Need some help figuring out how to rate the book you just read? Here’s my book rating system for deciding how to rate my reads, on a scale from one to five stars (including some half-stars).
I want to preface this by saying: book ratings are incredibly subjective. My system works for me, but it might not work for everyone – and that’s ok! This post is only meant as a starting point to help you figure out your own book rating system. 🙂
How I Rate The Books I Read (5-Star Rating System)
The rating system I use is based on a 5-star scale (like Goodreads), mainly because that’s the main book tracking app I’ve used over the years. It helps me stay consistent.
I have added some half-stars into the mix for more variability. Goodreads won’t let you add a half-star when rating a book, so I just round up or down, then write my half-star rating into the ‘review’ text box for that book.
This rating system translates best for fiction books (but can still be used for non-fiction).
When it comes to fiction books, most of the rating decision comes down to emotions and feeling. Did the story resonate with me? Did I connect with the characters? Did the plot keep me intrigued?
My ratings for non-fiction books are similar, but more based on whether or not the book taught me something new or gave me an interesting perspective on a topic.
Without further ado, here is my 5-star scale book rating system!
Here are all my favorite book apps for reading tracking, listening to audiobooks, and more.
5 Star Book
This book blew my mind, gave me a strong emotional response, and/or changed my outlook on life. I never wanted it to end.
This is the type of book that will stick with me years from now. It might even become one of my all-time favorite reads.
I will be recommending it to basically everyone I know, and I may even re-read it in the future.
The characters were fully-formed and felt so real they basically leapt off the page (if fiction). The plot kept my eyes glued to the page, and the writing style really resonated with me.
I can’t wait to share it on Bookstagram and discuss it (and/or fangirl over it) with others who have read it. AMAZING.
4.5 Star Book
This book was wonderful, and I will definitely recommend it to others. It was just missing that special ‘spark’ or emotional factor that would bump it up to a 5-star read.
The story had strong character development and an engaging plot, and I felt it was a unique read that stood out from the pack. It was a great read, but not quite incredible.
4 Star Book
I really enjoyed the experience of reading this book. I might have loved parts of it, but as a whole it wasn’t quite as memorable as a 4.5- or 5-star book.
I’m glad I read it and will likely recommend it to others if it’s a genre they enjoy. Above-average.
3.5 Star Book
This was a mostly-enjoyable read, if a little predictable. I can see why others loved it, even if it wasn’t my favorite.
Maybe I didn’t connect with the characters as much as I’d hoped, or the pacing wasn’t as strong as it could have been. I’m still glad I read it, but I might not enthusiastically recommend it to others.
3 Star Book
This book was ok, yet mostly forgettable. There were redeeming qualities, and it was mostly interesting enough to finish. But, it didn’t hold my attention as much as it should have.
Maybe something about the story felt unrealistic, or the characters were somewhat cookie-cutter. It wasn’t a bad book, but it didn’t stand out for me. An average read.
2 Star Book
Certain things about this book annoyed me or got under my skin. I sort of wish I hadn’t read it, because I felt like I wasted my time.
The writing was sloppy or the story was poorly-executed (but likely not both at once, or it would be a 1-star read or a DNF – see below).
I didn’t get much enjoyment from the book or really learn anything new. I would not recommend this book to others.
1 Star Book
I’m not sure I’ve ever rated a book one star, mainly because if I dislike it that much, I would DNF it (i.e. not finish it).
But, a 1-star book for me would have no redeeming qualities. I likely wouldn’t read another book by that author in the future.
DNF (Did Not Finish)
I put this book down and decided not to finish it. I can tell it isn’t the right book for me, and I’d rather spend my time reading something else. (There is no shame in DNFing a book!)
If I DNF a book, I don’t rate it.
(Check out this post for more bookish terms & lingo that you might come across on Bookstagram or while using a book app like Goodreads.)
Why rate books?
You might be wondering why it matters to rate books in the first place.
For some, it might not! But personally, I like being able to look back at my book ratings and see how I felt about certain reads at a glance.
Rating books helps me figure out whether or not I want to recommend them to my friends and family. It also helps me decide which books I want to pick up in the future.
Additionally, rating a book on an app like Goodreads or The Storygraph helps others decide what to prioritize, reading-wise. When I see a friend rate a book 5 stars, I’m more likely to pick up that book.
And while everyone enjoys different books, a book’s overall rating is like a crowdsourced recommendation for (or against) a book.
You can choose to do with it what you will, but I often take those ratings into account when making my own TBR list. There are just too many books out there, and not nearly enough time to read them all!
Like I mentioned above, rating books is extremely subjective, but I hope you find this ratings breakdown helpful in determining your own rating system.
How do you rate your books? I’m always curious to see different methods. Feel free to let me know in the comments!