I often see people commenting on their rating scale. A 5-star means I really loved it, a 4-star means I really liked it, etc. They will mention what the scale means but now how they come to that conclusion.
Some people say they rarely give out 5s because a book has to be perfect to get that. Or people talk about being critical when they read, considering all sorts of things like writing style, characters development, etc. I remember seeing a booktube video years ago where the booktuber (I honestly can’t remember who it was) said he doesn’t trust your reviews if you don’t give out a lot of 1s and 2s. If your Goodreads is full of 4s and 5s, he finds you untrustworthy.
I have to wonder why.
I read for fun, and as such, I only read books that I think I’ll like. I read a lot about books on Goodreads, I see what people who I think I have similar taste to think. So chances are, I at least like every book I read if I don’t love it. Not only that, if I’m not enjoying a book, I probably won’t finish it. I have finished books I wasn’t enjoying, but for the most part, I put them down and don’t even rate them, so I rarely give out a 1- or a 2-star rating.
When I rate a book, I rate it based on nothing else other than how much I enjoyed reading it. I don’t stop myself to ask questions like, Did I like the writing style? Did I think there was good character development? Did it contain tropes I hate? These questions naturally work their way in. If the writing sucks or I’m tired of a certain trope, it will naturally hinder my enjoyment and will get a lower rating.
That said, here’s a rough outline of how I rate:
1-star: I don’t give out a lot of 1-star ratings. If I give a book 1 star, I either didn’t finish it (but got more than 75% of the way through, otherwise I probably wouldn’t rate it), read it for school, or it was so popular, I wanted to finish just to say I did.
2-stars: It had some redeeming qualities and some good parts, but overall I really didn’t like it. It didn’t do much for me, and the bad outweighed the good.
3-stars: I enjoyed it. I had a good time reading it, but it’s not a book that will stick with me. It had some good, some bad. I likely won’t be thinking much about this book now that I’m done. If it’s in a series, I’ll probably pick up the next one, but it won’t be one I dive for.
4-stars: I really liked it! This is a book I might read again. It’s a book I read pretty quickly and probably thought about after I finished it. But I had too many problems with it to give it 5-stars.
5-stars: I loved every second of it. If there was anything I didn’t like, it was far outweighed by all the stuff I did like. I’ve probably thought about this book a lot since I finished it, and I would definitely reread it.
Half stars are ones I couldn’t make my mind up about! They were somewhere in between. Of course, there are books that have the same rating where I like one more than the other. With only 8 options (because I don’t give out half or 1.5 stars), you just can’t fit everything!