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Books for Thought is where I post a discussion topic related to books, reading, writing, or something pertaining to one of the three. I hope you’ll join in, and discuss today’s topic of

five star ratings

So over three years ago I wrote a post about my five star ratings in which I pretty much said that a book would have to be worth my soul (and more) for me to give it one of my coveted five stars. I decided to write another post on the same subject because, well, it’s been over three years and things have changed and I have changed and books have changed, too.

I no longer require a book to steal my soul to give it five stars (thought to make it onto my freaking perfection Goodreads shelf this requirement still stands). I just require love. I require the book to leave me feeling that SQUEE feeling or that holy-shit-my-heart-is-broken feeling. I just need the book to give me an extreme case of the ~feels~, accompanied with writing that I like, a story that hooks me, and characters I love, or hate to love, or love to hate. If you think these requirements seem excessive, I tell you to read my original post because DAMN I was a lot pickier back then.


See, the thing is: I love finding books to love. It’s why I read, after all. The fact that I was putting so much pressure on books, and myself to be able to give out a five star rating was ridiculous. A book doesn’t have to be world changing for it to deserve five stars. It can just be moment changing. Or feelings changing (you know what I mean). I am actually so much happier for changing the way I give out five stars. Because giving out a five star rating to a book really screams that I love it, and that I recommend it.

Though, this isn’t to say that I hand out my five stars to just any book. My five star books are still incredible, and important, and all those lovely adjectives that deserve to be italicised. I haven’t dismissed the importance of the five star rating – or my five star rating in general – I have just given in to loving books more easily, and letting myself express that love with more ease. And I love it.


What about you? Are your five stars hard to win? Or do you give them out freely? sig-chiara

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Posted on: April 18, 2017 • By: Chiara

18 Responses to My Five Star Ratings Are Changing

  1. I know what you mean! I was the same way. I still usually reserve five stars for books I’d consider a “favorite” but that just means I have too many 4.5 star books laying around ;) They don’t have to be perfect but if I consider it a favorite book to me, it gets 5 stars.

    • Chiara says:

      I’m not sure if all my five star books are favourites because I have two levels of favourites, haha! I think there are very few books out there that we, as readers, can consider perfect so I’m glad we both know that for a five star rating it doesn’t have to be :)

  2. Sarah J. says:

    I’m not too picky about giving out five stars, but I don’t give them out a lot either. There are times when I give back-to-back five star ratings, but then give a lot of three star ratings. It’s just one of those things. I’m a firm believer in rating a novel 5 stars if I loved it because I feel like my love is showed through a five star rating. Hope you enjoy your new rating change!:D

    • Chiara says:

      I think I have only ever given out two back to back five star ratings, and they were for books from the same series! I think my three star rating is the one I give out the most, too, which is kind of sad D: I feel the same way! When I give something five stars then people know I really loved it, which is great. Thank you, Sarah!

  3. I totally get that with how your feelings on ratings can change!! I used to be a lot more relaxed with my 5stars haha, so I’ve kind of gone the opposite way? But only a bit.? I still believe books deserve 5-stars without being wholly perfect. Because life is too short not to give out high ratings and love something!! But a book has to give me FEELS to get that 5star rating. That’s the biggest requirement.?

    • Chiara says:

      Haha! I used to think that a book had to be perfect for five stars, which is why I have no come to the realisation that that kind of thinking is ridiculous. I like feeling a little bit more free with my five stars. I don’t just give them out if I love a book – that’s usually four stars – but if I have FEELS then it’s most likely going to be five stars :D

  4. Kayla says:

    Sometimes I feel like I give them out too much! Like I’ll look back at two different books I’ve given five stars and there’s one I absolutely 100% love more than the other. But then I guess I’d have to overhaul my whole ratings system, because 3 stars to me is like a meh book, one I may or may not recommend and might get rid of if I’ve bought it, 4 is really good but not perfect, and then five can mean a whole bunch of different things but, most of all, that at any time I’d recommend the book to anyone!

    • Chiara says:

      No way! I mean, I think different books with the same ratings is always going to happen. Sometimes I look at my three stars and know I enjoyed one book but didn’t feel much for another but they both got a three. Threes are the hardest, I think. And yes, five stars will ALWAYS get a rec from me, whereas the other ratings are not always rec-worthy.

  5. I thought about re-evaluating my rating system last year by having certain criteria for each rating. But then I realized most of my problem was rating a book on how I felt immediately after I finished it. I would ignore the fact that I wanted to DNF the book at the 25% mark or something along those lines.

    I still fall into that trap sometimes but I often right that when I’m writing my full review. (I give out a lot of half stars now). A lot of my 5 star reads are books I couldn’t put down or made me feel every emotion or totally shocked me in some way or another.

    • Chiara says:

      Yeah, I usually take into account my feelings at the start and end of the book, so handing out five stars is still quite difficult. I tend to give out four stars if I really liked it but something was missing.

      I used to have half ratings, but then it would be hard to translate that to Goodreads ratings so I stopped, haha. My five stars are definitely mostly related to emotion. I don’t think I’ve been very shocked by books!

  6. I’m glad to hear that you are opening more books up to the chance to be a five star read for you. I don’t give them out willy-nilly but if it’s something I love, then yes! :)

    • Chiara says:

      I was restraining my love for books, which seems sill upon reflection. I definitely don’t just give them out whenever, but when I think a book deserves them I’m not as harsh about handing it the rating!

  7. I feel like I give four-star ratings very easily, but it’s pretty hard for me to give five-stars now (and I’ve gone back and changed some of my ratings too).

    BUT OMG, I swear I read that post of yours three years ago and how has it been so long.

    • Chiara says:

      Yeah, four stars is nothing for me. I don’t really think about ratings, unless they’re one star of five star, haha. I have never gone back and changed ratings, just because I feel like I would need to re-read the book to do that! But then that also means that there are books from my past with high ratings that I would never give high ratings to know *cringes*


  8. It is always so fascinating to see how our rating systems & styles change over time, no? Like you, I have a dedicated shelf for books that impacted my life in a very permanent way (side note: I just checked & it turns out I have two – “all-time-favourites” & “life-changing-books” – because I am an overly-organised nerd). Life is far too short to be stingy about giving those lovely five star ratings, so I am one of those who tends to hand them out to books I just adored deeply, without worrying about any other particular criteria. It’s always best to spread the love, I think. <3

    • Chiara says:

      I love that they CAN change, and that we can feel like it’s easier to give them out. I think it’s amazing that you have a whole shelf for life changing books! I think I have only ever read one book that truly changed my life.

      I am definitely more on the side of giving five stars to those books that just really get me in terms of emotion, without the need for everything to be perfect. After all, that emotion from me is the hardest thing to win over so they definitely deserve it for being able to do that!

  9. I’ve always rated 5 star based on my LOVE for a book. It’s hard to define it, but after I’ve finished a five star I just KNOW it’s a five star in my heart, if I have to debate about it then it’s usually not (sometimes I still give in and give it a five star anyway because I’m weak).

    • Chiara says:

      Same. Even then it can be a hard thing for a book to reach because I often really enjoy books, but rarely find those books that really get to my heart. I definitely am the same when it comes to a debate. If I question it, it probably isn’t five star worthy!

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