How I Rate Books

Rating books has been a common discussion in the book world lately, so I thought I’d throw in my two cents.  I think it’s helpful to have an understanding how others rate books, so I can take that into consideration when listening to recommendations. For example, a 3 star rating for me – meaning I liked it, but it wasn’t amazing – may be different than a 3 star rating for you – you hated it.

To start, I rate books mostly on a “gut feeling” immediately upon finishing. On rare occasion, I will change a rating, but most of the time, will stick with my initial thought. Actually, this just happened to me recently with An Untamed Stateby Roxane Gay – initially rated it 3 stars, then 3.5, and then finally 4 stars.  I just couldn’t stop thinking about the book DAYS later, so ultimately had to increase my rating.

Beneath each rating, I am putting examples of some books I read throughout 2014 that fall into each category.  I tried to choose from a wide variety of genres, to illustrate the point that I try to rate each book individually, and rate it on what it’s trying to accomplish.  In my opinion, comparing books across genres just doesn’t work , as it’s not apples to apples.  Obviously The Color Purpleisn’t trying to accomplish the same thing as Fangirl, and comparing them to each other just doesn’t make sense in my mind – yet both were easily 5 star books for me, for different reasons.

Here we go…

5 stars – LOVED IT!  I don’t hand out 5 star ratings very often, and just because I rate something 5 stars, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily one of my favorite books of all time.  It also doesn’t mean this is a perfect book with absolutely nothing wrong with it, but MOST everything is right.  This is a knock out book for me, that I would recommend across the board.

The Color Purple     Fangirl     The Glass Castle     Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3)     Night Film


4 stars – Really (really) liked it. The positives definitely outweigh the negatives, but maybe a few more things here and there that bothered me, but not enough to detract from my complete and utter enjoyment.  I would be likely to recommend this book to almost everyone.

Everything I Never Told You     Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles, #2)     Burial Rites     Ready Player One     Rebecca


3 stars – Liked it, but it didn’t blow me away. A 3 star rating – for me – isn’t a bad rating at all.  It means I liked it just fine, but there wasn’t anything spectacular about it.  Usually it has several positives and several negatives fairly evenly distributed, and I would likely recommend this book, although maybe not to everyone.  If I read a book in a series that was awarded 3 stars, I would likely continue on with the series, but not necessarily right away or as a top priority. 3 and 4 star ratings are what I give most often.

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore    Vampire Academy Volume 1     The Light Between Oceans     Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)     The Bronze Horseman (The Bronze Horseman, #1)


2 stars – Not very good, but had something redeeming about it.  This is the rating I give a book that I didn’t really like very much, but didn’t outright hate. Usually I can come up with something that was okay about it, but still wouldn’t be likely to recommend it. (I know, gasp, The GoldfinchI actually still continue to recommend it, despite my personal thoughts, because I know so many others love it… so there are exceptions, people!)

Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned"     Boy, Snow, Bird     Looking for Alaska     The Burgess Boys     The Goldfinch


1 star – Did not like it at all.  This is a book I had a lot of trouble getting through, for whatever reason, and one I wouldn’t recommend really to anyone.  I have to pretty strongly dislike a book and find zero redeeming qualities to give a 1 star rating.  On the rare occasion I cannot bring myself to finish a book, I will often just leave it unrated, UNLESS it’s so infinitely terrible, in which case I will give it a 1 star rating – i.e. see below with Tweak… so incredibly terrible.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower     Tweak: Growing Up On Methamphetamines     Fracture Me (Shatter Me, #2.5)


Some final words on 1/2 star ratings… I get annoyed with myself when I utilize a 1/2 star, but what can a gal do… it basically means I’m paralyzed by indecision, and just have to fall down the middle.


What are your thoughts on the whole rating books thing?

8 thoughts on “How I Rate Books

  1. My rating is very similiar to yours but it takes me a lot of time to actually decide how many stars a book is worthy of. I tend to let a few days pass and then give a final rating because I’m usually so overwhelmed with all the feelings and thoughts about a book that I can’t make up my mind. If it’s a book I want to do a review of, my final rating will come up when I’m writing it.
    I think I will do a post on this. It is really interesting! 🙂


    1. Thanks for commenting! I’m always afraid if I wait too long, I’ll forget, so I just go from the gut! Sometimes I find looking back, I’d give it a different rating, but usually just let it ride… Can’t wait to see your post on this as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I struggle with working out how to rate a book, so I loved your post. I’ll be using this as my guide from now on. And I’m looking forward to you joining in with Six Degrees of Separation – it’s a lot of fun!


    1. Thanks for checking out my blog, and commenting! I’ve spent way too much time thinking about how I rate books, so I’m glad people are finding it interesting, and worth talking about! I’m trying to make the round on other blogs who participate in Six Degrees to see what it’s all about, but it looks like so much fun! What do I do if I haven’t read the original/starting book…?


      1. I often haven’t read the start book, but there always seems to be a way to connect it, whether it’s the subject matter, or another book you haven’t read but would like to (or have resisted), or with the same word in the title, or that had similar reviews, or had a movie made of it – the options are endless really, because it’s whatever connection you want to make.


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