Let’s Talk: Can you rate a favourite book 5/5 stars if you find a problem with it?


With me always scheduling blog posts beforehand, this one is a bit odd because the thing that inspired it was the book review coming on Friday, which you’ve obviously not seen yet.

But, the topic is all about how we rate our favourite books. Because really…

Can we rate our favourite books 5/5 stars if we find a problem in them?


I think we can all agree that a 5/5 star rating is the best it can possibly get.

And yet, the rating is still subjective to each person, which is the main issue when it comes to things like this. If I rate a book 5 stars, it means it’s a new favourite to me. To someone else, it might mean that they found absolutely nothing they would improve or complain about. To another, it might mean both of those things.

But still, 5/5 stars is the best rating you can give.


Again, each person’s reviews are an entirely subjective thing. And I know I’m probably overthinking this.

But I always get that feeling of “should I really be rating this book 5/5 stars if I’ve found a problem with it? That’s a full rating, how can I give that to something that could do with a tiny bit of improvement?” Or maybe I don’t see the issue straight away, but someone points it out and all I can think is “oh yeah. Should I go back and dock my rating?”

To be fair, these thoughts don’t cross my mind for long. In fact, this paragraph will be the longest time I’ve ever thought about it. But still. The doubt creeps in.


But really, those thoughts are only a small dot in my mind because you know what? This is MY rating. It was my experience of reading the book, and my rating system goes off how I FELT during the book, not how critically I think about it.

And put it this way – no book will be perfect. Sure, we might say our favourite books are absolutely-perfect-the-author-can-do-no-wrong-it-deserves-a-shrine, but really, it’s not. It’s perfect TO US maybe, but not to everyone. No book will ever be absolutely perfect. And if following the logic of “5/5 stars means this book can’t be improved”, then 1. that’s a flawed system and 2. no book would EVER be rated 5 stars.

So yes. I think you CAN rate a book a full 5 star rating, even if you find a “problem” within. Because in that, you acknowledge that it’s flawed, but perfect to you anyway. 

Just like most of our favourite characters, AM I RIGHT?

So now it’s your turn!

Do you think you can rate a book 5 stars if you see a flaw in it somewhere?

What do you think when you see someone rate a book 5 stars?

What makes YOU rate a book 5 stars?

Join the discussion in the comments!

Until next time…


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33 thoughts on “Let’s Talk: Can you rate a favourite book 5/5 stars if you find a problem with it?

  1. There are times where I would rate a book 5/5 and then I would read someone’s review of the same book who would have a problem with it. Fangirl was the example I had.

    The problem I had is I would rate it 5/5 but I would have missed the flaws the book has that was probably obvious to everyone else like characters actions could be considered abusive, grammer errors that kind of thing.
    I suppose when you think of it there will be certain books that will be 5 stars for one person but it’s 1 star for another person and trying to think if its lives up to the hype, is it underated, overated, and it is based on certain people’s interests.
    You are not overthinking, I think it is a problem that lots of book bloggers have. 🙂

    Sorry for the essay. XD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t apologize! That’s what these chats are here for 😀

      It’s definitely a strange moment where you see a flaw that seems so glaringly obvious yet you seemed to have missed it. But like you said, all books will have te case of being 5 stars to one person yet 1 star to another. It’s just a case of personal experience really.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too 🙂 Sometimes I’ll look back and think “maybe that doesn’t actually deserve 5 stars”, but even then I have a Goodreads shelf called “old favourites” and I’ll just put them under there instead of changing the rating, just because it was how I felt at the time. If that makes sense.

      I think the latest case with that for me was Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I rated it 5 stars because I was in such a happy bubble to have more and loved it, but now I think I shouldn’t have rated it so high.


  2. Totally agree with it. I rate a book on how I feel as soon as I close that back cover. Even I’m gushing about it and reliving it in my head, it’s a 5/5!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think you can rate things 5 stars and still have an issue with them. Take the A Song of Ice and Fire series: I rated them all 5/5 but I found A Feast for Crows to be sooooo boring. It was still a fantastic installment, written beautifully, and gave insight to other characters/regions – it just wasn’t as good, but it wasn’t bad enough for me to take stars off. I’ll only take a star off if I can’t get past the issue – such as the romance in The Creeper Man. I did not enjoy that at all and so could only rate the book a 4, despite how much I loved it. I’m sure if I it had only been a minor annoyance to me I would have given it a 5.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I think I do the same. The ASOIAF series does drag, but like you said it wasn’t a problem that caused me to dock stars. Maybe because I knew what I was getting into beforehand with the sheer size of each one. But yeah, while you’re reading, it’s quite obvious if something bothers you enough to dock a star. You just get the “UGHHH” feeling whenever you get to a part about it, and feel like you have to drag yourself through.

      PS. I totally get what you mean about the romance in The Creeper Man. I rated it full purely because it didn’t really bother me, like it wasn’t around enough for me to think “ugh go away”. But it just wasn’t needed really.


  4. I’m super guilty of rating books higher than most probably do because I tend to be more lenient with my ratings based on how much a book entertains me. It may definitely have some flaws but if I still found it to be super engaging and fun to read, I’ll definitely overlook its issues. Some bloggers can be really critical but I’m not one of those people. I read for enjoyment and escape so I tend to let my ratings reflect that more than anything! I also will change my rating over time if I feel that initial excitement and interest wear off. I actually dropped a star from The Midnight Star because I realized I enjoyed it less than I originally thought at first, because I let my experiences with the previous books affect my initial judgment.

    Great discussion post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!

      And I’m very much the same! I wouldn’t say I’m a critical reviewer AT ALL. I don’t think through my reviews all that much, I just write about how much the book entertained me because like you said, I read for entertainment. I feel like if I started being to critical about it, I wouldn’t enjoy my books half as much as I do now 🙂 It’s the sort of feeling where every book will have a problem if you go looking for one…so I don’t really look for one. If I happen to have problems while reading, then it’s obvious enough that was just something I didn’t enjoy, so I’ll write about it in my review!

      Liked by 1 person

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  6. You are absolutely right that rating is an entirely subjective experience. So you can definitely rate any title how you see fit. If it meets your personal criteria for 5 stars, then slap them on there!

    I think any book could be argued to have flaws. “Perfect” is not something that truly exists in the physical realm, but is more of an individualized concept. I give 5 stars to titles I will claim as my all time favorite, always recommend without hesitation, and would reread 🙂

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!

      Very true 🙂 If you go looking for problems, then there’s no doubt you’ll find them, because like you said – “perfect” doesn’t exist. But if the book made you feel all the emotions, became a favourite, and is recommendable, there’s no shame in rating it 5 stars!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This is such an interesting post! A book is never going to be perfect, so I am perfectly ok with rating a book 5 stars even if it has some flaws. You are totally right that rating a book is very subjective so I say rate exactly how you feel and don’t doubt yourself! 🙂 Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you 😀

      Though it can be hard not to doubt your own ratings somehow, it IS just the case that it’s your own experience. No one else can tell you how much you enjoyed it. So rate how you see fit 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I agree with you 5 star ratings are definitely subjective to the person, I seem to rate 5 stars alot.
    ‘Hello my name’s Hannah and i’m a high rater’ – haha. In all seriousness I still rate 5 stars if I find like 1 problem with it, if I have a great reading experience and can’t put it down but one thing nagged me then I think it still deserves the 5 stars. I never really rate 2/1 stars unless I absolutely hated the book!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah a 2/1 star rating is pretty rare from me too. I’ll go down to 2.5 if the book was just ‘meh” because that’ll be a half rating, but any lower than that, then I have a real issue with the book!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Ugh, this is such a problem for me! I’ve thought about this before and actually I’m trying to figure out what to do because I also have an issue with enjoying series as a whole more than their individual books. I plan to reread my favorite series again next year and revamp my reviews, but I haven’t actually rated any of the books 5 stars. I think two of them have 4.5 stars and three have 4 stars, yet obviously I think they’re amazing since this will be my third time reading them. But I just don’t know if I can bring myself to give a book 5 stars if it isn’t perfect?! Maybe your post will give me the motivation to stop being so stingy with my 5 stars lol.

    But like you said, ratings are all subjective, they mean different things to different people, etc., so really I think everyone can rate how they want.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I have no problems with people rating books 5 stars. It’s okay, but if they rate most books that they have as five stars, I can’t really trust thier reviews as I am a picky reader. But to me, it’s pretty hard to rate a book 5 stars and the most I give one is 4 1/2.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m the same, I won’t trust someone who rates most of their books 5 stars. Sure, it’s great if they enjoy them that much, but it makes me wonder if they ever think critically or notice problems.


  11. Ahhh this post speaks to me so much! I doubt myself so much! I will read a book that gives me such a good feeling, so I start rating it 5 stars.. but then when I write the review I pick up on things that could be improved, making me want to lower my rating. That, and my brain can’t grasp the concept that something can ever be 5 stars. Nothing is that perfect, right?! I’m trying to learn to be freer with my ratings, but its so hard!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where I’ve thought ‘this is perfect. Every single word is perfect.’ I don’t think that book exists, and like you point out, it’s entirely subjective. I see the star ratings as a reflection of how much I enjoyed a book rather than a measure of its perfection. I see the review itself as the place to offer a meaty critique and then the rating as more of a personal, emotional response.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Agree! I feel a five star rating from me connotates that the book met and exceeded my expectations, I will remember it, and I will read it again! I loved it and I am a fan. It goes on the favorites shelf, 95% of the time at least.
    Four stars mean I liked it, but it’s not the be all end all and I will remember it but not gush over it. It was enough for me. Three is usually the lowest I give unless I really really hated the book. Three means I got through it, it was painful, but I could read it. It didn’t suck but wasn’t my thing. Probably forgettable.
    I wonder if anything will ever get two or one…we will see, I guess. Might be too generous, but our ratings reflect our feelings. Love this topic: thanks for broaching it. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank YOU!
      I love seeing how other people use the star ratings, because I feel like I use lower ratings much more than other people 😆 Like a 3 star rating to me is “good but not great” – a bit like you where I got through it, though I wasn’t particularly excited about picking it back up again, even though it’s enjoyable. A 2.5 seems to be my limit to “bad rating” – if it only gets a half rating, it didn’t do great at all!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree! It’s exactly how I think of rating my books…I vacillate between three and four most of the time, for mediocre books, but it’s hard to go lower than that. So I’m glad we feel similar about our ratings. I noticed that when reading your blog!

        Liked by 1 person

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