Do I Give Five Stars Too Easily? Discussion on Ratings

Hey everyone! This is probably the topic that I want to discuss the most: being not critical enough in book reviews/while giving ratings. A lot of people may view me as a reader who gives five stars away too easily. My average rating on Goodreads is about 4 stars, and 70% of the books I read I give at least 4 stars to. So, you may be wondering, am I not critical enough?

I actually disagree. I do give five stars and four stars more often than 3 or less, but for reasons. First of all, I only read books I think I will enjoy. I don’t have TIME for bad books. I research the books I read before I go into them, I read negative reviews and positive reviews, and I make sure that it sounds like something I will give at least 3 stars to. After all, who wants to read a bad book?

Most of the books I read are also at least a bit popular in the book community. Since I can’t read so many books in a month, I usually choose ones that are new releases or from authors I’ve read and loved in the past, which tend to have some hype.

Now you’re going to ask: well then, how do you rate your books?

I have a whole page on how I rate books here, but that only discusses what each star rating means. Right now, we’re talking about WHY I give those star ratings.

I have these criteria going into a book which determine my rating:

  • Expectations: are they met? Do I expect a lot? Is the book hyped? Do I think the hype is worth it? Was I surprised by it, or let down?
  • Enjoyment: did I actually LIKE reading it? Was it fun? Is it supposed to be fluffy, or actually serious? Why am I reading it: for an awesome plot or just some cute stuff?
  • Moral: Did the story affect me in a deep way? If not, did I EXPECT to be affected by it?

These points, of course, are influenced by other things going on in the novel like the plot and the romance and characters, etc.

I think one thing some reviewers don’t get is that a fluffy, sweet contemporary I rate five stars is NOT the same thing as a fantasy with amazing characters and plot twists that I rate five stars. 

Why? Because of my EXPECTATIONS. Going into a summer contemporary, I don’t expect to be blown away with plot twists and world building. I rate books for what they are. It is not fair comparing two books from totally different genres.

That being said, if the so-called contemporary DOESN’T meet my expectations of being a cute and fluffy read, then I will give it a lower rating. Same goes with a fantasy novel: if it disappoints me in the sense that it didn’t have what I expected (in fantasy’s case: world building, nicely written characters), then I will rate it lower.

And of course the enjoyment matters so much to me, which is directly correlated with expectations. See the thing for my reading is that, if I enjoyed a book, even if it has flaws, I’ll give it a good rating. I’m not saying if I only enjoyed part of it, I mean if I thoroughly liked reading it. I think reviewers often forget that in the end, we’re reading for fun. No one’s forcing us. We do this as a hobby, and even if a book is not perfect, if you liked it, you should give it that extra star. Anyways, that’s my opinion.

Long story short: it’s important being critical in ratings, but don’t forget we read for fun!

What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you think you’re too critical, or not? Thanks for reading!

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Airplanes in the Night Sky Regular

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23 thoughts on “Do I Give Five Stars Too Easily? Discussion on Ratings

  1. I feel exactly the same! I only read the books that i know I’ll enjoy because I simply don’t have the time to read books I wont enjoy! However, I do think that I’m not critical enough. But then, when I find a really good book, I focus more on my blog post about it. I read red Queen like a week ago and I absolutely loved it! And I feel the same way about judging different books differently, its like, I’m not going to go and rate Red Queen the same way I would rate The Unexpected Everything,is it?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I think that each reading experience is entirely unique. If you feel a title deserves a high rating, give it. It is after all, it is you’re review. I would probably be in the same boat if some many of the ARCs I receive did not disappoint. I normally only read what I enjoy as well. I just have a personal policy to try and never DNF an ARC since the publisher was kind enough to send it. I am pretty sure my ratio for 4 stars is much higher though. If you feel justified in giving the high ratings then they are deserved. Every book is unique to the reader 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I definitely think it depends on the reader. I majored in creative writing college and we were taught to look at other criteria such as setting/worldbuilding, un/believe characters, tension, etc. I’ve just learned that life is too short to spend reading books you don’t like. XD

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I also only read books that I think I will enjoy because first of all, books are not the cheapest things and also, with my busy schedule, I tend to pick up books which I feel thag I’ll enjoy so to not waste any time. I rate books based on how it made me feel and how invested I was in the characters, the plot and the world. My ratings are not as critical as some other reviewers but it is my own opinion I guess. (:

    Liked by 1 person

  5. 🙂 I feel exactly the same way!

    I honestly feel like I fail as a reviewer sometimes when I don’t delve into the critical aspects of the books I read. But I’ve recently realized I read and review for fun and as a hobby – I rate books based mainly on my enjoyment of the content, and I just hope my reviews help other readers determine if a particular book is worth the time they’ll spend on reading it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: August: My Month in Review | Wrap-Up & Highlights | AloofBooks

  7. You have made me feel so much better about my stars. I mainly pick books i have a feeling will appeal to me. This does not mean i stay within a particular genre as i will read a very good range of books and authors, but if i am intrigued i will read. They will then get a four or five star rating.

    Liked by 1 person

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