I never really thought about giving books star ratings until I joined Goodreads back in 2015. And by no means am I trashing Goodreads because I lovvvvvveeee it so much. Pre-Goodreads, I didn’t do my best to keep track of all the books I had, mostly just remembering the ones that I had absolutely loved. Lately, star ratings have been giving me a headache, not only as I delve more into the blogging world, but also as I read more and more.
Star ratings are definitely helpful when you’re trying to figure out if you want to pick up a book. For example, if a book reviewer that I often share the same thoughts with gives a book on my TBR a 2 stars, I more often that not rethink about picking up said book (RIP to all of the books that I have taken off of my TBR shelf on Goodreads because of this). Additionally, rating books in general helps you be a bit more critical about what you’re reading. It makes you think about what elements a three-star read has versus what elements contribute to giving a book four stars.
As a blogger, I’ve thought about doing my reviews or my monthly what I read posts without star ratings at all. However, I worry about how anyone will understand how much I really enjoyed a certain novel. On the other hand, will anyone ever be able to understand your true reading experience even with a star rating? In my opinion, the answer is no. For example, in May I read Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Wings and Ruin. Did I have trouble putting it down? Yes. Did I love it? Yes. Did I give it full five stars? No. There were definitely a few things that I didn’t enjoy about ACOWAR (ex: the ending, see my review for more), and I ended up giving it a 4.5/5 stars (which I realize is pretty close to a 5 star). But I still loved it and consider it as one of my favorite books of the year.
Even take my experience with Melissa de la Cruz’s Alex and Eliza. If you read my review for the book, you’ll see that I rated Alex and Eliza a 5 out of 5 stars. I didn’t rate the book a 5 out of 5 stars because it was one of the best books that I ever read or that I was madly in love with Melissa de la Cruz’s writing style; I gave it a 100% because of my experience with it—it was about Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler, aka my OTP of Hamilton. It made me want to put Hamilton’s album on repeat, overall reminding me of my love for the show.
In short, star ratings are great for giving your friends and followers a glimpse of how you felt about a book. However, star ratings will never truly capture your experience with a book, and the less you stress about them, the better (something that I’ll just have to keep reminding myself!).
How do you feel about star ratings? I really want to extend this discussion, so please comment below if you have any thoughts and let me know if you’ve had/are having a similar discussion on your own blog!