Discussion: Rating Books too Positively


I recently read a discussion post by Ashleigh over at A Frolic Through Fiction that got me thinking about how I rate books and if I am too positive when it comes down to rating and reviewing.

Ashleigh asked the question that if a reviewer always gives books 4 or 5 stars then can you trust them compared to somebody who isn’t afraid to give a book 1 or no stars.

Now I don’t openly go out to read bad books, and I guess most people pick up a book with the expectation of it being good. But I have noticed I have given a lot of books 4 or 5 stars in the past. Yet when I look back on it I realise that it doesn’t deserve this rating.

5 star books for me should be books that are your favourite or have changed the way you see life or just a book that you will always love. I know this can change over time but I have noticed that there are books I have given 4 or 5 stars because I have enjoyed them and not hated them, but they weren’t anything special.

I feel that as a reviewer of books I shouldn’t be afraid to give books lower ratings and discuss the reasons behind why I didn’t like the book. But at the same time, I don’t think as reviewers we should feel like with have to have mixed reviews on our blogs and not all 4 or 5 star reviews.

I think the main problem with reviewing is with how you review books. I will give a book a rating on Goodreads as soon as I finish it which usually means it gets higher than what it might deserve, because I haven’t gone away an thought about it.

Once I have committed myself to that rating I rarely go back and change it and therefore usually stick with that same rating in my written reviews.

I also think that seeing other people’s ratings on Goodreads and blogs acts as a pressure. If you see a book have a high rating on Goodreads then you might feel obliged to give it a higher rating because other’s liked it. The same with books with lower ratings.  Fifty Shades of Grey has a rating of 3, and so that is what I ended up rating it, even though at the time I really enjoyed the plot.

After thinking about the way I review things I have decided to take more time when picking a rating instead of going with my first thought. This way you can be sure that with all of my ratings they are 100% my full thoughts instead of the immediate impulse to rate a book positively and not criticize aspects within the novel.

Do you rate books too positively? Do you think reviewers should be harsher with their ratings?



9 thoughts on “Discussion: Rating Books too Positively

  1. I have the same thought process. After finishing a book, I’m always more likely to give a higher rating because I’m still in the “OH MY GOD THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD” phase. I usually finish books at night though, so I at least have to wait until the morning (or even a few days) to review and rate it. I’ve gotten into the habit of just putting “review will be up soon” on Goodreads without a rating when I first finish a book, so then once I properly write it up I know I’ll stick to my rating 🙂

    Also I get what you mean about the pressure. Usually when writing a bad review. I sometimes feel like people will hate me for not liking the book, but then I remember that people actually understand everyone’s opinions are different – and I’ve never actually received hate for not liking a book!

    (Sorry for the ramble – you’d think I’d have written about it enough on my discussion post…but apparently I have a lot to say haha!)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I honestly agree with you on this. I have given certain books a high rating but now I actually take time to think about the rating and give it what I think is best. And also I dont want to give too low a rating because i dont want to be mean but I guess its about being honest with what you thought about the book. And everyones opinion varies.


  3. As a book reviewer, it’s always good to take a moment or two to rethink about how to rate a book. Your post is a good reminder of that. Personally, I only rate books for which I write reviews. I won’t bother spending time writing a review for a 1 or 2 star book. I simply don’t care to bash any author’s works. I suppose that may make my ratings seem overly positive in general.


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