April 7, 2014 by Bernadette ~ The Bumbling Bookworm
So, I had originally planned to do a book review for the letter F, but then a whole bunch of things came up and it never got written… So I decided to do another discussion post instead! Today’s topic, 5 star ratings 🙂
I’m not particularly liberal with giving a book a 5 star rating. Only two books I’ve reviewed on the blog so far have been bestowed with this highest honour, The Book Thief and On the Jellicoe Road. If you check out my Goodreads page, you’ll see that I’ve given other books a 5 star rating; some of these I’ve intended to be rated 5 stars (eg the Harry Potter series) and some of these I’ve actually rated 4.5 stars (eg Anna and the French Kiss, see my review). That’s a quirk of Goodreads, and I’m sure you’re all aware of their crazy system that doesn’t allow for half star ratings.
So what gets a book a 5 star rating from me? Of course, it goes without saying that the writing has to be stellar, with no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors, but 5 star rated books have to go beyond that for me. Number one, it has to give me ALL THE FEELS.
These feels can be happy or sad, or somewhere in between, but it has to touch me in some way. I also have to be able to connect with the characters, and generally I have to like the MC – I really struggle to read books where I don’t like the main character, or at the very least understand why he/she is unlikeable.
More importantly, the characters have to stay with me even when I’ve finished reading the book; they become unforgettable.
I also think about whether a book deserves to join the ranks of those I’ve already deemed to be rated 5 stars – did I love it as much as I loved On the Jellicoe Road or Harry Potter? Was it as thought provoking, as engaging as those I’ve already rated 5 stars, even if it was in a different way? In determining that, I generally consider the abovementioned factors. That being said, I’m more likely to give a book a 4.5 star rating than a 5 star rating, especially if I’m a bit on the fence 🙂
That’s about it really! What about you, do you hold back a bit on the five star reviews? Or do you give them out willy-nilly?