How I Rate Books

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!


4 thoughts on “How I Rate Books

  1. I have no idea why giving out 4s and 5s would make you untrustworthy. In fact, I find that ridiculous. (Sorry, booktuber I don’t know!) I actually tend to go the other way. Giving out some 1s and 2s is fine. But if you give out TONS (I’m looking at the same 4 people who are the top rated reviewer on every YA book on Goodreads and ALWAYS give it 1 or 2 stars), then I’m going to start to suspect you’re terrible at picking books that match your own taste.

    Sometimes I think a book is right up my alley and I’m going to love it…and then don’t. It will get two stars. But often two star books are ones outside of what I normally read and like that I thought I would “give a chance” and then, unsurprisingly really, did not love. I think consistently rating books high is just a good sign that you know what you like to read and you read it. If you read only historical fiction and it give it all 1 star…maybe give some serious thought about whether you actually like historical fiction as a genre in the first place.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha. You’ve basically just said all my thoughts! I totally feel the same. I know what I like, and I’m good at telling if a book will be something I like. That’s why pretty much everything I read/rate gets 3 or 4 stars. I try to save 5s for what’s really special!


  2. I agree! I give out a lot of positive reviews because I generally only pick up books I think I would like. Sometimes I get it wrong but why would I waste my time reading a book I know I won’t like (apart from 50 Shades of Grey because I had to know what the fuss was about) when there are so many books out there to read?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will occasionally read books I’m unsure about just because if there’s hype, I feel like there has to be for a reason. But totally agree! I’m usually pretty good at knowing what books I’ll enjoy from the description and reviews and such. So, to me, the fact that I give mostly positive reviews just shows I know my own taste!

      Liked by 1 person

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