Musing About Things: Fear of the 5-Star



Hi guys, welcome to Book Munchies’ Musing about Things: A Discussion (Post). Inspired by memes such as A Daily Rhythm‘s Musing Monday & Caffeinated Book Reviewer‘s Caffeinated Confessions (etc.), this is a Book Munchies discussion post, where I’ll be rambling about (mostly) book-related things and hopefully you guys will join in on the fun too (:

So today’s topic is: Fear of the 5 Star

This is just something I’ve noticed over time for myself but I seem to be giving out less and less 5-stars as of lately.



The only 5 star books I’ve given this year so far was to When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare and The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness. I’m not sure of it’s because I keep comparing books to the last 5-star book I’ve read and if I don’t like it as much it it loses a star. Or if I need to change my expectations of what a 5-star read is (and/or try to compare a book on its own merit??).

I find that sometimes I’m afraid of giving out 5 stars. Especially since I’ve started blogging and meeting way more bloggers/reviewers/readers, I sometimes feel like I need to be able to justify why this book was basically perfect, because that’s what a 5-star is to me: Perfection. And that can be a bit scary when there’s so many opinions floating around. I think sometimes I forget that it only needs to be ‘perfect’ and awesome to me.

I do notice I’m fairly free with my 4-stars though, haha! It’s my go-to rating for books I love but there’s a one or two flaws.

Everyone gets 4 stars!!!

While I understand giving 5-stars too freely defeats the purpose of the prestige-ness of the 5 STAR, sometimes I feel like I don’t give out enough 5 stars. Which is weird, because shouldn’t I give a book a rating whatever I feel like? That being said, I think maybe I need to re-evaluate what counts as a 5-star read to me.  It’s a nice feeling when you read a book and at the end you can be like “yeaah, that was awesome, totally 5 stars for you!”.




So I’m just curious, are you guys pretty stingy with the 5 stars, or just love giving them out to the books you love?

Are you like me and sometimes feel a little scared of giving a book 5 stars because of the implications that follow it?

Have you noticed increase or decrease of the amount? Or don’t really care at all?

Author: Cyn

noun. a bum OT, procrastinator. reader. eater. sleeper. music listen-er. movie go-er. Loves food too much.

19 Replies to “Musing About Things: Fear of the 5-Star”

  1. You are not alone, I think I have only gave a couple of five stars this year and probably a bunch of 3 and 4 stars. I think when I give out a five star, I have to just feel it. I close the book and have that feeling that says 5 stars….lol.

    1. Glad to hear I’m not the only one like that!
      Sometimes it’s best to go with your gut 🙂

  2. I think I used to be really tight with my 5 stars and only give them when a book was OMG THIS BOOK IS SUPER AWESOME BLEW MY MIND WOW but now I’m like ‘I really loved this, I couldn’t fault it, even with my tiny iffy feeling, it’s fabulous’ and it gets the 5 star, you know? Maybe I’ve become more feeling orientated, maybe I think that I should just go with my gut. Sometimes I wonder why we need ratings anyway – surely a good review does so much more than just a number of stars? Who knows.. Great post though Cyn! 🙂

    1. Totally get it! Sometimes it doesn’t have to perfectly written to be 5-star, just that it has to feel like a 5-star, haha.
      Hmm, very true, a good review definitely would sell a book more for me than a rating.
      Thanks for stopping by Amanada!

  3. A book doesn’t need to be perfectly written for me to give it a 5 star. If it pulls me in and doesn’t let go to the point I get extremely cranky if I must put it down then that’s a 5 star to me. I try very hard not to let others opinions influence my ratings, but I admit it gets to me sometimes. Still, my ratings are MY ratings and no one else’s. That’s what I try to remember.

    1. I like how you put that “If it pulls me in and doesn’t let go to the point I get extremely cranky if I must put it down”!! haha.
      Oh I have a bad habit of being influenced by other people :/ but I’m trying hard not too, too!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. I’m very stingy with the 5 stars. The book has to do something for me – inspire me, teach me, or stay with me – and not have anything that annoys me. I do get out a pretty good number of 4 stars too. Any book I really enjoy gets 4 stars but a book I want everyone to read and that I talk about all the time is the only kind that gets 5.

  5. I don’t give 5 stars freely, but I’ve given a few this year already. The book doesn’t need to be perfect. I want it to strongly impact me. I’m an emotional reader, so I know where someone might give a book a 3 or 4 due to technical aspects, I might give it a 5 because of the way it made me feel.

  6. Yep…unless I am so giddy about a book I just about pee myself needed to talk about it everyone and anyone ..then I don’t give out 5 stars. When A Scot Ties The Knot was a five star for me..lord was that good.

  7. What an interesting question: i rarely give out 5 stars (or 4) unless I am jumping out of my skin in glee at the book and it’s close to perfect. Yeah, I’m pretty stingy aren’t I? My go-to rating is usually around 3.5.

  8. I kind of have the opposite issue: I constantly worry that I am giving out WAY too many 5 stars. So I added a 6th 😉 Well, not an actual sixth star, but an extra “something” that designates a book as a favorite. I actually contemplated NOT giving a book 5 stars just because I was worried I was using them too freely, but then I decided I didn’t care. I loved the book, I shouldn’t punish the book because I am easy to please. I think that’s the key- when I follow someone, I know if they are a little easier to please, like me, or if they really need a book to be mind-blowing to get 5 stars. So I know in context I guess. Like, if Jane gives a book 5 stars, it isn’t the same as Mary’s 5 stars, because Mary NEVER gives 5 stars. It’s always a struggle for me though, too many, not enough.. rating is HARD.

  9. Interesting topic Cyn! I used to be pretty lenient with my ratings, so there used to be lots of 5 star books. But like you, I now use my 4 star rating quite liberally and a 5 star book is really hard to attain especially if there are flaws!

  10. I give 5 stars if a book is awesome to ME. I don’t care if the world hated it. I am pretty happy to give 5 stars to a bunch of different books, for different reasons. I also give a lot of 4 star ratings to books. I am not afraid to say why I dislike something right along with that though. Just know if the book got 2 stars it pretty much sucked big time, and 3 stars are just for books that have major issues but I kinda enjoyed enough to finish.
    Great topic!

  11. I am not looking for perfection before awarding five stars…for me, it’s a rating for the book that totally engages me. A book with themes that resonate. Our ratings are subjective, so why not go with our feelings? Thanks for the post.

  12. I am stingy about my 5-stars too! I give out a lot of 4-stars. And even when I get out 3 stars, that still means a book was good, it just held some issues for me. But this year, I’ve read a lot of books where I’ve wanted to give out 5-stars. I feel that I’m giving out a lot more this year. Looks like I need to rein it in! 🙂

    Obsessive Book Nerd –

  13. I think I’m more likely to give a 4 star than a 5 star, especially recently. I used to give any book I really loved the full 5 but now I am more critical and tend to lean towards the lower mark more often than not. I do have to talk myself out of being too hard on books though sometimes, and I try not to compare books otherwise I get stressed out over whether they deserve the same mark.

  14. Great topic as I’m glad to know I’m not the only one.

    Many book tours don’t want you to post reviews with a 3 star, a 3 star to me is my go-to, where I enjoyed the book but I don’t feel the need to keep it. 4 star is those that I really liked and going into Love and 5 star is as you said, perfection, so one that I will talk/think about ages after I finished reading the last page.

    There are many books I’ve loved/enjoyed but ask me a year later about the little nitty gritty details and I can’t remember, those are my 4 stars, the 5 stars…I remember details from years to come.

    So in answer to your question, I’m exactly like you, I don’t think that it would be worth reading my reviews if each book I read I gave 5 star, but as Amanda from Nellie & Co said, the content of your review should be good enough, so the next question is…is there any point for ratings?

    Great post!

  15. I think that rating in general is SO hard and we all second-guess ourselves. I used to feel like I gave out too many five stars, now I wonder if I give out too few – I don’t think I’ll ever be completely happy with it! 🙂

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  16. This is my first time visiting your blog. I LOVED this post. My blog was born out of the indie boom that happened a few years ago. While I read a LOT of traditionally published books now, many of my followers still read a lot of indie books (and follow a lot of indie-focused blogs). I’ve noticed a lot of the “big indie blogs” that are big on Facebook seem to give out a lot of 5-stars. In the indie blogging/reading world, there is this weird expectation that most books will be 5 stars, which I have never really understood. Many of these big blogs give out 4, 4.5, and 5-stars every week (sometimes multiple times). Not only does it set a precedent and an expectation but it also dilutes the meaning and the greatness of the 5-star rating.

    I want my 5-stars to mean something to me and to have left an impression. This year, I’ve only given 3 or 4 books 5 stars. I don’t really think a book has to be perfect to be 5 stars (even I will have a few things I may have not loved) but if the writing is strong and the characters are great I will still give it that high rating.

    I’ve found myself giving out so many 3-stars, which again, in the indie world where I come from is seen as a negative review. Again, I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THAT. To me, 3-stars means it was good, not great and was entertaining.

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