book chat: ratings + how I rate diverse books

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Hello, my fellow book lovers! Today, I am going to talk about book ratings. First, I’m going to discuss how I feel about them. Secondly, I’m going to talk about how I rate diverse books, since I’m reading such novels almost exclusively this year. This is not a post with advise on how you should rate books. I’m only going to talk about how I do it.

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At the beginning of 2017, I announced I would no longer rate the books I read. In my opinion, a star rating is a rather shallow way to express how you feel about something. There are so many things that a rating isn’t able to convey, such as whether a novel contains harmful content.

Another reason why I dislike book ratings, is because they mean something different to everyone. Especially three star ratings are tricky. People often consider that a low rating, while the reviewer might still recommend the novel.

However, I soon noticed that my Goodreads reviews didn’t receive as much love as they used to once I stopped rating the books I read. Furthermore, I started requesting e-ARCs on Netgalley, and you have to rate the books you receive there. That’s why I decided I would still rate books, but only on Goodreads and Netgalley. As you may have noticed, I don’t include my book ratings on my blog anymore. My reviews are more often than not very thorough, so if you want to know how I feel about a novel, my reviews are able to tell you that.

I won’t go into detail what my star ratings mean exactly. It’s mostly based on feeling, though, as you will find out soon, I have a different system when it comes to diverse literature.

I know that many people want Goodreads to had half star ratings, but I won’t bother with those anymore. I really don’t want my reviews to revolve around the rating, because my reviews convey my thoughts much better than a number of stars ever could.

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Confessing this might be controversial, but yes, I do rate diverse books differently. Like I said, ratings mean something different to everyone. If I were to rate a diverse novel three stars based on MY enjoyment and not whether or not it contains intentionally harmful content, a lot of people might not be interested to pick the diverse book up again.

As a reviewer, I think you have to be conscious of that. Especially if you have a lot of followers. A couple of weeks ago, a popular BookTuber rated a diverse F/F novella only one star, primarily because she disliked the writing. The author’s first language isn’t even English, but because this is the first review you see on the Goodreads page, so many people won’t buy this wonderful novella.

And that’s exactly why I rate diverse books much more mildly. If the novel didn’t contain much or any harmful content, I will rate it at least four stars, even if I personally didn’t enjoy it as much.

However, I don’t hide anything in my reviews. If I think a book contains hurtful material, I will discuss that. Diverse books are no exception when it comes to that.

I understand that some people might think that this is misleading, but there are enough trolls out there that rate diverse books harshly and unfairly just because they’re diverse books. If a book isn’t harmful, I don’t want to turn others away from reading it, even if I personally didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped to.


I’ve only been rating books like this for a few months now, so my opinion on book ratings might change one day. But this is how I feel about the matter for the time being.

Before I wrote this blogpost, there were many other things I wanted to discuss, but I forgot so many points I wanted to make 😦 I’ve been planning to write this blogpost for months and should’ve kept track of my thoughts better.

Anyway, what’s your opinion on rating books? Let me know in the comments 🙂

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5 thoughts on “book chat: ratings + how I rate diverse books

  1. ashley says:

    I have mixed feelings about rating books, I really do. On one hand I think they can be helpful to readers, but on the other hand, they can be harmful. I think it’s more important to look at the actual reviews more so than the actual rating of a book. Ratings are different for everyone, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. whatthelog says:

    I also don’t use the star system – I always used to go back and forth about what the difference between 3 stars and 4 stars was, and in the end I just gave up on it. You’re right, it is a shallow way of reviewing books. I also try to rate/review diverse and independent books a bit differently. These books usually have difficulty getting published anyway, and I wouldn’t want my review to make publishers think that these books aren’t worth publishing. Even if I’m not a fan, I try and spin it as positively as I can.

    Liked by 1 person

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