Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, created and hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion, where we discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts. You can check out more about this meme here!
The topic for this Friday revolves around giving three star ratings to books. I’m really excited about this topic because I think it’s such an interesting dilemma in the bookish community.
A THREE STAR REVIEW IS A POSITIVE REVIEW
Three star reviews for book seem to be very polarizing in the bookish community. I’ve noticed that many people and readers (including some in the publishing industry) consider three stars to be a negative review. I actually don’t see three star reviews that way. I consider a three star review to be more of a positive-neutral review. For instance, if I was interested in reading a book and looked up the reviews online and saw a good number of three stars, that would never deter me from actually picking up the book.
When I rate a book three stars, I always have this feeling in the back of my head that I’m being negative even thought I don’t find those ratings negative. And I honestly believe it’s because there’s such a stigma in the bookish community that three stars are negative, not positive. I wish I could reiterate over and over that a three star rating is still a positive rating and does not mean the book is bad.
This especially comes into play when I’m participating in book tours or reading ARCs. I feel very self-conscious when I rate those books three stars, because I feel like my review is going to be considered negative when it’s not. It took me a long time to feel comfortable giving three star reviews on my blog tour posts–I always make it very clear that three stars are positive and that I found the book both enjoyable and recommendable to other readers.
RATING A BOOK THREE STARS
Everyone has their own rating systems for review books. For me personally, I stick to the simple 1-5 star ratings including half stars. According to the Goodreads system, three stars means “I liked it” and that’s exactly how I feel. In every book that I have rated three stars, it still meant that overall I enjoyed reading the book. There are many, many three star books that I would (and do) whole heartedly recommend to others!
So how do I decide when a book gets a three star instead of rounding up? Typically it’s because I had a few issues with some aspects of the book, be it plot, characters, writing, or tone. Sometimes it was because the book felt like it was simply lacking something, which I just couldn’t put a finger on. Sometimes it was because when compared to other similar books, it didn’t stand up quite as much. But all of the issues I find in three star ratings are issues that never detract from my overall enjoyment and entertainment of the story.
What are your thoughts about three star reviews? Do you find them to be positive or negative? Let’s discuss in the comments!