Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Why I Hate Starred Reviews

I post all my reviews (snippets of them, anyway) on Goodreads, and yes, I do mark the stars. But I hate doing it.
I hate picking a number for a book.
I will, but I never do on here (well, I used to back in like 2011, but I stopped).

To me, books are unique entities that don't really have the same scale as other books. Lots of books are better than others, and some literary fiction I read is definitely more thought-provoking than some of the YA books that I read. But that doesn't mean that I like them any less or that they're written worse than any other books.

There are poorly written books, but I'm not afraid to give those bad ratings. What I don't like doing is giving YA books I love and I think deserve a high rating (I recently read the Selection series) a lower star score simply because they're not The Great Gatsby or something similar.

I rate books on several things, the most important being my level of enjoyment. If a book is well-written with developed characters, a believable world, and an interesting conflict, chances are I will enjoy it a lot more than a book without those qualities.
As I've been writing this I am realizing it's a lot of the same topics as to why I argue for YA. Just because it's not literary fiction doesn't mean it's not good and thought-provoking and interesting.


And it's why I don't like stars for reviews. 5 stars can be given for so many reasons, and I'll do it, but I don't do it by comparing. Each book is its own self, and I judge accordingly.
I really love Hannah's method at So Obsessed With where she says she's "so obsessed" or "so okay with it," or similar phrases. These are more open and less restrictive than stars, which I love.

Fight against the stars!

What about you guys? Do you do starred reviews on your posts (somewhere that doesn't have an explicit star system and is one that you just like to use)? Am I crazy in not liking to use a rating system?

10 comments:

  1. I use a star system at the moment but I'm planning to move away from it. I hate trying to do it on Goodreads so I really don't know why I'm still doing it on my blog.

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    1. Haha I just never know what to pick on Goodreads. And I feel like many books I read I'm "okay" with, but that rating is two stars, and it seems so low!

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  2. I actually like using stars, but I can totally see why some people would really not like it. It's definitely a restrictive system that isn't always the BEST, especially when it comes to comparing different types of books, like classics vs. YA vs. literary fiction vs. chick lit, etc. Personally, I just try to base it on what genre it's in vs. trying to compare every book to The Great Gatbsy, like you said. Because that's just never going to work! If it's a REALLY GREAT YA book, it's going to get 5 stars, whether or not it's "technically" better than a classic that's also worth 5 stars.

    I really like Hannah's system, too! Personally, I sometimes have trouble knowing what to do with reviews that don't use stars haha. Like sometimes, depending on how vague the person is, it's hard to tell how much they did or didn't like it. Star ratings can be helpful to give an at-a-glance idea of a reviewer's thoughts about it. So if a blogger isn't going to use stars, I much prefer something like Hannah's system where at least you can kind of tell where they are on the sliding scale of "I hated it" to "I loved it."

    GREAT post, Cassie! :)

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    1. Thanks! :)

      And I know that a lot of people rely on stars, so I always try to do some sort of summary sentence at the end that definitively says whether I loved it or hated it. I may try and come up with my own little scale or something, but that's a future project.
      And I totally agree, stars definitely help at a glance, and I use them when deciding what I want to pick up next, but I hate the comparisons people make across different genres.

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  3. I agree. I never use the star system on my blog, only on goodreads and it would be better if you could do half stars or fourth stars or something. I dont always feel like a certain book fits a certain number. Oh the struggles of trying to rate books....

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    1. Yes! Half stars would be so helpful!
      (I have seen reviewers that use like .8 and .2384 which I think is a bit ridiculous, but halves would be wonderful!)

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  4. I tend to agree with you that stars aren't an adequate reflection of what I think of a book. For me I use the star ratings more as a general indication of how much I liked the book, but my review goes more into depth then the rating. When reading reviews of others I also pay more attention to the rveiew itself then the rating, although I do think that ratings are an easy way to quickly see how much someone enjoyed a book.
    I also find it difficult to choose favourites or say which book I liked more then another, because each book is just so different and it seems difficult to compare them. Great post!

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    1. I hate when people ask me what's my favorite book! I want to just shove 250 books at them and be like THESE! Read them all!

      Thanks for stopping by!! :)

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  5. I recently switched up my review system and I no longer rate books. I'm really glad I went this route :)

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    1. Me too! A few years ago I switched over, and I'm so happy I did. My reviews feel more honest this way, and I don't feel as stressed trying to rate something when I don't believe it should really be rated.

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