How Should We Rate Books?

by - 06:43

A large part of reviewing books is rating them. Whether that means giving them a star rating, number out of ten, percentage etc, we all do it and it is a way to easily express what we thought of the book. We can rate books in many different ways, but what is the best way?

Experience of Writing?

When rating a book out of five stars, we are only allowed to give it one rating so we have to decide on how much we liked or disliked it...but liked and disliked about what?

Imagine you read a book that you thought was absolutely amazing because it was really funny and entertaining, but the writing was awful and all over the place. Do you rate it lower because of the writing? Or make it higher because of the experience?

If you decide to go in the middle (say you rated experience 5 stars and writing 3 stars) and put it as a four star book, do you feel like you're doing wrong by this? Here is a conversation that I usually have with myself when rating a book:

Lily: Okay, I really enjoyed this book but the writing wasn't the best...I'll give it 3.5 stars...

Lily: But wait...What if people think I didn't like the book????? I did really like the book!!!! It's just the writing... Okay, I'll bump it up to 4 stars.

Lily: How can I give it four stars when I hated the writing??????????????????????

Lily: How can I give it three stars when I loved this book???????????????????

I may be the only person that does that, but I find it hard deciding whether to rate the book on experience or writing.

Personal opinion or General opinion?

When rating and reviewing a book, everyone has their own personal opinion and more times than not, someone out there will hate that book you love or vise versa.

So when you are reviewing do you rate and review the book based on your own opinion or a general opinion? By this I mean do you review it discussing the things that you liked or the things that you think other will like about the book?

An example of this is when I read The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey I really did not like the book but I could see why other people did and I could see that if I recommended it to someone, they would enjoy it. But do I rate/review it based on my personal opinions or general opinions?


Sometimes when I read a book that is by a certain author or in a certain genre I find myself comparing it to the other books in that genre or by that author. I really don't like it when I do this because all books are different and all authors strive to achieve different things with their books so when I compare books I keep having to remind myself that this is not the same book as what I am comparing it to and I should rate this book based on this book itself not based on another book.

At the same time, I can see that it can be good to compare books when rating and reviewing but I just can't do it!

Rating DNF'd Books

I don't really have much to say here but I have a question for you, Do you think you should rate DNF'd books?

That's all for this post! I hope you enjoyed and I'll see you again soon!

Happy Reading!

Lily x

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  1. If it's a story that I loved with poor writing, I will rate it middle of the road, but I'll make sure they know i enjoyed the story. Ratings drive me nuts sometimes.

    1. I in the end would probably do the same thing but most of the time when I do my reviews I end up ranting and going crazy if I loved it so I often forget that I need to talk about the rest of the book!

  2. Ratings are always tricky for me, but I usually rate based on my experience and how the book made me feel. If I'm really loving a story, I can forgive a few misgivings and I'll rate based on how I felt about the story, rather than grammatical errors or whatnot. But, on the other hand, I've noticed that if I'm enjoying a book, I'm very picky about that kind of stuff haha.

    1. Same here, if there are some super obvious things that I can't ignore then I'll bump it down but usually I don't notice the writing too much if I'm enjoying a book so much.

  3. I can still give a five star rating if it might have 1-2 flaws, although let's say if the romance is a miss for me then it automatically brings it down to around 3-3.5. I think it mainly depends on the book as well. Great discussion post<3 Benish | Feminist Reflections

    1. Same here, most of the time my experience overcomes the flaws that I see.

  4. Ha -- this is why I don't usually rate. It's really complicated and can take way too much time. I can drive myself crazy considering all these things and more!
    Jen at YA Romantics

    1. It would be so much easier if I just stuck to not rating books but I kind of enjoy it because it's a way for me to categorize the books I love and the books I don't!

  5. This ^^^ Your post sums up exactly why I don't include ratings on my review posts. I'll rate a book in goodreads, but my blog is a rating free zone simply because I don't believe you can give a book, and all it entails, a numerical value. Every review is subjective, so I just don't think ratings are that valuable, myself.
    Beth x

    1. I agree with you about how a number may not be the best way of rating a book but sometimes I find it easier to give it a rating because it is just a quick way of establishing how you felt overall about a book you read.

  6. I usually sort of go by my feeling when I decide on a rating. It's more based on my feeling than actual reasoning behind it about what I liked and didn't, that part comes in my review. My rating is more my overal opinion of how much i enjoyed the book and then in my review I mention the exact thigns I liked and didn't like. Although sometimes I write my review first and after that rate. I do rate based on my personal opinion, as I think that's what a review is about. If you want to know the general opinion you can look at the average rating on goodreads or amazon.

    It also matters how important you find certain aspects. Like for example I don't like info dumps, but I don't really mind them too much, so if that's the only thing wrong with the book that doesn't bother me enough to distract a star from my rating, on the other hand if the book had horrible world building I enjoy the book less and rate it lower.

    I don't rate DNF books as I don't feel it's fair as I didn't finish the book. Although I also don't mind if people do rate them, I can understand rating the book based on what you have read as long as you mention you DNF'd the book somewhere. Great post!

  7. I completely agree! I usually rate due to how I felt about the book but if I was reviewing to focus mainly on something other than the plot and my general enjoyment, I would obviously take that into account when rating


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