My Rating System – what do I rate 5 stars and what do I think of 3 star books?

Welcome to another post, today I want to talk about my rating system. Everyone rates books a little differently, so I want to explain mine so you can understand what goes through my head when I rate books!

The System

While my rating is heavily based on personal enjoyment and my reading experience, I like to use a rating scale to check it’s general rating i.e. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Then, I use .5 stars to pinpoint it’s rating and round up or down according to the general feeling I get.

That’s probably a really confusing explanation, so here’s my rating scale! I rank each factor out of 5 then divide by the number of factors for a general rating. 

atmosphere: how well did the book capture the mood of the story? Was it notably gothic or creepy or heart-warming?

writing style: this is often down to personal preference, but was it is easy to read? Was the prose captivating?

pacing: how will did the story flow? I like either fast paced and slow paced books, but how well did that pace fit the story? Did anything feel rushed?

characters: how complex are the characters? Was there any character development? Are they intriguing? Did I get attached to any of them? I don’t necessarily have to like the main characters (morally grey characters are the best), but I have to sympathise with them even a little bit!

plot: was the story original? Did I like where the story went? Or was it predictable?

enjoyability: was my reading experience good? Will I remember this book affectionately in the future?

insightfulness/viewpoint: did I gain a different perspective? Did it teach me anything new or change my opinion?

optional – relationships, dialogue: How well-formed were the friendships/relationships? Did I like the relationships? How realistic was the dialogue? 

As you can see, there are many factors that contribute to my rating scale! However, I don’t follow it completely, since I don’t value every factor equally. For example, I would be less concerned with a meandering plot than undeveloped characters, or one slightly-off friendship than jarring pacing. It does give me a good idea though of where it should be rated!

5 Star Reads

Here are a few of my 5 star reads this year, so you can get a sense of my reading tastes. Just by looking at these, I can tell that I prefer character-driven novels with strong writing styles and social commentary. Clearly, I don’t mind slower paced stories either. And the genre is overwhelmingly fantasy!

3 star reads

Here are a few examples of 3 star books. Some of these I liked much more than others, like A Long Way To A Small Angry Planet compared to The Shining. Although I rated them both 3.5 stars, I would round The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet up to 4 stars and The Namesake down to 3 stars on goodreads, based on enjoyment and the general feeling. 

3 star books vary a lot for me, and none of these 3 stars books are objectively bad. Therefore, I can still recommend books that are 3 stars for me if I can see why other people liked it more, and some 3 stars I did enjoy!

Thanks for reading. Hopefully you have a bit more of an idea of how I rate books (or I might just have confused you more!). How do you rate books, and what do you look for in a 5 star read?



  1. I think I actually have a very similar rating system to yours 😉 I look at a variety of different factors, too, some more objective and some totally subjective, which also makes my system next to impossible to fully explain 😂

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s