Book Rating System 2023 | What do the stars mean?

Hi friends! I’ve been “seriously” reading books since August 2018 and come a long way since then. It’s been a good few years since I re-visited my book rating system and as it’s the beginning of the new year, there’s no better time to review and overhaul the way I rate my books.


Book ratings and what they mean


First, lets talk about the original ratings system | 2019:

5* – absolute favourite

5 – amazing, strongly recommend

4 – great book, good story, would recommend

3 – okay book, but would probably not recommend

2 – will not read again

1 – really disliked and would not recomment

0 – Did Not Finish

To be completely honest I barely referred to this after I created it. If you asked me how I picked between 4 and 5 star books, I’d really struggle to explain.

Looking back at the books I’ve read, although I’ve enjoyed the majority of the books so far, there are a few that I know have had the same 5 star rating as other books but they’ve been marginally better. Also I use Goodreads and StoryGraph that only rate up to 5 stars. This means, that on those platforms my “favourite” books simply do not stand out.

I thought about changing the rating system last year but instead just stopped using 5* ratings. This of course meant that I rated my favourite book of 2022 A Man Called Ove 5 stars, just like I did The Marriage Pact. Looking at these two side by side, you wouldn’t be able to tell which one was my favourite if I didn’t specify, but Ove just affected me so much more!

And that’s what made me revisit my book rating system. I want to break out of my two year reading slump, and thought that if I was to “start fresh” it’ll give me the boost I need to make 2023 my best reading year yet!


The biggest change I’m making is that I’m losing 0 (DNF) and 5* from the overall scale, meaning I’ll be rating between 1-5 stars out of 5 going forward. This allows me to match the ratings on Instagram, Goodreads and StoryGraph. Hopefully it’ll also make the books that had the most effect on me stand out!

5⭐ – The top tier, the bees knees, crème de la crème! An absolute favourite that I would recommend to EVERYONE. A book of perfection for many reasons. This means the book most likely hit me in the feels – I cried, laughed (or both), I got angry for all the right reasons and so on. Five stars is reserved for a book I’ll proudly display on my bookshelf and want to read again and again in the future.

4⭐- Great book that I really enjoyed. The plot, characters and writing style was exactly what I was looking for. It held my interest and kept me wanting to continue reading. A book I would definitely recommend to others.

3⭐- Solid reading. I may have been a little distracted by things around me but I had a good time reading it. This book had some snagging, but overall I liked it.

2⭐- Disappointing read and I didn’t enjoy it very much. Could be anything from the style of writing to horrible ending or boring characters. Just wasn’t what I had expected it to be and missed the mark for me.

1⭐- Reserved for a book I did not finish (DNF) because I was bored, I found the book problematic or it turned out to just not be my jam.

Explaining the 5 star rating system I use for books. 
5 - Absolute favourite, 4- great book, really enjoyed, 3- Solid read, 2- Did not enjoy very much and 1- Did not finish

Hope this will help you understand how I rate the books I read going forward!

Let me know if, and how, you rate the books you read?

Kat x



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