How I Rate Books and Why 3 Stars Isn’t Bad | BOOK CHAT

In which I share how I rate books and why 3 star ratings need to be cut a break…

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jitterbugbear says:

I try not to use the half stars so I’m always giving books 3 or 4. Very VEEERY rarely do I read an actual 5 star or 1 star book!!

I started DNF’ing books last year (bc who wants to suffer through a book when you could be reading smth good lol) and now it’s like, 1-star equals a DNF. Those books that are bad but I can still finish get 2 stars, 3 stars is okay cool liked it -territory, 4 stars is amazing-but this-one-thing-dropped-it-down-a-notch and 5 stars is perfect!

Joana Sousa says:

This video was 5 stars 😉 I loved it. For me it’s like this:
5 stars – wowed me, loved it! I know it is not perfect but I personally loved it.
4 stars – great book. some stuff was not great but generally speaking i really enjoyed it.
3 stars – good, not great. not memorable. fun but nothing special.
2 stars – promising but poorly executed. disappointing compared to an exciting premise.
1 star- hate it

Emily Alice says:

Typically, a three star book for me is one I enjoyed but probably won’t reread.

Simone Preußner says:

I use roughly the same rating scale as you. And I do get a bit annoyed by the people who think 3 stars are bad. I have also read that there are people who don’t want to pick up a book with a goodreads reading < 3.8. I am a bit unsure why. I tend to look not so much at the overall rating but at the rating of individuals I know the reading preferences of.

Leah Rose Reads says:

My rating is relatively like yours.

I’m re-reading some books that I LOVED when I was 14-16 or so, and at 31 they’re still hitting my nostalgia feels but they’re not as perfect as I remembered them.

I still like them, I’d still recommend them, but they’re not perfect books. Probably have more flaws than not. Boom they’ve hit my 3 star range of books.

Natalie C. says:

When I rate something 3 stars it means that I liked it, it was fine, and there was nothing actively terrible about it but I wouldn’t reread it probably. I find 3 star reads the most frustrating. Like with books I hate, at least I can go on a good rant about it but 3 stars is time wasted on a book with no real pay-off.

I suppose the reaction of “omg you rated something 3 stars, you didn’t like it!” comes when you expect a person to love a book and they don’t. Or that a book is really hyped and consistently gets 4 or 5 stars and someone rates it 3, it looks bad in comparison even though a 3 usually means the person liked it, if not loved it.

Noxymi says:

I will now forever rate my life with the 5 star rating system.

Bats says:

for me it’s
5- LOVED IT. either i cant think of anything wrong with it or it just had a really strong emotional tug from me
4-loved it but i can think of at least one substantial thing that could have been done better
3- middle of the road. probably liked it but it didnt knock my socks off or im conflicted between some really good and some really bad qualities
2- didnt like it but at least has 1 substantial good thing about it that keeps it above a 1
1- awful bad. probably made me really angry over something.

bri says:

5- absolutely loved/ made me feel everything
4- really good but maybe I wasn’t as invested
3- okay/ wasn’t terrible to read but I wasn’t flying through it or excited to pick it back up
2- books pretty boring but wasn’t the worst thing maybe it had a good character or two
1- honestly the worst I think I’ve only rated two books 1 star and it was the cursed child and this random cover buy

I usually rate first of the series books 3/2 stars and will continue because world building ya know and most of my books used to be 4 but as I’ve gone along and started being harsher most of them are 3

Amy R says:

3 stars for me could be that I liked it but technically it wasn’t brilliant, or a book I didn’t really like but I recognise that there was nothing really wrong with it but it just wasn’t for me. It’s probably the most ambiguous rating for me.

Lady McCrystal says:

I think the canceled culture has created this black and white decision making or thought process. We are humans and everything we do has a grey zone. So I totally agree, 3 is not bad at all. It was like hey I enjoyed this book but it wasnt a masterpiece. 3 star books are still good but they leave room for growth but that doesnt mean they are bad! I like your comparison about the day. You are right! It really is true. It was just a good day but not great, you could relive the day and be content.

I rate books so weird. I dont get technical. Did I enjoy it, ok 3. Did I enjoy it and it evoked emotion from me like a laugh out loud, a tug at the heart string, ect then 4. Did the book make me think about the characters all day and anticipate when I can read again, 5. If the story pulled me that hard that I wouldnt wait to get back to it, for sure 5. If I was bored most of it or wanted to just be done then it is a 2. If I literally cannot handle the book then 1.

Have you brought a book? says:

YES, someone said it! It’s so strange that when a book is being liked it should be 5 or no less than 4 stars.
My go to rating for books i enjoyed is 3 stars, like if you have the same taste you will really, really like my 3 stars rated books.

I’m still trying and overthinking the rating system but for now I mostly agree with Goodreads:
5 – I liked it so much; loved it; it got me good!;
4 – so good, just that smidge of something that was lacking, the take on this was not my thing; but it is arguably a great book;
3 – I enjoyed the heck out of this one; so entertaining; could have had more plot or less drama, but I had mostly the best of times;
2 – it was okay; average; you can read or skip it in my opp. if ths or that isn’t your thing; the execution was poor;
1 – I disliked/hated this book; do not recommend; it was severely disappointing;

Sara Is Reading says:

I wonder if people just don’t spend as much time talking about three star books on the internet. The 1 stars and 5 stars are the books that come up in every tag, the three star books get mentioned in a wrap up and then never again a lot of times. (This isn’t a criticism, I’m definitely more likely to talk with my friends about a book that I loved or hated instead of a book that I just thought was pretty good.

Mia lina says:

Ok listen sam.
I love your videos i really do, but your outro music is shit.

Jay G says:


Anna Starseed says:

For me I relate it to grades, 5=A, 4=B, 3=C, 2=D, 1=F, so 3 is still good, but it’s pretty average.

Watch That Dene says:

I’ve always thought each star was roughly equal to a Letter Grade: 5 Stars (A), 4 Stars (B), 3 Stars (C), 2 Stars (D), 1 Star (F), making 3 Stars a passable C grade: good, but room for improvement. Personally, I tend to grade based on the emotional impact of the book, so I grade lots of enjoyable books 3 Stars because, though I enjoyed them, they won’t necessarily “stay” with me and I probably wouldn’t re-read them. My feeling is a book has to work for it to get a 5 st. (A) or 4 st. (B).

Read Love Listen says:

I agree that a rating of 3 ✨ isn’t bad at all.
I think that your rating scale is very fair.
My rating scale is based on how the book makes me feel. I read for fun.
5 ✨ means that i loved’s the best thing ever or I enjoyed it so much that I’d buy it or read it again.
4 ✨ means that I really liked the book and the writing was excellent.
3 ✨ means that I liked the book and would most likely read from this author again or that it was just a decent cozy read.
2 ✨ means that it was okay but I probably wouldn’t read any other books from this author or series.
1 ⭐️ means that I hated it or it just wasn’t my type of book.

Kelsey C says:

I am really glad you decided to touch on this topic because I feel the same exact way. Most of the books that I rate, if I do rate them are three star books, which to me is not a bad rating at all. A three star rating is a solid, enjoyable read. There’s so much pressure for a book to either be a full five star read and if it is not, it’s on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. I feel like books are either viewed as you absolutely loved this book or you hated it. There is supposed to be this balance in between, which is exactly what the star system is supposed to achieve in it’s rating system. I also feel that a full five star read should be rare, as well as a one star read. The rating system is flawed in that rating’s are given at will, either being a full five stars or a one star. Books should be rated on your own personal interpretation of the full work at hand, but that’s not always the case when it comes to books being rated at such a high volume, so I am glad that you touched base on this subject and made it more self aware in general.

Jesi Marie says:

I personally see three stars as kind of the middle of the road? Because even though technically 2.5 is the halfway mark, if you look at like whole stars, three is the middle one. So my ratings tend to go like this:
5 stars – it was amazing and I throughly loved it. Any bad things I could say about it are tiny nitpicking things or are easily washed out by the good things
4 stars – it was decidedly a Good Book, but there was something about it that didn’t quite push it all the way to 5 stars
3 stars – it was okay. I didn’t dislike it, but I didn’t really like it either. Could be disappointing if I had high expectations but otherwise it’s just like an average book that I’ll probably forget about
2 stars – I didn’t like it but it had potential or there was something redeeming about it.
1 star – hate is a strong word and this book deserves it

I don’t actually give a lot of books 1 or 2 stars because I tend to DNF books that I don’t like and I don’t rate books if i don’t finish them, so most of the books that I end up finishing and rating end up being 3 or above

Kopratic says:

For me, a 3 star book is either pretty average all the way through, *or* I really disliked some aspects but loved others.
A 3.5-ish star book that I would definitely recommend is Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear. It’s the first in her Eternal Sky trilogy, based around Mongolian lore and culture.

Other ratings:
5 – loved pretty much everything
4 – highly enjoyed but not enough to push it to a 5-star

2 – didn’t care for it, but I’d understand why others might like it
1 – dislike, would not recommend to anyone

Mayfia says:

For me it’s
5 stars: Obsessed!! A book I won’t stop talking about
4 stars: Loved it
3 stars: Mediocre/Forgettable
2 stars: No substance
1 star: Dnfed

P.S. I love that book! says:

Ah I love this! And I agree, I also rate books completely based on my feelings and if the book spoke to me and somehow I actually expect same from others. Like for example King of Scars really spoke to me so I gave it 5 starts but when you gave bit less I never assumed it means you think the book is rubbish but just that it didn’t speak to you as much and you wanted different things than what was in it 🙂

Demy Pln says:

My personal theory about this is that people tend to rate the books right after they finish them when they’re riding the high the book gave them.(either good or bad) That’s why they tend to give out rating on the furthest sides of the spectrum more freely and that’s fine if you read for enjoyment only, but I expect a more objective rating from someone who reviews and recommends books.

Jasmine says:

For my rating system:

*5 Stars* — Absolutely loved it, one of my new favs. Found little to no flaws during my reading experience.
*4 Stars* — It was great. Found only a few flaws but didn’t stop it from being a positive reading experience.
*3 Stars* — Average. Neither a wholly positive or negative experience, with roughly equal amounts of flaws and praise.
*2 Stars* — Disappointing. Few good highlights but weren’t frequent or enough to cover up the bad/the flaws.
*1 Star* — Big yikes. Found little to no upsides during my reading experience.

The White Book Cottage says:

Love this! And can only agree with your rating system!

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