How Do You Rate Books? (Discussion)

Most of the time when I rate books, it’s on Goodreads, so a five-star scale. Recently, I started including half-star ratings as well in the review. What I’m curious about, is how other people decide what star rating they’re going to give a book. Here’s a very basic break down of my feelings about a book next to what I would rate it:

1 star: I didn’t like this book at all.
1.5 stars: I didn’t really like this book, but it did something right.
2 stars: This book was fine, but nothing special.
2.5 stars: This book was mostly okay, but there was something off.
3 stars: This book was average. There wasn’t anything special about this book, but there wasn’t anything bad either.
3.5 stars: This book was better than average. There were elements that stood out.
4 stars: This book was great. It was thoroughly enjoyable and there was an emotional connection, but it lacked in other areas.
4.5 stars: This book was almost amazing, but there was something that I didn’t quite connect with.
5 stars: This book was amazing! I can recognize it’s flaws, but it’ll stay with me.

When I rate books, I try to take into account the quality (writing, plot, characters, ect.), the overall impact it had on me, as well as how much I enjoyed it. This usually works for me, but it gets more difficult when I read something that I don’t personally like or connect with, but I recognize that the writing is good or that the story just isn’t for me. Here’s an example that came to mind:

I read The Diary of a Wimpy Kid because my younger brother loves the whole series and I wanted to be able to talk to him about what he was reading and enjoying. I personally didn’t love the formatting or the story, but my younger brother (who’s in the target audience) loved it.

How would I rate this book? If I use the same guidelines that I usually use, I would rate it somewhere between 2.5 and 3 stars. However, I know that younger readers connect to the story and enjoy the style. Should that affect the way that I rate it? Should I rate it on a completely different scale since I’m not in the targeted audience? Or should every book in a genre that’s outside my comfort zone be rated on a different scale? I try to use my best discretion, but I’m curious, how do you rate books that you don’t personally love/like, but that you didn’t love/like for reasons that are unrelated to the book?


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