret History by Donna Tartt
  • 2. Die Trying by Lee Child
  • 3. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
  • 4. The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
  • 5. One for the Money by Janet Evanovich
  • 6. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams
  • 7. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
  • 8. The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
  • 9. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
  • 10. Cell by Stephen King
  • Story Hooks Explained
  • Tip 1: Present High Stakes
  • Tip 2: Use Your Voice
  • Tip 3: Start in the Middle
  • Tip 4: Use Humor
  • Tip 5: Reel Them In
  • Tagline and Narrative Hooks: Conclusion

When people in the publishing industry talk about a “hook,” they could be talking about two different things. There's the tagline hook , which is essentially a one-to-three-sentence blub about the book. It's not a synopsis because it doesn't include any spoilers. The point is to “hook” potential readers (or publishers) and make them want to learn more about the book (or buy it). This is sometimes called the elevator pitch or simply the tagline. 

The other type of hook serves a similar purpose, but it's found on the first page of the book. It's the very first thing readers see in the story. The hook is there to engage the reader and make them want to continue reading. This can be a single line, two sentences, a paragraph, or an entire opening scene. 

Format Beautiful Professional Books

Easy to use, and and full of amazing features, you can quickly turn your book into a professional book.

Now that you know about the two different kinds of hooks, let's dive into some examples before we get to tips on crafting your hooks. 

Tagline Hook Examples

Here are some “tagline” hook examples from different books. They're all short, somewhat vague, and designed to be intriguing. 

“A Black sheriff. A serial killer. A small town ready to combust.”

“Alex Cross is gravely injured. Only his partner and friend John Sampson can keep him safe . . . and get justice.”

“Enter the brutal and elite world of a war college for dragon riders from New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Yarros.”

“Something dark and evil has awakened…”

“Hiding her own dark past in plain sight, a TV reporter is determined to uncover the truth behind a gruesome murder decades after the investigation was abandoned. But TWENTY YEARS LATER, to understand the present, you need to listen to the past…”

You'll often see these kinds of hooks displayed on a book's detail page on Amazon or even on the book itself in hardcover or paperback form. Most often, you'll see them directly above the book blurb, although sometimes they will be at the end of the blurb and include a call to action. 

You may notice a quotation hook on many book pages (or covers). These quotes are designed to do the same thing, but they have the added benefit of social proof and credibility–particularly if the quote is from a big-name author. 

These types of hooks are designed to pull the reader in and get them to open the book, or perhaps click on the “Look Inside” feature to read the first page–where the other hook takes over. 

How to Craft a Tagline Hook

You have several options for crafting tagline hooks. Plus, there are some great ways to test them to see which one resonates with people the most. 

One great way to get inspiration for your tagline is by perusing books by other successful authors in your genre . Copy and paste the taglines you like into a document to use as inspiration. (Obviously don't use anyone else's tagline as your own.) I'd suggest getting fifteen or more. This will give you a good idea of what's working for authors who write books like yours. 

For further tagline hook inspiration, look at your book's positive reviews. Your readers are a great source for this because they naturally use language that's likely to resonate with other readers. A look at your four and five-star reviews could also net you a few quotes you could use in your book marketing . 

If your book isn’t out yet, you can still study the reviews of similar books by other authors. The language reviewers use can really help to inform your tagline.

It can be tempting to just bang out a tagline that's “good enough” and then get back to working on your current book. However, I suggest you set aside an hour or more with the express purpose of writing at least a dozen potential tagline hooks for your book. This is where reader reviews and inspirational taglines from other authors come in handy. 

Try a few different structures: one-, two-, and three-sentence hooks. You generally don't want your tagline hook to be more than three (short) sentences.

Out of your dozen or more options, choose four or five that you think are the best. There are a few ways to test these. 

You can poll your email list about which they like best. You can ask your author friends or even family members. Or you can use them in Facebook ads . (Or you can do all three!)

If you have a little bit of money to spend, using your tagline hooks in Facebook ads can be a truly valuable experience. Whichever one gets the most clicks, when used as the first part of the Primary Text on your ad, can tell you which one is best to put on your book page. 

Now, let's discuss story hooks. 

Story Hook Examples

Once the reader's curiosity has been piqued by the “tagline” hook, they'll probably open the book or do the digital equivalent. This is where a strong story hook can seal the deal and get the reader to purchase the book. 

So, let's look at some examples of strong story hooks. 

As you read through these, think about what each hook does in terms of grabbing your attention, adding intrigue, and hinting at character. 

“The snow in the mountains was melting and Bunny had been dead for several weeks before we came to understand the gravity of our situation.”

“Nathan Rubin died because he got brave. Not the sustained kind of thing that wins you a medal in a war, but the split-second kind of blurting outrage that gets you killed on the street.”

“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.”

“If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book. In this book, not only is there no happy ending, there is no happy beginning and very few happy things in the middle.”

“There are some men who enter a woman's life and screw it up forever. Joseph Morelli did this to me – not forever, but periodically.”

“The story so far: In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.”

“We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.”

“No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.”

“Let’s start with the end of the world, why don’t we? Get it over with and move on to more interesting things.”

“The event that came to be known as The Pulse began at 3:03 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, on the afternoon of October 1.”

Hopefully you can see why the story hooks above are engaging. Of course, there's no such thing as the perfect hook that will bring you all the readers. The goal of a hook should be to grab as many readers in your genre as possible.  

But given the differences in reader preference, you would go crazy trying to craft a hook that would appeal to everyone . 

And focusing too much on the hook would also be a mistake. It is merely a tool—a very important tool, but still a tool. After all, you can have the most effective hook possible, but if it's not followed by a good, well-edited story with engaging characters, then the reader won't make it through the book. 

And as indie authors, our bread and butter is read-through and reader loyalty. 

So how do you craft a good story hook? I’ve included five tips below to get you started. 

How to Craft a Story Hook

The manner in which you craft the narrative hook will depend on several factors, not the least of which is genre. And there's more than one way to grab the reader's attention.

You may have noticed that the first three narrative hook examples shared above have to do with death. There's a good reason for this. Death creates an engaging hook. It's one of the three major stakes that pretty much all novels are about, when you get right down to it: external, internal, and philosophical. Death is a clear external stake. 

But death is just one example of why hinting at the stakes to come is a great way to hook the reader. And the best part? The stakes don't have to do directly with your main character. In fact, the book mentioned above, Die Trying by Lee Child, starts with the death of a very minor character when he has a run-in with some minor bad guys. This is enough. 

So don't be afraid to put your best foot forward and address what’s at stake (or at least hint at it) in the first paragraph of your novel . 

Your author voice is unique. Even if you're still working to develop that voice, perfecting it with each novel or short story, you can bet it's unique. And you can use it to create an engaging hook. 

One thing that several of the hook examples above do is present a strong voice from the start. Most of them do this in addition to presenting high stakes and/or one of the other tips mentioned below. The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket does this very well, warning the reader by mentioning that there is no happy ending to the story, and doing so in a strong voice. 

The Fifth Season by M.K. Jemisin also does this well in just two sentences, dismissing the end of the world as uninteresting.

You've probably heard this writing advice before, and it's essential for crafting a strong hook. Sometimes, we worry about setting things up for the reader, giving them backstory and exposition so that they'll be better prepared when things start to go wrong for the characters. 

In most cases, this is a mistake. Hook writing is all about drawing the reader in, and you can't do that if you're bombarding them with backstory while nothing is happening in the story's present.

Take the hook example from The Secret History by Donna Tartt: 

“The snow in the mountains was melting and Bunny had been dead for several weeks before we came to understand the gravity of our situation.” 

What if she started before Bunny died, while the snow was still falling and there were still weeks to go before they realized the gravity of their situation? This would put the story in danger of getting bogged down in details. But as it is, we have a dead character and a bad situation. She's “ starting in the middle ” with her great hook. 

If it's appropriate for your genre, humor can make for a strong hook. If you can make the reader laugh with your first sentence, paragraph, or page, then you've got the reader's attention. 

The hook example from The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams is an excellent illustration of this:

This kind of irreverent humor is one reason why the Hitchhiker's Guide series is so wildly popular. This hook also has a strong voice, which definitely helps. 

Once you have the reader's interest with the hook sentence (or scene), it's important that you keep it. This means that the hook has to have something to do with the story to follow. It's not a good idea to simply throw a scene into the beginning of your story that has nothing to do with what follows. 

For example, if I were to write a scene in which a character gets killed on the way to work one morning, it could make for a good hook. But if that character's death only served to make the protagonist late for work with no other significant consequences, my readers would probably feel cheated.

While the hook doesn't have to directly involve the protagonist, it should indirectly impact them in a significant way, at the very least.  

Increase Your Book Marketing

See the Publisher Rocket effect, when you use the right keywords and categories to help get your book seen more on Amazon.

It's also important to keep the pace going. You can sprinkle in exposition and backstory as you go along, but be judicious about it. Once the reader is on the line, they still could wriggle off the hook if they're bogged down with pages and pages of backstory or character history directly after the hook. 

Only give the amount of backstory that is absolutely necessary to keep the story moving.  

As you can see, the two “hooks” of the literary world are indeed very different. Although not impossible, it would be unlikely for anyone to write an opening hook that could also be used verbatim as a “tagline” hook. 

And I'd even argue that you wouldn't want to. One needs to be crafted with your marketing hat on, the other with your author hat on. They take different mindsets, but as a writer, you have the skills to craft them.  

With narrative hooks, ask your beta readers for feedback. It doesn't have to be the entire book. You can just give them the first page or the first chapter and ask if they want to read more. 

With “tagline” hooks, you can do something similar by asking your email list. You can also spend a little bit of money on Facebook ads to see which one works well!

When you have these two hooks working together, you can climb the charts and build a following of fans who will look forward to every book you release.

Dave Chesson

When I’m not sipping tea with princesses or lightsaber dueling with little Jedi, I’m a book marketing nut. Having consulted multiple publishing companies and NYT best-selling authors, I created Kindlepreneur to help authors sell more books. I’ve even been called “The Kindlepreneur” by Amazon publicly, and I’m here to help you with your author journey.

Related Posts

How to write an adventure story, parts of a book [from cover to cover], how to write a whodunit, sell more books on amazon, amazon kindle rankings e-book.

Learn how to rank your Kindle book #1 on Amazon with our collection of time-tested tips and tricks.

Join the community

Join 111,585 other authors who receive weekly emails from us to help them make more money selling books.

  • Skip to left header navigation
  • Skip to right header navigation
  • Skip to main content
  • Skip to primary sidebar

Books & Such Literary Management

A full-service literary agency that focuses on books for the Christian market.

  • About Books & Such
  • Our Behind-the-Scenes Staff
  • Our Travel Schedule
  • Author News
  • Collaborators and Ghostwriters
  • Submissions
  • Editors Select

8 Tips for Writing a Powerful Hook for Your Book Proposal

August 17, 2012 //  by  Mary Keeley //   71 Comments

Blogger: Mary Keeley

Last week I gave you a list of tips for writing a perfect synopsis here . Today I’ll list some tips on how to write a powerful hook for your book proposal.

With the growing number of electronic and social media diversions competing for people’s attention, the hook on the first page of your book is proportionately more important to grab readers’ attention, make them hungry for more—and eventually to recommend your book to friends. A compelling hook in your book proposal is equally vital because you have one chance to convince an agent or editor to continue reading.

The hook is not a shorter brief description. This is a frequent mistake I see in proposals, and it reveals more than a lack of understanding of a hook’s purpose. It implies a lesser writing skill or possibly even the author’s lack of clarity about his or her book.

The hook is the first impression the agent or editor will have of your book. It is more than marketing copy. It should capture what your book is about in very few words.

  • The hook in your proposal should be one or two sentences. In your manuscript the hook can be up to several paragraphs. I think this difference is where confusion has occurred. Remember that you have only 30 seconds to attract an agent or editor to continue reading your proposal. If you can’t distill the hook to an attention-grabbing sentence or two, their perception may be that your story or topic isn’t strong enough to warrant further reading. Before you think agents and editors are cruel and insensitive, understand that we have stacks of proposals to read and precious little time available to do so. It’s an unfortunate reality in the industry. But it underscores the necessity of having a powerful hook in your proposal, doesn’t it.
  • Use strong active—never passive—verbs that convey the emotion or pressing need in your book. Use present tense.
  • Allude to the main plot or the issue at stake—the main conflict or crisis. If you can encapsulate the essence in a word or two, great! Use them in an illusive, edgy, bold, or passionate sentence—whichever type corresponds with your book. But don’t explain the conflict or crisis. That’s the job of the synopsis.
  • It isn’t necessary to refer specifically to the protagonist but if you do, use his or her name. It can create a personal connection with the character in an instant.
  • Sometimes it’s more intriguing to make a passionate but general statement that conveys the central theme.
  • Use colorful nouns; eliminate adjectives.
  • Questions are for back cover copy, not the hook.
  • Unlike the synopsis, do not reveal the ending of your novel in the hook.

One way to start writing your hook is to jot down some sentences about the main plot or topic of your book and the main characters (fiction) or people and ideas (nonfiction). Search for a few strong words that capture the theme and conflict in your story or message and build from there.

In their book Write the Perfect Book Proposal, Jeff Herman and Deborah Levine Herman define the hook this way: “ . . . the hook for your book proposal is the power point from which your ideas take flight.” I like this description because it shows the passion a hook should have to make an agent sit up and say, “Ooh . . . sounds interesting!”

What do you find to be the hardest part about writing a hook for your proposal? What approach works best for you in narrowing down your words and phrases?

Reader Interactions

Leave a reply cancel reply.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .

' src=

August 17, 2012 at 7:17 am

Writing the hook is challenging, but I really enjoy it. My years as a newspaper reporter benefit me here since every story was supposed to lead with a strong hook.

I once read this formula (wish I could remember where and give credit!) that helped immensely: When OPENING CONFLICT happens to CHARACTER(s), they have to OVERCOME CONFLICT to COMPLETE QUEST.

how to write a good hook for a book review

August 17, 2012 at 7:20 am

Excellent, Sarah. Thanks for sharing.

' src=

August 17, 2012 at 8:30 am

Oh, thank you! This is great!

' src=

November 8, 2013 at 7:20 pm

I am struggling to write a good hook. I have written my first novel and submitted the first 50 pages to an agent who requested them. She wrote back asking me to give her a hook and then resubmit. Here is what I have: If someone had told her she would go without sex for a decade, she would have never believed them. She liked sex. Loved it really. But sometimes, life gets in the way of things you enjoy.

' src=

November 21, 2013 at 9:31 pm

Hi Sarah, Can you give some tips to find the hook in a content?

' src=

August 17, 2012 at 8:17 am

Great tips. Thanks, Mary!

Is there a difference between a logline and a hook? There are so many terms I get confused between them all. 🙂

August 17, 2012 at 8:46 am

Good question, Lindsay. They are similar. A logline is a one-sentence summary of a script/screenplay. The term hook is used in fiction and nonfiction. And a lead is a short opening sentence pointing to the facts in a magazine or news story.

August 17, 2012 at 10:10 am

Ah, okay. Like Michelle says below, I have also read that the hook can be a question. Like I said, so many things to remember! 🙂 Thanks for your help in understanding them.

November 21, 2013 at 9:33 pm

Hi Mary, I have a difficulty in finding a hook statement of a content. Can you please write a post or suggest me some ways to find hook statement?

August 17, 2012 at 8:39 am

I think, no wait, I know giving birth was easier than writing a hook! Okay, *perhaps* not, but I daresay, it might be close!

The hardest part is developing the emotional impact, in so very few words, that is needed to draw in an agent, to the point where they yell “Give me her email!! No wait, give me her cell phone number so I can call her in the middle of the night and make her world flip upside down!!!”

August 17, 2012 at 8:48 am

LOL . . . Many heads are nodding, Jennifer.

' src=

August 17, 2012 at 9:29 am

I always find the question versus statement hook to be a bit confusing. Some say write a question, some say writing a statement and experts in both camps. LOL! Thanks for clearing this up for me, Mary.

(I think the source of the strategy that Sarah mentioned is Susan May Warren. She uses those words in her training, but it could be someone else as well.)

August 17, 2012 at 10:25 am

Michelle, I shouldn’t have stated it as an absolute. If you can capture what the book is about, the emotion, and conflict in a short question, go for it. But most often, that isn’t easy to accomplish.

August 17, 2012 at 11:11 am

No worries, Mary. All of your insight is very helpful. Is anything in publishing absolute? Probably not. Lots of great information here! Thanks.

November 8, 2013 at 7:25 pm

Does the paragraph below evoke emotion and raise questions enough to be a good hook? What would you recommend to improve it.

If someone had told her she would live without sex for a decade, she would have never believed them. She liked sex. Loved it really. But sometimes, life gets in the way of things you enjoy.

' src=

August 17, 2012 at 10:31 am

Mary, I appreciate all you shared here today. I’m still figuring out how to write a hook that will draw people in. I’m glad to know questions or statements work. I’m pondering all you’ve shared, and all people are saying in the comments today. Thanks!!

August 17, 2012 at 11:04 am

You’re welcome, Jeanne.

' src=

August 17, 2012 at 10:52 am

First off, I just found out about Janet’s loss. I am so sorry to hear it. I offer my condolences and prayers for her and her family at this time.

Now to the post though, thanks for continually giving us hungry-for-more-advice writers some more good tips to store in our minds and hearts. I have written a two-sentence hook line that surprisingly (it was!) came quite easy for me. I am a trained journalist so I deal in “leads” too, so perhaps that helped. I can’t wait to finish the book proposal I am working on now and sending it hook line and all to an agent!

Also, if you don’t mind, Mary, I have a question. I know there has been obviously a lot going on at the office lately and I asked Wendy a question on her post the other day that she was not able to respond to. If you don’t mind, I would like to ask it now.

It is about a part of publishing contracts that limits signed authors to not publishing any other writing outside of their book contract. Does this apply to journalists too? I am a full-time newspaper reporter, so I must be able to publish to keep my job. It just concerned me when I read about that in her blog post. Thanks so much!

August 17, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Morgan, you are referring to Janet’s blog this past Monday. Wendy was responding to comments for her. The degree of stringency in non-compete clauses varies from publisher to publisher. Most of the clauses restrict an author from publishing other full-length books or books on the same tipic, not articles and news stories. In fact, articles, columns, and news stories are viewed as a means of promoting you and your books as long as the content doesn’t “give up the ship.”

Janet explains the reason non-compete clauses came into existence here

We B&S agents approach negotiation of these clauses from the very perspective you are concerned about: that an author has to be able to make a living. But there also is sound financial reason why publishers need to protect themselves. We work very hard to negotiate reasonable win-win agreements in these clauses.

August 17, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Thanks so much, Mary! I feel much better. I was a bit scared there for a moment. I am just entering the stages of querying, so the whole contract issue seems like a big looming dragon over my head. That’s why we need great agents though. That is the truth. 😀 Thanks and have a great weekend!

' src=

August 17, 2012 at 10:55 am

Very helpful post, Mary. I’m so grateful for your guidance, especially in my denser moments. 🙂 I’m wondering if some examples might help solidify these concepts? Like others, I get confused between how the hook is different from back-cover copy, etc.

' src=

August 17, 2012 at 11:43 am

I would really like to see the example like Sarah Forgrave has asked, for fiction most specifically.

This was a great post and while I think I understand it, it has clarified it more.

Thanks, Mary!

August 17, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Here’s what I have at the moment: “A self-righteous man, an unwed mother and a desperate drought–it will take a miracle to save the town and find forgiveness.”

August 17, 2012 at 12:53 pm

How about this one I saw recently for a romantic suspense novel:

Two snipers arrested. One sniper remains.

You know what the story is about, the central plot, the conflict and tension in six words.

The purpose of the hook in a proposal is to grab the editor’s attention an make him or her want to read more. Back cover copy on the back of your published book is written to market the book to potential readers. It is longer, explains a little more about the characters and story, and often ends with an enticing question about how the story might end. Its intent is to drive browsers to become purchasers.

' src=

August 17, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Great post.

But I will never get my hook this tight. Six words? I thought I was doing good to get it to 30 words. Ouch.

Thanks for laying it out clearly.

November 5, 2013 at 5:06 pm

I like: Two snipers arrested. One sniper remains. Why? 1. The sentences are short, balanced (both three words), and catchy. 2. Both sentences start with a number. 3. The statements beg a question. 4. And as you said, they you quickly grasp what the book is about and they create tension.

' src=

September 10, 2015 at 4:31 pm

I’m the newest of newbies, and your hook example was like deliverance. Lol Thank you…I finally got it! I requested time with you next week, and I really hope I get it. Amazingly helpful!

' src=

August 17, 2012 at 11:15 am

One of the many, many drawbacks of the glacial pace of the industry, is that even after I feel a proposal is “complete” and send it off, I find myself able to refine it: and many moons later, upon finding a courteous decline for representation in my e-box, realize that I would in all likelihood turn down the propsal if I had gotten it the form of the one first offered! 🙂

Not that there have been times with an agent I would have liked where I’ve been tempted to politely reply and thank them for their consideration, with the refined proposal attached…. 😉

August 17, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Larry, if it provides any comfort, you are in good company with many other writers. One way to minimize the potential for this scenario is to step away from your proposal for a week or two before you send it out. When you go back to it with fresh eyes, you’ll more readily notice wording, formatting that can be improved as well as spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors you missed.

It’s worth going through this process more than once until you don’t see more room for improvement.

Having said that, don’t go to extremes and end up in paralysis by analysis.

' src=

August 17, 2012 at 11:33 am

Thank you, Mary. You always give helpful and clear information.

Like Michelle, I have read contradictory statements about what a hook should be. It seems, though, that the goal is to write one or two sentences that not only get at the heart of the story (I’m speaking from a fiction writer’s point of view) and make an agent or editor jump out of the chair and say, “WOW!” That, for me, is the most intimidating part of writing a hook. Thank you for your suggestion to write down sentences and identify strong words connected with the book and its theme. Thank you also for # 3, 4 and 5. I thought that I had to get these in the hook. To intrigue by giving a little less detail seems like an effective approach.

Have a blessed weekend.

August 17, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Christine, I think some of the confusion or apparent contradiction occurs when it isn’t clear whether the advice you read is about the hook on the first page of your book or the hook in your book proposal.

The hook on the first page of your book can be several paragraphs long or a full page. It’s the opening scene that grabs the reader with a surprising statement or question and introduces a main character, making him or her appealing or sympathetic so readers begin to care about what happens and are compelled to turn the page.

Today I am talking about the hook in a book proposal, which is directed to catch an editor’s attention in your 30-second window of opportunity.

November 5, 2013 at 5:19 pm

The middle paragraph is the best description of what a hook should be that I’ve read — and I’ve been reading, reading, and reading the “how to” and first scenes in book after book. For writers looking for examples, here’s my favorite opening paragraph. It’s by Janet Evanovich in One for the Money: There are some men who enter a woman’s life and screw it up forever. Joseph Morelli did this to me–not forever, but periodically.

' src=

August 17, 2012 at 11:42 am

Thank you for such specific pointers, Mary! I’m in my final edit and working on a query now, so I’ll be putting this information to (hopefully) good use. Your point about not making the hook a question was new to me. I had heard that the hook should be a question to get the reader thinking. I can appreciate your response above, though, that a question would be more difficult to write. Thanks for sharing all your wisdom!

August 17, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Meghan, I think my previous response to Christine’s comment will help to provide understanding. Best wishes on your query.

' src=

August 17, 2012 at 11:47 am

Thank you for explaining the summary variations. That should help with the querying process.

August 17, 2012 at 1:44 pm

You’re welcome, Dale.

' src=

August 17, 2012 at 11:50 am

I think I have constructed nothing short of fifty possible hooks for my WIP. The tweaking of words is endless:) Now to decide on the very best one…

August 17, 2012 at 1:56 pm

I hope you enjoy the process, Lisa.

' src=

August 17, 2012 at 11:51 am

Thanks for the tips. They make sense and I’m sure they will be helpful.

Are there any hooks or hook “formulas” that are overused and therefore boring to an agent?

August 17, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Leah, the mistake I see in proposals too often is a hook that is more like a shortened version of the brief description or overview. They don’t have the “Wow, this is unique and interesting” factor.

' src=

August 17, 2012 at 11:55 am

Great tips! Thank you!

August 17, 2012 at 2:03 pm

You’re welcome, Martha.

' src=

August 17, 2012 at 12:00 pm

I kind of enjoy developing a hook and usually brainstorm with my critique buddies until I feel it’s perfect. What I dread is being asked, in person, what my hook is. Not because I can’t remember it or feel wishy-washy about my book, but because I’m conflicted on how to respond. Do I assume my dramatic, movie trailer voice and deliver my punchy but cryptic hook? Do I just tell the person what my book is about in a casual tone? Will I sound like a door-to-door sales person if I recite a memorized spiel? I tend to do whatever comes most naturally in the moment. I know that may not be the advice given at conferences, but as I talk about my writing in more varied settings, from conversations with strangers to presentations at schools, I find the more authenticity from me the better. Still, I always have that fear that when asked, I’ll either come off as Crazy Drama Girl or Flaky Rambler.

August 17, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Evangeline, as you suggested it depends on who your are talking to. Reserve your movie-trailer voice for presentations and speaking engagements. I agree that in casual conversations, authenticity is best. Use your hook paragraphs on the first page of your book as a guide for what to say. And don’t give them the ending. They’ll have to buy the book for that 🙂

' src=

August 17, 2012 at 12:05 pm

I hate hooks – I always end up pricking my fingers and bleeding all over my WIP.

That’s the hook from a story about a writer. Not really. But it should be.

Thanks for the encouragement, Becky

August 17, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Funny, Becky. I hope the tips help. Tip #9: Remove all sharp objects from the area while you work on your hook.

' src=

I spend a great deal of time thinking about the proposal hook. It helps keep me on track with the theme and purpose of the book.

So far I’m having good success with the manuscript I’ve been pitching and querying, resulting in requests for fulls. Just haven’t found the right agent yet.

August 17, 2012 at 2:25 pm

A great habit, Rachel. Thanks for sharing. This is excellent advice for all writers.

' src=

August 17, 2012 at 12:21 pm

I think hooks may be the most difficult thing for an author to write, because it’s asking us to convey in fifteen words what it took us 100,000 words to do in the book!

Randy Ingermanson had a great course on ACFW this summer and he talked about the importance of the hook. He challenged us to use 15 power-packed words, or less, to create one. I wrote my hook and then I started to trim it down, replacing less powerful words for better ones. The result was a hook that he chose as one of the top twenty-one out of hundreds submitted. I’ll share it, and his comments, as an example:

16) Gabrielle Meyer: Historical Fiction: A headstrong bride-to-be arrives in town and finds the groom is missing, but a hundred eager bachelors wait in line to change her mind.

Randy sez: And wouldn’t every girl on the planet want to be this girl? For sure. This has a lot of humor potential. Good job! There’s a strong, strong word right in the middle of this sentence that I really love. Do you see it? Take a look and try to find it before I tell you. It’s that adjective just after “hundred” and just before “bachelors”. See how that massively amps up the story?

August 17, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Well done, Gabrielle. Thanks for sharing your great example.

' src=

August 17, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Your comments, Mary, about good hooks remind me that there is never a second opportunity to make a good first impression. The moment is now. Condensing our thoughts into laser focus is more critical than ever.

August 17, 2012 at 4:43 pm

So true, Ed. And well-stated.

' src=

August 17, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Wondering, is this the same for nonfiction?

August 17, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Yes, Meadow. The tips are adaptable for both fiction and nonfiction.

' src=

August 18, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Very helpful, thank you!

August 18, 2012 at 8:03 pm

It’s almost midnight after a 14 hour road trip. I’m not sure if you’ll see this but I’ll give it a go.

Truth is terrifying, trust is dangerous and escape is impossible. With one last chance at love, will Sarah Monroe survive what it takes to live?

' src=

August 18, 2012 at 8:21 pm

Thanks for the information. One question, should the hook be part of the query as well, or just in the proposal?

' src=

August 20, 2012 at 7:06 am

I recently shared my first chapter with a writers’ group and their responses helped to crystallize the hook for me. It’s hard, as the writer, to look at the story objectively. Even when you’ve spent months working on something else!

But the writers’ group folk all asked me the same question afterwards 🙂

Here’s my hook now: Scott Black lets it slip – he’s famous – but he won’t tell Sun Geary any more than that.

November 5, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Nice hook. It begs the question, what is “it”? I’m also left wondering if the names Black and Sun are intention. And of course the obvious questions, what is he famous for and why won’t he tell her.

' src=

November 10, 2013 at 11:39 am

Your article was really helpful. Thank you so much. But there’s one doubt that has been bugging me for months. Can we use quotes in a hook?

' src=

June 19, 2014 at 7:59 pm

Can I post my hook here and ask anyone to comment? I’m struggling so bad, I don’t know what to do. I don’t feel friends are being objective. Nor are the fans of my other career. I just need a little feedback on my hook.

' src=

June 21, 2015 at 3:18 pm

I am working on my One-Sheet right now. I have completed a very rough draft of it but I don’t feel it’s strong enough. This article was very helpful and I believe you may have just saved a publisher from certain boredom.

' src=

August 15, 2015 at 10:26 am

im almost done writing my autobiography and I’m in the prosence of putting together my press kit and I was hoping that you could send me a example of a one sheet with a very good hook

' src=

September 24, 2015 at 8:28 pm

When should I start searching in google to learn to write a hook? Now before the book is finished or after when the last chapter is done and every chapters been revised and edited? Do you have any websites that can help with this? Thanks!

' src=

April 24, 2016 at 5:22 am

I’m just beginning to blog portions of my book “Out of a Secret Darkness” on my blog. I’m learning how to write along the way. It’s challenging, but the finished book will be worth the effort.

I have revised my book hook using this information. “One child suffers in the world of darkness. God’s saving grace rescues and his love transforms.” I need to shorten it a little more.

Thank You. Linda

' src=

December 15, 2016 at 11:25 am

thanks that worked a lot

' src=

January 4, 2017 at 3:33 am

my story has no major plot , no antagonist or protagonist ! what do i do !

January 27, 2017 at 12:47 pm

First figure out what character has the most at stake in the book, then think about their goals; what is it that they really want? What matters the most to them? then go though each chapter while thinking about this and fix it.

' src=

January 25, 2017 at 9:30 am

The precision of this advice is very helpful. The hardest part is reducing the hook down until it is so tight it hurts.

' src=

January 3, 2018 at 6:37 pm

Hi some agents request a proposal with specific guidelines and no separate query letter! Others ask for a query letter by itself! So I’m thinking the book hook will go in the query letter! Does the same rule apply as far as 1-2 sentence phrase?

' src=

August 30, 2019 at 6:02 am

You are so awesome! I don’t believe I’ve read a single thing like that before. So great to discover someone with unique thoughts on this issue. Really.. thank you for starting this up. This website is one thing that’s needed on the web, someone with a bit of originality!

web analytics

My Speech Class

Public Speaking Tips & Speech Topics

50+ Hook Examples: The Opening Lines That Make Your Essay Successful

Photo of author

Jim Peterson has over 20 years experience on speech writing. He wrote over 300 free speech topic ideas and how-to guides for any kind of public speaking and speech writing assignments at My Speech Class.

The Opening Lines That Make Your Essay Successful intro image

Writing a good paper starts with brainstorming a brilliant hook, which keeps your audience engaged with the text. There are many ways to formulate hooks, which will help your writing sound more original and compelling. Looking at some essay hook examples and tips on writing them is the first step to creating one of your own!

In this article:

What is a Hook?

Tips for creating a great hook, question hook examples, strong statement examples, fact/statistic hook examples, metaphor/simile hook examples, anecdotal hook examples.

A “hook” is a sentence that grabs the reader’s attention and keeps them interested in the outcome of your academic text or research paper. The hook is found in the first sentence or two in the opening paragraph in an academic text and serves both as an introduction and an attention grabber.

In literature, such sentences are often found in novels. A great personal favorite of mine is Christmas Carol’s first sentence: “Marley was dead: to begin with. ” This invites tons of interesting questions and piques your curiosity, making you want to read along.

We come across hook examples in our day-to-day lives, scrolling through YouTube video titles and website links. Clickbait can be considered the hook of the modern world, and there are tons of techniques to learn from it.

However, this article will focus on essay hooks for academic papers specifically. In the section below, we’ll be discussing tips on writing hook sentences and engaging your reader’s interest through a single opening sentence.

There are different types of hook sentences in an essay introduction. We’ll take a look at each type, and a few tips, so later on, you can start formulating your own essay hooks based on these few examples.

Can We Write Your Speech?

Get your audience blown away with help from a professional speechwriter. Free proofreading and copy-editing included.

  • Question Hook: If you’re writing an art essay, philosophy paper, or business coursework, choosing a compelling and interesting question will leave the readers pondering throughout your text. The reader will automatically try to look for the answer within your research paper.
  • Strong Statement: The opening lines can be controversial, a bold claim – the best hooks for argumentative essays are. This method can shock your audience, and they’ll be curious to learn how you defend your argument.
  • Fact/Statistic Hook: These hook examples are used for scientific and academic assignments, allowing you to use a lesser-known fact or statistic which will grab the reader’s attention.
  • Metaphor/Simile Hook: You can set up a scene by telling a short story for your readers to imagine before getting to your essay’s core. This metaphor hook can be highly compelling and relatable to your audience.
  • Anecdotal Hook: The trickiest essay hook used to diffuse the tension surrounding a heavy topic. This tricky opening line should be carefully thought out and guaranteed to make the reader laugh and only used in the right circumstances.

If you’re using the fact/statistic hook, always make sure you quote a credible source. The same goes for the interesting facts hook type. Include those sources in the body of your essay.

It also helps to think of a hook you came across recently that made an impression on you. Was it a controversial blog post? A captivating personal story? A thesis statement that made you ponder?

Once you finish reading our article, it’s helpful to test your hook and introductory paragraph out to an audience. Have another student, tutor, or parent read it. See if it’s doing its purpose – is the reader engaged? What did they understand from your hook? Is the essay topic clear?

Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get it right the first time. Writing is a long process and requires a lot of rewriting. Take a small break and give it another go.

How to Write a Great Hook + Examples

There are two crucial points to follow when you write a hook:

  • Keep your sentences short – don’t overstuff your sentences or let them run longer than two rows.
  • Use simple, comprehensive language – the ultimate essay can be read and understood by anyone, even people outside your academic course.

It’s time to get to the examples!

  • What if I told you the world has an unlimited energy resource?
  • How much screen time is too much for elementary school children?
  • Is online education the best way to learn in the middle of a pandemic?
  • Did you know women are twice as likely to experience clinical depression than men?
  • Are your evening habits keeping you from getting a good night’s sleep?
  • Do jobs that require degrees have a higher earning potential?
  • How important is it for YouTubers to use search engine optimization strategies?
  • Will the consumption of meat products become a luxury in the year 2050?
  • Has reading become more challenging due to our short attention span?
  • Have you ever wondered why traffic builds up on no-stop roads?
  • Why we should feel sorry for high achievers?
  • Why you don’t need to be exceptional?
  • How much sugar do you think you consume?
  • The effects of global warming are irreversible, so what can we do to optimize our living now?
  • Should fireworks be banned due to noise pollution and its effect on animals?
  • Has television died in place for streaming services?
  • Is our hatred of certain foods and flavors a direct result of our genetic heritage?
  • Android app development will die out in the next twenty years.
  • You’ll always marry the wrong person.
  • Why is ordinary life not good enough anymore?
  • Why are romantics ruining love?
  • “The wicked tend to win” Machiavelli
  • The hardest person in the world to break up with.
  • Some imaginary friends can cultivate independence in a child.
  • Did you know that space smells like seared steak?
  • The human body houses 10 times more bacteria than it does cells.
  • The longest war in the world is between the Netherlands and Sicily and here’s what happened.
  • “A country that demands moral perfection in its foreign policy will achieve neither perfection nor security” H. Kissinger
  • Cat purring can be beneficial to your health.
  • There is a scientific explanation behind boredom.
  • The average drunk driver drives under the influence more than 80 times before they get arrested for the first time.
  • 1/3 of adults still sleep with a comfort toy in bed.
  • The average American generates nearly 4.5 pounds of trash each day.
  • The global rate for keeping good hygiene after using the toilet is 20%.
  • Americans read for pleasure for less than 10 minutes every day.
  • The average American eats around 13 pounds of ice cream each year.
  • More than 1/2 million people experience homelessness each night.
  • Approximately 90% of people who experience a cardiac arrest outside of hospitals die.
  • Farmers and ranchers make up less than 2% of Americans.
  • Approximately half of Americans will experience a mental illness during their lifetime.
  • My cousin Joanna went to a party with red lipstick all over her teeth. I couldn’t help myself to tell her.
  • I dressed up as a werewolf last Halloween. That’s when everything started.
  • As a child my grandfather gave my grandma her favorite flower- a rose on every holiday. Does this kind of love still exist?
  • Last year my parents dragged me to Paris six times. I had the most dreadful time – I just couldn’t understand how such a historic city can be so dirty, or why.
  • The cause and effect example – when talking about the importance of safety, tell a story with an important moral.
  • Imagine sitting by the fire with the love of your life…
  • I have a four-year old baby – my publishing business I started in 2018.
  • The picture of… brought back memories of…
  • It’s difficult to talk about… because…
  • If you were a famous person, would you…
  • When I was 6, I was given a pet hamster for Christmas. Needless to say, little Zach is gone now, but I wonder how long he could have lived if I had been given it at 12?
  • One reason I decided to switch to a healthy diet is… well it’s cheaper than buying a whole new set of clothes!
  • I like talking to myself. Sometimes I have these seemingly clever and long conversations. I hardly have a clue what I’m talking about.

Mastering the hook sentence is something you might end up using in your day-to-day life, especially if you go into academia, publishing, or journalism as a career choice. But that’s not it – we use hooks to communicate on social media. The title of our blog post or recent youtube video are examples of well-formulated hooks. The quicker you start practicing them the easier they’ll become to use.

If you’re having any other academic trouble, like coming up with essay topics , or you want to learn the outlines of the different essay types, we can help you with that! You’ll become an essay writing pro in no time! We’ve got some good and interesting research paper topics we’re proud of, as well as demonstration speech topics ! Hook sentence examples are just the start!

We hope this article has helped you master the art of essay writing, and you now find the reader agrees with your point of view! Let us know of any good hook examples you came up with!

How to Create a Compelling Rhetorical Analysis Essay Outline

Write a Gripping Personal Narrative Essay Using Our Cheat Guide

Leave a Comment

I accept the Privacy Policy

Most Popular

11 days ago

How to Write a Position Paper

10 days ago

How to Write a Hypothesis

How to write an informative essay, how to do footnotes, how to write a hook.

Lesley J. Vos

When writing a good essay, you want to capture the reader’s attention from the very first sentence to keep them focused throughout the following text. The ‘hook’ of an essay is that opening sentence – the first impression that sets the tone for the rest of your writing. It’s the bait you use to catch your readers, urging them to continue going deeper into the text. And since it is kind of an art form, you need a certain knowledge to craft perfect hooks. In the guide below we will give all the necessary details on how to make a good hook, so you better don’t skip on reading this article the whole way through.

Hooks for Essays: What Are Those?

An essay hook is essentially the first one or two sentences of your essay. Sometimes though (if it is relevant to your writing) it can even take the space of the whole first paragraph. Its main purpose is to intrigue your audience and pique their interest, compelling them to continue reading.  If you are wondering why you need a well-crafted hook here are just a few reasons off the top of our heads:

  • To draw in the readers 
  • To seamlessly connect to the broader theme or argument of your essay. Depending on the type of essay you are writing, your hook can be in the form of a question, a surprising statistic or fact, an anecdote, a quote, or even a vivid description.
  • To set the tone for the rest of your writing

See, you don’t write your text just for yourself – you are doing it for your audience, whoever that might be. That’s why you need to make your reader want to stick out till the end of the text, and do that from the very beginning.

Top Hook Sentence Starters: Types and Examples

If you ask different writers, some of them might say that a rhetorical question makes a good hook, or that adding a quote is a much better way to start your writing. The thing is, all of these statements are true. There are several ways to create good hooks for argumentative essays. Choosing the one for you will depend on the audience, your writing style, and the topic of your text.

You may have seen that a lot of texts (not just essays, for that matter) start with some kind of quote, either from a book, article, a famous person, or even the writer’s relative or friend.  The reason behind this is that it is rather a simple way to intrigue the reader from the very beginning.

Quotes are compact and mostly widely recognizable, and they present the main idea of your text right away. To find a fitting quote, you can explore classic literature, speeches by influential figures, research articles, or even poetry. The key is to select a quote that aligns with the essay’s subject and contributes meaningfully to the argument or narrative being constructed. 

How to Write a Hook

❓Rhetorical Question

A rhetorical question is a query that’s posed for its persuasive effect rather than a direct answer. By asking a question, you directly engage the reader, prompting them to consider their own stance or feelings regarding the topic at hand, thus creating a deeper personal connection between them and the text they read.

Essays that stand to benefit most from a rhetorical question as a hook are those that aim to explore moral dilemmas, provoke critical thinking, or challenge conventional beliefs. This type of hook is ideally suited for audiences who enjoy intellectual engagement and are prepared to contemplate complex issues. A well-built rhetorical question should be open-ended, avoiding simple yes or no answers, and should ideally lead seamlessly into the argument or thesis of your essay.

How to Write a Hook


Integrating a fact or statistic into your essay’s opening can instantly ground your reader in the reality of your topic. It offers them a tangible piece of evidence that vividly shows the importance of the issue you present. This type of hook is particularly effective in persuasive or argumentative essays where empirical evidence can support your stance right away. A compelling fact or statistic surprises (or shocks) the reader as well as provides a solid foundation for the arguments that follow. This makes it easier for your audience to appreciate the significance of your essay.

How to Write a Hook

Anecdotes are brief, engaging stories showcasing a slice of life. This can help reveal the essay’s theme, making the topic relatable and memorable to the audience. An anecdote hook works exceptionally well in narrative and college application essays, or pieces designed to evoke an emotional response or deeper understanding of a universal human experience.

To make your anecdote work as a hook, you can use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method. Using this approach, you structure your story by first setting the scene (Situation), then describing the purpose (Task), detailing what was done (Action), and, finally, revealing the outcome (Result).

How to Write a Hook

🧐Common misconception

Starting with a common misconception is a dynamic way of engaging with the audience. With such a hook you can challenge their beliefs and assumptions. Using a widely held but incorrect belief, you immediately create a narrative tension that compels the reader to continue, eager to uncover the truth. This method is particularly effective in essays that aim to debunk myths, promote critical thinking, or introduce lesser-known facts about popular topics.

How to Write a Hook


Descriptions are mostly used to transport the audience into the discussed scene or subject matter This technique involves painting a detailed picture with words and using sensory descriptions to evoke the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures relevant to your essay’s topic. Description hooks are particularly effective in narrative essays, descriptive pieces, travel writing, and essays aiming to evoke a strong sense of place or atmosphere.

How to Write a Hook

Jokes tend to lighten the mood especially if the topic lends itself to a humorous approach. Therefore, using it as your opening statement can spark joy or amusement in your readers, making them want to stay for a heartwarming story. This type of hook is mostly used to set a friendly and approachable tone for the piece. Note though, that your joke needs to balance humor with the serious intentions of the essay, providing an inviting entry point without undermining the piece’s overall message or purpose.

How to Write a Hook

Key Steps & Tips on How to Write a Hook

Now, you know what a hook is and what types of opening sentences there can be. Overall, this knowledge is enough for you to understand how to start your essay in an attention-grabbing manner. However, we have a few notes on how you can build your writing process specifically to create a compelling hook:

  • Understand Your Audience : Tailor your hook to the interests and expectations of your readers. Consider the style and level of formality that will work for your audience.
  • Define the Tone of Your Essay : The overall tone of your essay is important, and the first sentence or two should also be written in the same style. Whether it’s serious, humorous, or somewhere in between, stick to the initial way of writing.
  • Make it Relevant : Your first sentence needs to be relevant to your essay’s main theme or argument. After all, you don’t want to confuse your reader.
  • Keep it Concise : As a hook is just an opening statement, it should be brief and impactful, setting the stage without overwhelming the audience.
  • Experiment : Don’t be afraid to try different types of hooks to see what works best for your essay. After all, all texts are different.

We have also a few extra tips on how to make your first couple of sentences more authentic and gripping. For example, you can use sensory details to add depth and imagery to your words. It especially works for description hooks. Be careful with cliches and popular phrases though. Besides, don’t give away too much information in your hook – leave your readers wanting more.  Have fun with it, play around with words, and maybe add puns. Writing a hook can be a creative and exciting process, so embrace it.

What Makes The Good Hooks for Essays

What fundamentally distinguishes a compelling hook from a bland one is its ability to instantly grasp the reader’s attention and seamlessly connect them to the core theme of the writing. In essence, a good hook is the one that is a) relevant and b) intriguing. And what should influence your choice of the right hook is the initial intent of the writing. Understand the purpose behind your work— to inform, persuade, entertain, or provoke thought— and you will certainly make the right choice for your first few sentences.

Sometimes though, even the most creative of writers can’t come up with a great starter on the spot. If this is your case, don’t fixate on the situation. Continue writing your essay and after it’s done come back to the introduction. This way you will already have an idea of how your essay looks like and the key points it discusses, so it will be much easier for you to pick an opening line for your writing. 

It is also a good idea to reflect on the emotions or reactions you want to evoke in your readers. This will help you choose a quote or an anecdote that will adequately convey those exact feelings. And don’t tie yourself to the conventional ways of building hooks. You can always try and come up with something unique, that will fit best for your essay specifically. Experimentation, paired with a deep understanding of your intended audience and the core message of your piece, often leads to discovering that perfect starting point for your writing.

Creating a perfect hook is all about building an immediate, meaningful connection with your audience. The key lies in understanding who your readers are and what resonates with them, then carefully selecting and writing down an opening that aligns with the overall tone and theme of your essay. It doesn’t really matter whether you use a poignant quote, a compelling question, or an intriguing statistic. The right hook can transform the ordinary into the extraordinary, turning passive readers into active participants in the narrative you’re building.

What is a good hook sentence?

A good hook sentence grabs the reader’s attention, making them eager to continue reading. It can be a question, a quote, a startling fact, or any statement that provokes curiosity or emotion. 

How do you write an effective hook?

To be able to write an effective hook, you need to know your audience, choose a hook that matches the tone of your essay, make it relevant to your topic, and make it concise and impactful. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of essay starters until you find the one that works best for your text. 

What is a catchy hook for an essay?

A catchy hook is one that is memorable and engaging, often through humor, a shocking fact, or a thought-provoking question. So, be creative and think outside the box when crafting the first sentences of your essay. They will set the tone for your further writing. 

How do you grab readers attention in an introduction?

The main trick to grabbing readers’ attention in an introduction is using a relevant hook sentence, that will be intriguing, and tailored to the audience’s interests or emotions. It should also connect to the main theme or argument of your essay.  So, make sure you put effort into building a strong and effective starter for your essay. Because those first few sentences will determine whether your writing will be set out for success or not.

Follow us on Reddit for more insights and updates.

Comments (0)

Welcome to A*Help comments!

We’re all about debate and discussion at A*Help.

We value the diverse opinions of users, so you may find points of view that you don’t agree with. And that’s cool. However, there are certain things we’re not OK with: attempts to manipulate our data in any way, for example, or the posting of discriminative, offensive, hateful, or disparaging material.

Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

More from How to Write an Academic Assignment

How To Do Footnotes

12 min read

How to Write a Hypothesis

Remember Me

Is English your native language ? Yes No

What is your profession ? Student Teacher Writer Other

Forgotten Password?

Username or Email


  1. Hooks for Essays Guide

    how to write a good hook for a book review

  2. How to Write a Hook for a Book: 10 Steps (with Pictures)

    how to write a good hook for a book review

  3. How to Write a Hook for a Book: 10 Steps (with Pictures)

    how to write a good hook for a book review

  4. 73 Essay Hook Examples (2024)

    how to write a good hook for a book review

  5. How to Write a Hook for a Book: 10 Steps (with Pictures)

    how to write a good hook for a book review

  6. How to Write a Hook for a Book: 10 Steps (with Pictures)

    how to write a good hook for a book review


  1. How to write the perfect opening hook to your novel

  2. ✨WRITING A HOOK?✨🪝🤷‍♂️📚✍️

  3. Hook your reader #creativewriting #writing

  4. Hook your reader 16-2 #creativewriting #writing

  5. How To Write An Amazon Book Review

  6. Hook your reader 1-5 #shorts #creativewriting #writing #writinglife


  1. Book Hook: 48 Examples of Irresistible Elevator Pitches

    2. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey. "In the Fall of 1963, a Korean War veteran and criminal pleads insanity and is admitted to a mental institution, where he rallies up the scared patients against the tyrannical nurse." (IMDb) 3. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.

  2. How to write a book review: format guide, & examples

    Step 1: Planning Your Book Review - The Art of Getting Started. You've decided to take the plunge and share your thoughts on a book that has captivated (or perhaps disappointed) you. Before you start book reviewing, let's take a step back and plan your approach.

  3. How to Write a Hook: 10 Ways to Capture Your Readers' Attention

    Writing a compelling hook takes skill. But you can use any of the following ways of writing a hook to get you started: 1. The Surprising Statistic Hook. Presenting a surprising fact or statistic is a great way to grab the attention of your audience. For example, an essay on the orphan crisis may begin with:

  4. How to Write a Good Book Review

    As you write the review, keep it vague. For example, explain that there is a major plot twist but don't go into the specifics. 7. Be transparent. Always share if you received an incentive to review the book, got an advance copy, or have any connection to the author. Your readers will appreciate your honesty.

  5. 60 Examples of Hooks for Books

    Historical Fiction Hooks. Bronze Drum, by Phong Nguyen: "During the Bronze Age in ancient Vietnam, when a wicked new Han governor imposes strict laws on the Viet people, a Lord by the name of Trưng speaks out against the oppressive new rules and is subsequently beheaded.But his two daughters, Trưng Trắc and Trưng Nhị, in an act of revenge and patriotism, train an army of women who rise ...

  6. 17 Book Review Examples to Help You Write the Perfect Review

    It is a fantasy, but the book draws inspiration from the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Rape of Nanking. Crime Fiction Lover reviews Jessica Barry's Freefall, a crime novel: In some crime novels, the wrongdoing hits you between the eyes from page one. With others it's a more subtle process, and that's OK too.

  7. Tips for Writing a Book Review

    First, how to make a reader stop scrolling and read your entire review. Second, in cases of positive reviews, how to convince them to pick up the book. Don't wait until the middle of your review to try to catch the reader's attention. Try to hook them from the very first sentence. Think about what made you pick the book up, and use that to ...

  8. 7 Tips for Writing an Attention-Grabbing Hook

    7 Tips for Writing an Attention-Grabbing Hook. How do you get a reader interested in what you have to say? One technique is to use a great hook—an opening so exciting that it convinces a reader that your story is worth reading. How do you get a reader interested in what you have to say? One technique is to use a great hook—an opening so ...

  9. How to Write a Hook for a Book

    Most hooks for a book are written in the present tense, rather than the past tense, to make the hook feel more active to the reader. You should try to always use the present tense to describe the action in the book. 3. Address the main plot. Your hook should also include the main plot or the issue at stake in the story.

  10. Pitch Perfect: How to Craft Your Book's Hook

    Simplicity. You don't need to recite a paragraph-long pitch to an editor. You don't need to wow them with every nuance of the conflict between your hero and heroine. That comes later. What you want to do first is get them interested in you and your book's premise. Guest column by Angie Fox, New York Times bestselling author of the ...

  11. How to Write a Good Hook: A Step-by-Step Guide

    Research Papers: Setting the Stage with Your Hook. Writing a great hook for a research paper is like laying down the first piece of a puzzle; it sets the stage for everything that follows. Unlike essays that might start with a bold claim or a provocative question, research papers require a hook that establishes both relevance and curiosity.

  12. 8 Story Hook Examples (How to Grab Attention)

    Ways to write hooks: 1. Build urgency. A girl running for her life; a dead body lying in a swamp; a crowd gathering to point into the sky. Each of these actions or images create a kind of urgency that hooks a reader into the story. The reader wants to know why a girl is running for her life.

  13. How to Write a Hook: Top 5 Tips for Writers

    Tip 5: Don't Stop at the Hook. Some writers focus so much on nailing the opening hook that they forget to make the rest of the essay equally strong. Your reader could still stop reading on the second page, or the third, or the tenth. Make sure you use strong and engaging writing throughout the piece.

  14. How to Write a Book Review: 16 Easy Steps

    Step 4: Include Basic Information. Before you go on to the rest of the review, determine if there are any pieces of information the intended audience of the book needs to know. For example, they need to know if the book is part of a series. Let them know if they should read previous books before opening this one.

  15. How to Write a Book Review: The Ultimate Guide

    The real value of crafting a well-written book review for a student does not lie in their ability to impact book sales. Understanding how to produce a well-written book review helps students to: Engage critically with a text. Critically evaluate a text. Respond personally to a range of different writing genres.

  16. A Hook for Every Book

    A hook can make your good book a great one by building elements into your theme that are meaningful to you and you alone, but appealing to readers interested in your topic. Effective hooks: Bring something new to the table. Go beyond the theme of the memoir. Can be summed up in a sentence or two.

  17. How to write a compelling book hook

    Gain insight into writing a strong book hook or tagline. Table of Contents. Understanding the Role of a Book Hook. Characteristics of Effective Hooks. 7 Practical Tips for Crafting Your Book Hook. Takeaway. Understanding the Role of a Book Hook . A book hook (aka a tagline or elevator pitch) plays an important role in your marketing efforts. As ...

  18. Hook Readers on Your Book: 8 Tips with Examples

    Those first few words hook an audience and showcase an author's writing style. Every piece of writing needs an opening. The key is to make it a gripping one. How to write a good hook may seem daunting at first, but there are some tried-and-true techniques to apply to those opening sentences to craft a great hook that can grab readers ...

  19. Story Hook Examples: The Best Way to Get Readers to Read

    The manner in which you craft the narrative hook will depend on several factors, not the least of which is genre. And there's more than one way to grab the reader's attention. Tip 1: Present High Stakes. You may have noticed that the first three narrative hook examples shared above have to do with death.

  20. 8 Tips for Writing a Powerful Hook for Your Book Proposal

    Use colorful nouns; eliminate adjectives. Questions are for back cover copy, not the hook. Unlike the synopsis, do not reveal the ending of your novel in the hook. One way to start writing your hook is to jot down some sentences about the main plot or topic of your book and the main characters (fiction) or people and ideas (nonfiction). Search ...

  21. 50+ Catchy Hook Examples for a Compelling Reading Experience

    Metaphor/Simile Hook: You can set up a scene by telling a short story for your readers to imagine before getting to your essay's core. This metaphor hook can be highly compelling and relatable to your audience. Anecdotal Hook: The trickiest essay hook used to diffuse the tension surrounding a heavy topic.

  22. How to Write a Hook: Good Hooks & Essay Starters

    Understand Your Audience: Tailor your hook to the interests and expectations of your readers. Consider the style and level of formality that will work for your audience. Define the Tone of Your Essay: The overall tone of your essay is important, and the first sentence or two should also be written in the same style.

  23. Arzum (Turkey)'s review of Get a Life, Chloe Brown

    Get a Life, Chloe Brown (The Brown Sisters, #1) by. Talia Hibbert (Goodreads Author) Arzum 's review. May 12, 2024. really liked it. chloe and red deserves the whole wide world. the third act didn't feel like it was necessary and the writing felt weird at times but I ended up loving these two more than I thought I would. Like ∙ flag.