Hello! Happy last day before it’s the best day. I hope you’ve been having an amazing week so far. I’ve started getting really busy due to high school tennis season starting – two hour practice twice a day! I haven’t been reading as much as I’d like to and I’m worried I might be entering a slump… but I shall fight it with every ounce of my being.
Since starting my blog I’ve been writing out a lot more reviews than I usually do. I would typically remember that I had a Goodreads account once a month and maybe review a book if I really enjoyed it. Now, I’ve been reviewing all of the books I’m reading and I’m actually finding it really difficult.
It’s not the writing out the review part that’s hard, it’s the end. At the end of all my reviews, I give it a rating from 0-5. And yes, I know that I could just skip this part and allow you to make your own conclusions based on everything I talked about liking and disliking in the post, but then how many stars would I know to give it on Goodreads? How would you be able to easily compare how I liked one book over another?
The issue with this system is that even if I give two books four stars, I might have liked one book more than the other. I could give one of them a higher rating, but then that book might become a 4.5 star book that I liked less than other 4.5 star books.
Take Harry Potter, for example. This series is my absolute favorite, and all of the books within it are five star books for me. However, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire has always been my favorite. Since that book is the best five star book for me, does that mean that every book that didn’t live up to that standard should be rated less than a five star? I could get super specific and give books 4.7859 ratings, but frankly I’m too lazy and the only decimals that I like are .5’s or good ol’ Dewey’s decimals.
Personally, I don’t rate books by comparing them to other books. I’m not going to finish a book and think, “Well, I liked this book slightly less than that 5 star book I read yesterday, and more than that 4 star book I read a month ago, so that’s a 4.5.”
For me, I ask myself at the end of each book three main questions:
Did this book fall short of, meet, or exceed my expectations?
Did this book fulfill its purpose?
Was the overall reading experience enjoyable?
I know that it’s weird to think about a book’s purpose as if the book has a specific goal that it needs to achieve before its pages rot away, tossed aside, and/or chewed up by my surprisingly vicious dog. For me, a book’s purpose is usually either to entertain or inform, and because I don’t usually read non-fiction I’m typically hoping for entertainment. I know in English class we learn about how our writing could persuade, as well, but I don’t usually read books that are trying to persuade me (except Chew on This – if you ever need a book to convince you to stop eating fast food, this is the one).
I guess one example of a book “fulfilling its purpose” would be The Selection Series by Kiera Cass. The Selection is notorious for being a book that you either love or hate. Personally, I love it, but I know a lot (and I mean a lot) of people who don’t like the series because America Singer is incredibly annoying and indecisive. Even as someone who really enjoys the series, I have to completely agree with that. Her decisions throughout the series can be pretty self-centered and frustrating, which makes her hard to like as a protagonist. However, without fail I’ve given all of these books five out of five stars.
For me, I love America because she wouldn’t make me so frustrated if I didn’t really care about her character. It’s like when a book makes you cry – you wouldn’t be crying if the author hadn’t done such a great job of making you care about the characters and plot. The Selection Series is addictive for me: I’ve read it multiple times, usually finishing each book in one sitting. I’m never bored when I’m reading them, and while I can totally understand why some people might not enjoy them that’s just not the way it is for me.
I read The Selection and The Elite in one night, and I was so upset when I found out that I had to wait six months for The One to come out. When it did, I read it all in one day, reading the last chapters sobbing in the back of my mom’s car. I was supposed to be warming up with my soccer team before our game, but I refused to get out until I finished because I was so invested in the story. So even though these cute-sy, dystopian versions of The Bachelor will never have a fighting chance in my mind against The Goblet of Fire, they’ll always be five star books to me.
I’ve read through that post about three times and I’m still trying to decide if it makes any sense at all. I just figured since you guys all seemed to be enjoying reading my reviews you might like to know how I review.
How do you rate books? I’m still constantly struggling with that final #/5 rating. I don’t want to disappoint you if I give a book 5/5 stars and you don’t find it to be the most incredible thing in the world. I also never know if I should adjust my ratings when I read two different books and give them the same rating but feel as if one is much, much better than the other. The struggle is real, but I think it’ll make for a good discussion, so be sure to comment your thoughts if you feel so inclined!
Thanks for reading! 🙂