A Guide: How I Rate Books on Goodreads

Kath's Bookshelf / Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

I have recently revived my Goodreads account. This decision came about when I decided to read fifty-two books this year. I have since realised that this little challenge has become an exercise whereby I practice and endeavour to improve my book reviewing. I’m not naturally very good at it but I want to become a better critic as well as a more concise and persuasive fangirl. I have, however, come across a problem upon rating books on Goodreads. Goodreads offer a five-star scale which doesn’t include half stars, much to my despair. For this reason, my ratings mostly never feel sincere or correct. So I have produced a post which helps bring together my thoughts on what makes up my personal ratings. This post essentially sets out my own guidelines that will help me decide whether a book is a three-star read or a four-star read; a four-star read or a five-star read, and so on.

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How I rate books on Goodreads

A one-star read is…

  • A struggle to read, whether it be uncomfortable, confusing, offensive or even boring.
  • A book that probably has little or no clear storyline.
  • A book with a story that features few or no characters of interest.
  • Poorly written.

A two-star read is…

  • Mostly hard to read but has moments of hope.
  • A book with an unclear storyline, but okay in parts.
  • A book with characters who sometimes but rarely show promise (in terms of development).
  • A book with a questionable style of writing.

A three-star read is…

  • A book that is probably exciting to read but maybe not my kind of book or a few of its cons seem a little more overpowering than its pros.
  • A book with a pretty clear storyline.
  • A book with characters who are complete and good but maybe unlikeable or a little boring.
  • Maybe a read that isn’t the style of writing I enjoy the most but enjoyed in this occasion.

A four-star read is…

  • A book that had me gripped, probably from the start, but, if not, most of the way through; I was sad to close the book.
  • A book with an exciting storyline that is mostly clear and succinct.
  • A book with characters I really want to find out more about; characters who develop and are brilliant whether I like their characteristics or not.
  • A read that is either my kind of book or brings me a version of a style of writing I now enjoy because of this book.

A five-star read is…

  • A book I had few conflicts with- if any. I was hooked from the start and felt devastated for hours, if not days, afterwards because I was sad the story was over.
  • A read with a storyline that is always interesting, unique and exciting to follow.
  • A book with characters I don’t want to leave behind once the book is closed for good.
  • A book that becomes an all-time favourite; the kind of book I will always recommend to others.
Sidenote: Most of my five-star ratings are likely to be more like four-point-fives; most of my lower reviews are likely to be a little harshly rated, for fear the higher rating is too high. While I will abide by my guidelines above, I wish I could clarify on Goodreads that my ratings aren’t entirely just, whatever those ratings may be, because I wish the scale provided was a little different.

What do you consider when rating books?

~ Kat ~

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