Goodreads, as you may know, uses a 5-star system, with only whole stars allowed—no half stars even though I may indicate a half star (e.g., 2.5) in the written review. Of course, any rating system is arbitrary, and Goodreads is no exception, which is why I thought it may be helpful for me to explain what the ratings mean to me.
Here’s how I generally break it down:
0 Stars — I haven’t started this book and it’s on the “to-read” shelf.
1 Star — I didn’t like this book, so much so that I probably didn’t finish it (look for the DNF* shelf label). I’ve gotten to the point that I won’t make myself finish a book because there’s too many other books out there waiting to be read.
2 Stars — I did finished it. But while it wasn’t the worst book I’ve ever read (see 1-star), something about it didn’t work for me. I may have put it down and picked it up a couple times in order to finish it. If part of a series, I probably won’t bother with the other books in that series.
3 Stars – I liked the book and read it straight through. It had decent enough character development, the plot was solid enough, and it overall kept my interest. It wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever read, but I’d read this author again. High probability that it’s part of a series or a cozy mystery.
4 Stars — I enjoyed this book immensely. I will now seek other books by this author. This book probably made me laugh out loud or cry or both. I enjoyed the premise, thought the character development was well-done, and found the plot intriguing. If part of a series, I am anxiously awaiting the next book and will pre-order** it as soon as I can. In the meantime, I will devour anything else this author has written.
5 Stars — This is one of my favorite reads (many a childhood book in this bucket) or I completely immersed myself in this book, so much so that it has secured a place in the permanent collection. (Most recently this was Robin Hobb’s The Fitz and the Fool trilogy.) I may seek out a hardback copy (and if I can, a first edition) and even a signed edition if possible. This means if asked for reading recommendations, I will most certainly put this book on the list, provided it falls within your preferred genres.
* DNF = did not finish
** Speaking of pre-orders, author Kevin Hearne (who writes the awesome Iron Druid Chronicles) wrote a great blog on why “[p]reorders are super turbo mega helpful to authors.” So always support your fave authors with a pre-order!
How do you rate your books? Do you use similar rating criteria? Tell me in the comments below.