Back in December I looked at my Goodreads year in review and I realized my average rating was 3.17 for 2017. And I realized on my actual profile I have an average rating of 2.78. YIKES… It’s not like I dislike a lot of the books I read. Actually I enjoy them to a large degree. But my rating is so low!
- Note: I think this has to do with the fact 4 stars would be the equivalent of 80% or a B and 5 stars would be 100 or PERFECT. And there is NO perfect book no matter what.
So because I was feeling a little down about myself and how I rated books, I decided to ask Twitter:
On average, what rating do you give books (out of 5)?
Kaeley Scrugglesen (@KaeleyScruggs) January 13, 2017
On average, what rating do you give books (out of 5)?—
As you can see, I am in the majority with the rating. But I want to talk for a minute about perfect books, diversity and what that means.
There are two components of perfect in my mind, and they intertwine quite a bit too. Don’t ask me how I came up with these, because I’m just making it up as I go.
- Note: This has been a micro discussion.
In my head, composition relates to plot, world building, story flow, writing, etc. Books I read largely lose points because of writing. Some books, for some reason, are written in a way where the writing seems extremely casual. Like middle grade reading. And I have nothing against middle grade, there’s some middle grade I enjoy reading. It’s just not my cup of tea in YA. And I usually drop books that feature writing like this. It just frustrates me; I’ve written professionally and unprofessionally, I know what clear, concise writing is; I know what sweeping prose looks like. If I don’t like the writing, I am unlikely to commit to it.
I honestly don’t mind when world building is confusing or the plot is befuzzling. Those things usually trip me up, but I don’t always mind if the characters are there or if the plot is compelling enough. However, plot is probably the next thing I cannot stand being confused on. What’s even the point of me reading this book if I can’t follow the plot or if nothing is happening?
Believability relates to character development, diversity, could the aforementioned plot line actually happen, does the story make sense (are the characters acting the way they’re supposed to be and is the world behaving like it should). Although there’s quite a bit of overlap, and you could easily put many of my composition requirements into believability, and vie versa, this is the way my mind has mapped it out for me. Books I read often loose points for believability because the cast isn’t diverse or the characters aren’t acting consistently or reasonably or understandably angsty. Like I don’t connect to them or something.
- Note: In no way is this the only or, of course, even the right way to decide how to rate a book.
I’m very rigid on believability because I’m dedicating 300 sum pages and potentially 4-5 hours on this book. I expect to get my time’s worth. If one or some of these things seem off I will drop it faster than a hot potato.
- Note: If I drop a book at the beginning it’s usually due to writing. But if I drop more than halfway through it’s usually because of characters, pace, inconsistencies etc.
I rarely give books 1 star, those are reserved for books I really hate and two stars to books I disliked, but maybe still enjoyed some part. I give out 3 stars like candy at a parade and I only give 5 stars to books I REALLY love. And by REALLY LOVE, I mean adore and will read over and over again. For example, Ella Enchanted. I had Ella Enchanted on audiotape at some point and I have read it multiple times. There are very few things I take issue with in that book and so I gave it 5 stars. But a book I just REALLY LOVED was The Infernal Devices trilogy (all three of them, yes) by Cassandra Clare. Tessa Gray is my idol and Jem is my favorite love interest, buttt I only gave it 3 stars. Because while it was really good, I doubt I will read that series more than once or twice.
Anyway, this has been a rant and an unorganized one at that. If you can pick through all of my comments, let me know how you rate your books and why! I’m curious how everyone decides ratings.