The Meaning in the Stars

April 18, 2017 Discussion 22

Despite being a scale of 1-5, star rating don’t always mean the same things to different people. It is a subjective scale, and we all have our own reasons behind what we rate and why. The variation can sometimes be quite dramatic.

Goodreads provides a guid for the stars, but tbh I don’t really agree with all of it. My lower ratings in particular vary a fair bit.


One Star

One Star

Goodreads say: Did not like it

My rating means: I hated it. Absolutely hated it and cannot find any redeeming qualities. Surprisingly I’ve never given this rating out. Most likely because any books I would give this rating to I DNF, and I don’t like to give a star rating to DNF books as I can’t fully judge them, not having read the entire thing.

2 stars open book

Two Stars

Goodreads says: It was okay

My rating means: This book was not likeable. There may be one or two redeeming qualities but overall I did not enjoy. Sometimes they may even be a “meh” book that left no impression on me (though these are more likely to be 2.5stars)


Three Stars

Goodreads says: Like it

My rating means: This book was good! I enjoyed it overall. There is nothing in particular that stands out, there might have been a few things that bored me or irritated me, but it was fun and/or good read.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Four Stars

Goodread says: Really liked it

My rating means: This book was great! I had a tonne of fun reading it and really enjoyed so many different aspects. I recommend these books!

Vengeance Road

Five Stars

Goodreads says: It was amazing

My rating means: ERMAGHERD THIS BOOK IS BRILLIANT!! I have so many feels and want to fangirl over almost everything about it. There might be one or two flaws but I LOVED IT SO MUCH I DON’T CARE

The Winner's Crime

Half Stars

Personally, I like half stars. There are often books that sit in the middle of two ratings based on my feelings and I like the option to give them their own category. Plus there is a huge difference between 4.5 star and 5 star books for me. 4.5 star books are amazing and excellent, but 5 star books are the one that just completely blow me away and leave me with massive book hangovers.


What do your star ratings mean?

Do you use a different rating system?

22 Responses to “The Meaning in the Stars”

    • Bec

      Half stars are so useful because not everything always fits a clear rating.

      I’m glad you enjoyed it :D

  1. Alexandria

    My star rating system is almost exactly the same as yours! Although I find there is a lot of variation between my three-star ratings, as some I enjoyed and will always remember, while most I’ve completely forgotten about. I sometimes do a half-star rating in my head since Goodreads doesn’t allow half-stars, and I think I generally round up when that happens.
    Alexandria recently posted…10 Books Everyone Else Loved That I Didn’t

    • Bec

      Three stars is definitely the widest range when it comes to ratings. I feel exactly the same way about it. Half stars help make it a little more specific sometimes.

      I really wish Goodreads would just alloy half stars.

  2. Sara L.

    I only do book reviews for Goodreads and Amazon now, and I miss being able to give half-stars for books that sit between two full ratings. Plus, like you, there’s a big difference for me between 4.5 stars and 5 stars. To me, 4.5 means that a book was amazing despite one or two minor quibbles, and 5 stars means… well, perfection. Not only did it blow my mind in the most beautiful or heartbreaking way, but I have nothing critical to say about it.
    Sara L. recently posted…Back from Iceland! (a.k.a. A Quick Update)

    • Bec

      Half stars don’t seem like that big a difference, but they definitely mean very different things. Sites really should just add them already -_-

  3. Julie @ Happily Ever Chapter

    I really wish Goodreads had half stars, because a lot of the time my rating is right in between and it’s hard to pick. My 5 star books are the ones that I absolutely loved and would read again, 4 star – I really liked it a lot, 3 – it was just okay, 2-didn’t like it, 1-absolutely hated everything about it. lol! I’ve rated a couple books as 1 stars unfortunately. They tend to be the ones that I wish I DNFed.
    Julie @ Happily Ever Chapter recently posted…Excerpt & Giveaway: Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne

    • Bec

      Sameeee. I give out a fair amount of half stars and it’s so frustrating not being able to put them on goodreads.

      DNFing is something I don’t do often enough. I reckon if I actually finished them they might have been one star

  4. Pamela

    I’m in the process of moving over to WP and getting some plug-ins so I can do stars, but in general, when I’m rating something, my star definitions are quite close to yours. While I do DNF a lot of books, some are just so aggravating that I finish them out of spite! And then I give them one star.
    Pamela recently posted…Want by Cindy Pon

    • Bec

      I don’t think I’ve ever finished a book out of spite haha but they’d definitely get a one star from me too I reckon!

  5. Sarah J.

    Funny enough my rating system is actually very precise. If you’ve ever read one of my reviews, you may notice that I use scales. I use these scales to set a star average, but sometimes I feel like a book deserves more than a 4.5 rating and I’ll round it up to 5 because I really love it. To me, I use a five star rating to show that this book is perfect to me and it really moved me. Great post! I love reading about other peoples’ rating scales.
    Sarah J. recently posted…Nine Books in Nine Minutes

    • Bec

      I’ve seen a few different people use scales and they’re interesting! It’s a bit more flexible than star ratings.

      Thanks :)

  6. Cait @ Paper Fury

    I’m the same with your ratings for 1 and 2!! 1-star always means I LOATHE it with the fire of a thousand suns. While 2 stars is like strong dislike, but also can be a bit of meh and also can just mean I was super unimpressed. For 3-stars I used to be all like “meh I don’t care for it” but now 3-stars for me means it was just an “okay” book but nothing special. Goodreads has some weird definitions for its star ratings haha. But then EVERYONE treats star ratings so differently right?!? I once met someone who had 3-stars as “really good”…and like…that’s just confusing.
    Cait @ Paper Fury recently posted…How To Instantly Make Me Want (Or DO NOT WANT) To Read A Book

    • Bec

      Goodreads ratings are incredibly weird haha. They are incredibly subjective though! It’s why it’s important to scan a review at least to figure out what they actually thought of a book, not just glance at the star rating. Three stars as really good is super strange to me haha

  7. ShootingStarsMag

    When I DO use stars, I’m more with you than Goodreads – it sounds like Goodreads is trying to be a bit diplomatic with their star ratings. haha I don’t rate everything I read though because I just don’t really know or it’s a half rating, and I tend to only put stars on Goodreads and not on my blog – unless I think it will help people understand my review more. This is mostly for 3 stars or 5 stars.
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…A Murder in Time by Julie McElwain

    • Bec

      Goodreads ratings are a bit ridiculous.

      Some things can be really hard to rate! Justification goes a long way as star ratings are so subjective.

    • Bec

      There can be some really interesting differences between different people’s star ratings.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post :)

  8. Kat

    Our ratings are actually really similar! My ratings don’t match up with Goodreads either :/ Personally I don’t think they match anyone’s. Whoever says 1 star is a “did not like” is…well, wrong, LOL.

    I actually really liked Uprooted :) I haven’t read Vengeance Road or any Winner’s books. It looks like I’m going to need to! Plus Vengeance Road is SO GORGEOUS!!! And so are your pictures! You’ve got some photo skill, my friend :)
    Kat recently posted…Actionable Steps for a Successful Blog Spring Cleaning

    • Bec

      GR ratings are really strange. I don’t even know how they decided on the ratings.

      I liked it, but I just didn’t love it as much as everyone else did. I kept comparing it to a book called Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier and it couldn’t reach thsoe standards.

      Thanks :D I still think I fluke half the shots hahaha

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