Rating Books: I Am Terrible At It

I am a glutton when it comes to books. I can never get enough. And I love reviewing the books I read since I get to tell everyone my thoughts on a story that I either loved, liked, or hated. But what I do not love is actually rating the books I read.

Ratings are, obviously, a representation of how much a person likes a book. One star normally being the worst rating and five stars normally being the best. Other bloggers may have different ways of rating books (I have seen some blogs with 1-10 rating systems), but this system is the most used.

star rating scale

Why I Don’t Like Rating Books:

There are many reasons why I don’t like rating books, but here are the main ones:

  • A book’s rating will never truly represent what I thought of it. It’s true. I might give a book a high rating just because it is entertaining, no matter how many flaws it has. So if someone just looked at the book’s highest rating they will probably get the wrong idea. And that kind of upsets me. So this causes me to spend a looong time pondering what rating the book deserves.
  • A rating of a book is sometimes based on my mood. If I was angry and just read a book that was pure fluff and no substance to make me feel better and it accomplished that then I will probably give it at least four stars. It might be one of the most mediocre books ever but it wouldn’t matter to me. It made me feel better and that’s what made me love it. But then I start wondering if the book really deserves that rating… which, of course, starts bothering me.
  • I am very fickle with ratings. I change my mind a lot when it comes to those little stars so it shouldn’t be surprising to me when I realize that I changed a book’s rating about five times before I reluctantly settled one rating. And that one rating will haunt me for a couple of days.

Why I Use Ratings:

You are probably wondering why in the world I even chose to use star ratings if it bothered me so much. Well, here is why:

  • All the other awesome blogs were using ratings. When I first started blogging, I thought that I was sort of obligated to use star ratings, because all the other blogs were doing it. I didn’t realize at the time how hard it was going to be to actually rate books until about a couple of weeks into blogging. So why didn’t I stop? Well, that is because…
  • Ratings allow an easy way to organize the reviews on your blog. After using ratings for a bit a time I realized that it made organizing my reviews easier. If I want to check out my one star reviews I can just click on a category. And that makes me feel secure about my blog’s accessibility to other people.


I will still be using ratings for a long time. I might change that later, but right now I just hope to get better and feel more confident in rating books.

Do you have trouble rating books? Please tell in the comments!


26 thoughts on “Rating Books: I Am Terrible At It

  1. My fear of picking a certain number of stars is a huge reason why I’ve been dragging my feet on book reviews. 🙂 Even as far as Good Reads is concerned. I agree with you 100%– they’re necessary, but difficult to choose!

    • I hope you overcome your fear of rating stars! 🙂 I think that star ratings is the only thing that I don’t enjoy in book reviewing so there are definitely more perks than cons!

  2. I completely understand. Sometimes a book can be amazing in one aspect, but horrible in another, but it’s hard to determine where it then falls star-wise. For me, I think they’re really helpful though just to give people a general idea of your feelings towards the book. I always hope that they’ll take the time to actually read my review in which I point out exactly what I liked or didn’t like, instead of just seeing the five stars and assuming I loved it. I don’t think there’s any easy way to escape it in the end! Even if you don’t use it on your blog, you’d have to use it to post your review anywhere else. Evil!

    • Yes, ratings are little monsters that us book reviewers will never be able to run away from 😛
      I do know that some people don’t have time to read full reviews so they just skim or only look at the rating. So I always want to make sure my rating is what a book deserves… which is a hard thing to do since many books are just awesome in their sheer entertainment value. >.<

  3. I empathize with you so much! I think ratings are purely subjective in nature – they’re based on the person’s opinion who’s distributing the rating and nothing more. As a twelve-year-old I may have given Twilight 5 stars; now, I might give it 2. Ratings are just an easy way to quickly categorize books; they are by no means the sole measures books should be judged by though. Don’t even get me started on how disappointed I am when I hear people dismiss books because of their ratings on Goodreads…

    Anyway, love this post, clear thought process and easy to relate to. Hope you’re doing well!

    • I don’t like it when people don’t read books because of their ratings on Goodreads, too. There are SO many other things that come into play other than the rating on a book’s quality. It could be a person’s situation in life, morals, and mood. So yes, it is sad when people do that.
      And thank you ^_^

  4. I actually decide ahead of time and then the book just determines itself. I just kind of range so 1-2 is Ugh books. A.K.A. books that just disappointed me to no end (1 star, most likely I didn’t finish). 3 is a meh book where the characters and everything were flat or maybe I was being consideration because it had something awesome (or maybe a reference that I know XD). 4 is pretty good but it lacked just a little something to make it extra special or amazing, almost there. 5 is amazing, I just know. XD

    That’s solid, until a book comes along and it just doesn’t want a rating! XD Like Nothing by Jane Tealler(<— forgot her name, actually XP) and you either want to give it a one star or five stars.

    So happy I'm not the only one who changes ratings and confuse people! XD

    • That is normally my rating scale, too, but sometimes the rating scale just doesn’t…. fit, for me.
      Same for me. Huzzah for all the people who change ratings and confuse people! 😛

      • I’m OK with it. Sometimes a book deserves a lot more than a 5. And all the ones I give a 5 to, I don’t like them equally much. I prefer to say why I like the book and how much I like it. You understand?

  5. Sometimes I feel like I should have a two tiered rating system or something because for instant in the last week I’ve given a book 4 stars that had amazing writing, world building characterisation and plot but I’ve also given a book 4 stars that was enjoyable, cheesy and total fluff and it feels weird to be rating both the same although they both deserved 4 stars but for completely different reasons.

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  7. I definitely have similar concerns as you, when it comes to using a rating system, but I figure as long as I articulate that the book in question made me feel great, despite it’s flaws, then I hope my readers will be forgiving if I give a 2-star read 4-stars for being so entertaining! Haha

  8. I happen to struggle with it too!!. Excellent post, Lottie. By the way, I don’t quite like it when people use the 1 – 10 stars ratings.. That’s crap. 5 stars should always by the best and that’s it..

  9. Totally agree, all 5 star books are not equal. When I’m totally confused, I bring those half stars in to play but then do I round up or round down on Goodreads? Wish I didn’t over think everything, life would be a lot easier!

    • I know some bloggers that do the sane as you 🙂 They rate on GR but not on their blog. I actually like this way of rating even if it is because GoodReads requires it… kind of 😛

  10. I agree with a lot of what you said! It can be hard to pick ratings for books sometimes.. And sometimes I LOVED a book so I gave if 5 stars, but I know it’s not perfect. I do talk about the flaws in my review but I don’t want people to look at the 5 star rating and assume it was perfect.

    I think the main reason using a rating system is that as a reader, I HATE reading a review that doesn’t have a rating. I like to look at the rating before going into the review so that I immediately know what to expect (positive or negative reviews). But that doesn’t mean I need people to use star ratings. There are some people who just say something like “Rating: REALLY LOVED!” So it’s not stars, but at least I immediately know to expect a positive review.

    • Giving five stars can be pretty hard to do if you know that the book isn’t perfect. I always worry that if I give five stars to a book that everyone will assume it is a flawless story.

      Hehe. I haven’t seen many text ratings. They seem super fun though!

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