Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Star-Rating Ramble

(WARNING: This post contains a dangerously high amount of opinions and ramblings. Read at your own risk!)

I hate star-rating a book on Goodreads. First of all, I find the star rating to be a really shallow way of judging the book. Am I rating it according to how much I enjoyed it? Or should I rate it according to how good I thought it was? And what does ‘good’ mean? There’s so much that a star rating can’t tell you.

But now, my main problem with the star rating system on Goodreads is how it gives each star rating a description. For instance, three stars is ‘liked it’ while one star is ‘disliked it’ and five stars is ‘it was amazing.’ While this clears up exactly what each star rating really means, it does present me with a bit of a problem.

I haven’t found an amazing book in awhile. I know that sounds terrible (and let me get this straight, this says a LOT more about me than about the books I’ve been reading) but it’s true. The last book I read and thought ‘this is amazing’ was Divergent, and that was a year ago. Since then I’ve read a lot of ‘meh’ books and some fairly good books, but all of them fell short in some way.

Take SHATTER ME, for instance. (Since I’m reviewing this book for Divine Debutantes magazine I won’t be posting a review here, but you can read a shortened version on Goodreads.) I’d heard so many amazing things about this book, and the premise sounds fantastic. Seriously, a girl with a touch that can kill in a dystopian world? What could be better?

Think again. SHATTER ME was nothing like I expected. Instead of a strong heroine, I found Juliet to be almost a little wimpy. Instead of a fast-paced book, I found that very little happens. Instead of a dystopian, I got a romance. Yes, it was still a great story, but I disliked it because I had thought it was going to be the sort of story I would love, and then it turned out to be something else entirely.

Now, how in the world can I rate it? My feelings about this book are sort of meh, but on Goodreads that would be equivalent to just two stars, and I definitely feel like SHATTER ME deserves more than that. I’ve ended up giving it four stars (thanks to the fantastic premise) which on Goodreads means that I really liked it. Which, as you’ll know if you read the review, I really didn’t.

Alright. This post has been a lot of ramble, but my main points are these:
1- I don’t really like giving books a star rating
2- I don’t like the ‘tags’ with the Goodreads star ratings
3- I’m having trouble finding books that I really like
4- I think my trouble is because of unrealistically high expectations

This post was really supposed to be about numbers three and four, but it seems like I got sidetracked. I guess I’ll need to write another post sometime soon…

Over to you… does any of this feel familiar? What do you guys think about giving books star ratings? Do you like the Goodreads ‘tags’ for ratings? Why or why not? I’d love to hear other opinions on ratings. 


  1. I use star ratings, and I guess I've never had too much of a problem with them. I don't use what it says on Goodreads, though--1 is books I hated, 2 is books I didn't like, 3 is okay books, 4 is good books, 5 is amazing books. I don't think the descriptions on Goodreads make sense. But that's just me. I like things to be mathematically correct, and for me, okay is the exact middle of the road. Between 2 and 4 stars. So I use 3 as okay instead of "liked it".

    I usually don't have the problem that some people do, where they read something and like it, but it's not what is usually considerd "good literature". I guess I have trouble understanding this. If I liked the book, then the author was doing something right, so therefore it was good. Again, it's just the way I think.

    Great post--it's an interesting thing to think about.

  2. I don't know much about Goodreads. I decided to avoid it when I read about all of those writers freaking out over bad reviews, and how it practically started World War Three.