The eternal struggle of rating books

In March I’ll have been running this blog for 4 years. That’s so crazy to me! It doesn’t feel like it’s been that long, but I guess it has. I started this blog shortly after I graduated from college and before I was working full-time or had completed my Master’s. Apparently that was 4 years ago! Over that amount of time, I feel like my ratings have become more consistent. Early on, I definitely gave more five star ratings than I do currently. This is basically a short rundown of how I rate books these days.

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Firstly, if it was just up to me, I would probably give half-star ratings (and I do occasionally). But since Goodreads doesn’t allow half-star ratings, I try not to do that unless I have to. I want my ratings on here to match the stars I give a book on Goodreads.

One Star

I rarely give out one star ratings. That’s just because if I dislike a book enough to give it one star, I’ve probably DNFed it and I don’t give ratings to books I DNF. Here’s a link to my post about why I DNF books.

Two Stars

I finished it, but I didn’t like it. I didn’t absolutely HATE it, but I wouldn’t generally recommend it.

Recent(ish) two stars: S.T.A.G.S. by M.A. Bennett, Hello, Sunshine by Leila Howard, Coming Up for Air by Miranda Kenneally

Three Stars

This book was okay. Pretty good even. I didn’t hate it, but there’s still room for improvement in my opinion. Maybe the writing wasn’t great, the characters were a little annoying, the world wasn’t convincing, or the plot was lacking. It’s not something that I would necessarily recommend, but it was fine.

Recent three stars: The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi, Love á la Mode by Stephanie Kate Strohm, The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Four Stars

I liked this book a lot and would highly recommend it! Maybe there were a couple little things that didn’t make sense or jive with me, but I’m willing to overlook them!

Recent four stars: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard, Sadie by Courtney Summers, The Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson

Five Stars

As I said earlier, I have definitely become more selective with my five star reviews. At this point, a five star comes when I absolutely LOVE a book. If I finish it, close the cover, and then hug the book (or my Kindle) to my chest (possibly holding back tears, but that’s optional), it’s a five star book.

Recent(ish) five stars: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, Bone Gap by Laura Ruby, Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

How do you rate books? Do you find you’re freer or more stingy when handing out five star ratings? Do you ever one star books or do you just DNF? Do you do partial star ratings?

17 thoughts on “The eternal struggle of rating books

  1. The same thing happens to me, I feel that as time passes I’m more stricter in terms of my ratings, now I almost don’t give 5 stars, unless I fall in love with the book, you know? But I feel more just at the same time. Before I gave 5 stars to everything lol , I was very generous 😂💕

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I try to follow what you have listed out for each of your star ratings. It may not always resemble those guidelines because sometimes books I don’t like are still really well written or books I love have some flaws but evoke certain feelings. Rating is so hard.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is! And especially since I really do try to keep myself to whole star ratings. Maybe it would be easier if I tried rating separate components and then came up with an overall rating from that? But that also seems like a lot of work.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. For me, a book generally starts out at around a 3-star rating which, similarly to you, means that it was essentially just “ok.” That rating goes up or down, depending upon various factors which lead me to enjoy it more or less. I am also a half-star rater. A book I rate 3.5 could mean “I really wanted to like this, so I’m being a little more generous” or it could mean “it was almost a 4, but it doesn’t totally deserve a 4…but it’s a little more than a 3.” On the upper side of that, it generally reflects my optimism for a future installment 🙂

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  4. I feel like I’m giving out to many three stars which is same for me- just an average read neither good or bad but I guess that’s the nature of things. Definitely less five stars than usual sadly 😉 It’s always nice to see other people’s thoughts on this as some times I can drive myself crazy trying to stick a definitive rating on a book!

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  5. It is really hard to decide how to rate books and everyone seems to have different criteria on which books deserve which number of stars. Me personally I rarely give out 4-5 stars–but I also don’t give out 1-2 star books very often. Most of my reviews are 3 stars. I usually use it on a scale of how likely am I to read it again. If I’m likely then I usually give it more than 3 stars.

    I do wish Goodreads would let us do out of 10 or half stars because it is a little more precise and a little more universal.

    Liked by 1 person

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