3 Star Reviews: Good or Bad?

Recently, I’ve become very conflicted over rating book 3 stars. I used to peg 3 starred ratings as disliking the book, but now that I’m reading and rating many more books, this negative connotation with 3 stars has resulted in most of of my reviews getting squeezed in between 3.5 and 5 stars, while 1 and 2 stars are rarely used (I rarely find myself passionately disliking a novel)

There are times I wish I could give 5.5 stars, because it trumps the previous 5 star ratings. Other times I feel like a 4 star rating no longer means anything because all my books are 4 stars.

I’ve been thinking about this for quite some while. I’m planning on changing my rating system so that 3 means good rather than bad.

What are your thoughts on rating a book 3 stars? I’d love to hear and discuss!

11 thoughts on “3 Star Reviews: Good or Bad?

  1. Like you, unless I end up really disliking a book which is rare, I think 3 stars is the lowest I use. I see it as there are some positives about the book, and maybe someone else will like it, but it just didn’t hit the mark for me.

    So basically, 3 stars to me say, the good outweighs the bad 🙂


  2. For me, a 3-star book means an average book … i.e., a book up to the quality I’d expect of any published work. It’s enjoyable, thoughtful, and well-written.

    The difference between a 2- and 3- star book would be the number of irritants. A 2-star book has its perks, but there’s also some pretty noteworthy issues (e.g., one-dimensional characters, poor editing decisions, poor pacing) that take away from the reading experience.

    The difference between a 3- and 4-star book is the “wow” factor. A 4-star book isn’t a perfect book, but it’s quality, creativity, etc. sets it above the average. It’s a book which I might consider purchasing, and definitely would recommend.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I’ve always considered a 3 star rating to be a positive review – readable, interesting, and probably enjoyable but unlikely to be re-read or the first thing to be recommended to someone else (unless it really suits their reading preferences)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I was actually looking back at some reviews I’d written last year, and found myself writing a lot of really critical 3 star reviews, which surprised me a lot. Couple that with the pop-up boxes on Goodreads that suggest what each star rating means if you hover your mouse over a star, and the 3 star rating meaning “liked it” as opposed to “did not like it” or “it was amazing,” I think 3 star reviews SHOULD be positive. They might not be glowing like a five star, but they’re also not negative like a one star.

    It’s made me rethinking my rating criteria a little, and I’m wondering if I should go back and adjust some of my reviews.


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