Let’s Talk Bookish: Is 3 Stars A Good Rating?

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Hello everyone,

I decided to start participating in Let’s Talk Bookish!

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly series hosted by Rukky at Eternity Books and Danie at Literary Lion. The full list of September topics can be found here.

This week’s topic is: Is 3 Stars A Good Rating?

I have seen this being discussed quite a bit lately both here on WordPress and on Twitter. Some people find a three star rating to be neutral, or equate it with a bad review, while others equate it to a positive review.

I’ve tried to more or less follow the Goodreads rating system when it comes to rating books. If you aren’t familiar with it, here’s the breakdown.

1 star = did not like it
2 stars = it was okay
3 stars = liked it
4 stars = really liked it
5 stars = it was amazing

The only part of the Goodreads rating system that I disagree with is, wait for it…the 3 star rating!

In general, I think a 3 star rating is bad.

In the past I have given books three star ratings when they had potential but it wasn’t met, if the ending was lackluster, or if it left me feeling kind of meh. I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it, but something was just missing.

Because all of that sounds so negative, whenever I have given a book 3 stars, I end up feeling like a horrible person. Thankfully, I haven’t had many three star reads (so far…) because I am very particular about what I choose to read. If it’s a new-to-me author, I will research the book pretty thoroughly before reading it. If it’s not clicking with me right away, I will generally add it to the DNF list before it even reaches the point of a low star rating.

Since every reviewer and blogger uses a different rating system, it can be difficult to generalize the star ratings especially on Goodreads. I think the three star rating is a huge gray area, so I will always try to explain my reasoning if I give a book that rating. What could be a three-star read for me could be a five-star read for someone else, and vice versa.

What about you? Do you think 3 stars is a good rating? Tell me in the comments or drop a link to your post so I can check it out!

10 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish: Is 3 Stars A Good Rating?

  1. Totally agree the discrepancy in 3-stars warrants actually writing a brief review to explain why! A book can fall into the average category for a reader for reasons another reader might adore. Always important to remember reviews (especially on goodreads/mass review platforms) are all subjective.

    Nice take!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s interesting. For me, 3 stars is “liked it, but…”

    Similarly to you, I might have felt there was something missing, or a flaw that let a good book down, or even just that it didn’t wow me.

    Unlike you, I actually don’t mind a 3-star read! I just read an Agatha Christie and it fell solidly into that “fine” rating and I was okay with it.

    But, by the same token, I’ve only given out about a dozen five-star ratings in my ten years on goodreads, so I may be a stingy rater. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ooh I think it is interesting to see that you think 3 star is a bad rating! From most of the discussions today I think most people say it means the book is mediocre, but there were definitely some good parts! And I agree with that!
    Although I can see why you would say it is ‘bad’ since there are definitely some things lacking!


    Liked by 1 person

  4. I probably give most of the books I read 3 stars, for me it means a good, solid read that I liked more about than I disliked, whereas 2 stars is more likely to mean I finished it but disliked more about than I liked. I’m probably quite a harsh critic though, I hardly give out any 5 stars. ☺️


  5. This is really interesting. I tend to think 3 stars means a good, solid read with more that I liked than disliked, whereas 2 stars is a book I finished but disliked more than liked. I might be a harsh critic though because I give most books 3 stars and hardly any 5 stars. ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can definitely see that too! I know I give out too many five stars, but I’m quick to DNF books I don’t like and move onto ones I know I’ll enjoy πŸ™‚


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