Discussion: 5 stars versus 4.5 stars?

Hello tiny people inside the internet! I need some advice.

I’ve read a lot of books recently that have been very, very brilliant… in the last 25%, and a solid 3 or 4 stars for the rest. So what do I rate it? Or, I have no faults with the book, but it still doesn’t feel like one of the best things I’ve ever read. Which I feel is what a five star review means? I want a way of differentiating between god tier 5 star books, and books that I don’t want to demote to 4 stars but aren’t my all time favourites.

And that’s where the cursed 4.5 stars comes in! Ahhh it just feels so oddly specific? I like Goodread’s 5 star point system because it feels quite simple. But when you start breaking it into .5 and .25 even (I’ve seen it before!), everything gets very complicated. I think different ratings have different meanings for different people – some are more lenient with star ratings and others are quick to class a book low. What does five stars mean to you? What are your opinions on 4.5 stars? And, most importantly tiny people inside the internet, what do you rate a book that’s not consistent throughout? Let me know in the comments!

Published by Hundreds&Thousands

I’m a teenager (and a Hufflepuff) from Manchester. I like oversized jumpers, music that isn't on the radio anymore and books. Pretty much any book I can get my hands on but my favourites are Young Adult, fantasy and science fiction. One day, I decided to share some of my opinions on some great - and not so great - books to people around the world. And here it is! I really enjoy it and I hope you do too. The aim is hundreds and thousands of book reviews (see what I did there?) but I’m not quite up to that. Yet.

19 thoughts on “Discussion: 5 stars versus 4.5 stars?

  1. I’ve never given out half star ratings as, like you’ve said, Goodreads doesn’t allow for this (and I can’t have inconsistencies between my blog and my Goodreads! 😂). But I do get what you mean – maybe I’ll have to add a tag to my blog of ‘God-Tier’ five star reads or something, as it’s only a few books that would make it into that category!

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  2. 5 stars has to wow me – like my heart has to be racing after reading the book, or it made me feel a lot of emotions plus it’s a good story. But I get it, I’m starting to dislike myself giving 4.5 stars because…why can’t I just round up or down to 4 or 5? 😂 I’m working on doing away with the .5’s…I’ll get there eventually. If I love the story, like it could have been a 5 but it wasn’t consistent I’d give it a 4, but that’s just me. I know everyone rates differently.

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  3. Inconsistency is certainly one reason I rate a book down half a star. But lately, I’ve found there are more books that are just shy of 5 stars – more like 4.75.

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  4. there are so many books i love, but rate 4.5 stars, because they just don’t quite match up to the other books i’ve rated 5 stars 😭 *has embarrassing flashbacks of when she used to rate literally everything 4 or 5 stars* i HATE that goodreads doesn’t have half stars, so i use the shelves to distinguish!

    i love your discussion! ❤️

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    1. Oooo I didn’t think of using shelves? Some of my friends use them religiously but I have to admit I don’t really see the point of all that effort😬 Maybe I’ll have to give it a go! Ahhh I also went through a phase of rating everything so I high, and then look back and think THAT WAS NOT THAT GOOOOD

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