So I made an executive decision when I started writing book reviews that I was not going to rate books on any rating scale. I had several reasons for this, that I’d like to discuss below.
I’d love to hear your thoughts/opinions about this in the comments!
So some of you might have noticed, that unlike most reviewers I don’t leave ratings on books. This is intentional and not just me forgetting about them. The only time I will leave a rating for a book is if I have to, like on NetGalley or Goodreads.
I try to keep my reviews as objective as possible, and while on the surface the rating system is meant to be objective I find that it is anything but. I find that most reviewers use their rating scale to say whether or not they liked a book, and not whether or not the book is well written, written for the intended audience, and tells the story the author intended to tell. I personally don’t think whether or not I liked a book should influence whether or not someone else decides to read it.
For example, people love “The Cruel Prince” by Holly Black, it obviously has a large following. Personally I got halfway through, put it down and never picked it back up again. Why? Because I see enough trauma and pain in my day job that I didn’t want to read about it when I got home. It’s a great book, it just wasn’t for me. And that’s okay! I would never suggest that someone else shouldn’t read it because I didn’t like it.
That isn’t to say that ratings are inherently bad, or that the book blogs I follow use them inappropriately. The greatest misuse I’ve seen is on goodreads, where reviewers seem to delight in trash talking books.
When I do have to give ratings this is how I rate:
5 Stars– book is well written and is written for the marketed audience. The book had well rounded characters and consistent themes throughout. I plan to reread this book or would read the sequel.
3 Stars– The writing in this book was average and the story was inconsistent or contained plot holes. The author did not have a clearly defined audience. The characters were flat and one dimensional.
1 Star– This book has incorrect information that is damaging or hurtful. This book contains racist, sexist or otherwise inappropriate content that should have been removed before publishing. I would not recommend this book.
With the above rating system, basically every book I review is a 5. And I think that’s okay.
I have my prescription pad graphic that I use to summarize the book: who I think would like it, content warnings and my final recommendations. If readers are intrigued they can read my entire post. Therefore, I do not think I need a rating score to summarize my thoughts, as they are right there at the top of the page.
The way most book reviewers rate books is fine; however, I have read too many reviews lately, (mainly of YA books) that trash good books because the reviewer wasn’t in the target audience for that book. I think that reviews like that are unfair to readers who are in the target demographic and might love the book, but due to low ratings might never pick it up.
So what do you think? Do you like the star rating system? Have you seen reviews on Goodreads (or anywhere really) that abused the rating system? Leave your thought below!