Let’s Talk about Star Ratings

What’s Up with Star Ratings?

Much like judging a book by its cover, I find star ratings to be highly subjective, and I really don’t like “assigning” a number to a book I’ve just read.  I find the coveted 5-Star-Review to be a bit over-rated – in my mind it’s the content of the review that matters most. 

I read and edit a substantial number of reviews each year for Reader Views, and there is nothing more baffling to me than reading a review laden with critiques that somehow scores a 4 or 5 star rating.  Gee, the plot was full of holes and the characters were like cardboard cut-outs, but I highly recommend this book as a 5-Star read!  What?  Likewise, I don’t think a book necessarily merits a 2 star review just because the reader didn’t like the story – there has to be more than that.  For me, 2 star issues include a lack of readability, numerous grammatical errors, character development issues, stagnant plot and dialogue issues, etc.

The Magic Numbers?

I personally assign star ratings based on the following scale:
5 Stars – Excellent
4 Stars – Very Good
3 Stars – Good
2 Stars – Fair
1 Star – Need a bit of work

I just want to point out that 3 stars is a good review!  I think the mind-set of everyone in the industry today is that if a book doesn’t rate 4 or 5 stars it isn’t any good. I totally disagree with this line of thinking!  A good review is a good review.  Not every book you read is going to be great or blow your mind, but there are a lot of good books that will leave an impression. 

When I read a book, whether for pure enjoyment, to learn a new skill, expand my knowledge, or for a literary contest, I want to feel a connection to that book. Be it fiction or non-fiction, humorous or biographical, when I finish a book it is the connection I make with all points of the book that will determine the number of stars.

What are your thoughts on star ratings?

Originally published for Reader Views.