Three-Star Ratings: Good or Bad?

Oh, the dreaded, much-debated-about three-star read. 

If you’ve been in the book community for long enough, I’m sure you’ve seen the disclaimers that many book bloggers and booktubers give out, hands in the air in surrender as they are slammed by fans of books that they gave three stars.


But is this true?

In my opinion? It fully depends on who rated it.

There are no hard-and-fast rules to ratings. Everyone who rates a book has their own standards and their own rating system. I include mine on my blog in case someone doesn’t want to read my full review and just wants to know, quick and dirty, what my thoughts are.

For me? Three stars means, in short, “just ok.” It wasn’t great and it certainly wasn’t mind-blowing, but I also didn’t DNF it.

This is all true… for me.

Many reviewers have a much stricter rating system than I do, and vice versa. 

This is why I feel this argument, whether three stars is good or bad, really shouldn’t be an argument at all

Because the answer is different for everyone.

I will say that no reviewer should be attacked for their opinion… and I think that is where the true issue lies.Yes, we all wish that everyone loved the books we are obsessed with just as much as we do, but guess what? That will never happen.


Because everyone has different tastes in books. And is that really such a bad thing?

I fully support mature discussions about differences in opinion when it comes to ratings. Or even non-douchey rebuttals to someone’s gripes about a book. 

However, when a reviewer is attacked because of a three-star rating (or any rating, really, good or bad), it absolutely baffles me. 

Though to be fair, many things about internet trolls baffle me, but that is a discussion for another day.

Anyway, here is my unsolicited advice: If someone’s three-star rating rubs you the wrong way, do one of two things:

  1. Skip it and only read the five-star ratings, because clearly seeing those two empty stars is just too much for you to handle


  2. Read. The. Full. Review. Before you lose your mind. Chances are the person may just have a different rating system than you do. 


(Or you could just do what I do when I see a low rating on a book I love: roll your eyes and say out loud to yourself, “Pffft… Who knew an opinion could be so wrong?”)


15 thoughts on “Three-Star Ratings: Good or Bad?

    1. Same. I also just don’t get the point of being cruel. Especially with book reviews. I guess it’s the whole internet troll thing, though. People are big and bad when they are behind a screen.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Yes!! I’ve seen 3 star reviews where a reviewer talks about how much they disliked the book. And 3 star reviews where they talk about how much then enjoyed it. It’s so relative and nothing to get mad over 😅 3 Star books for me are just average, middle of the road books. I enjoyed my time reading them but I’ll probably never going to think about them again.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post and definitely something to think about! I did unfollow some blogs recently that ONLY GAVE 4 and 5 stars, and that kinda bummed me out as well.

    I do give all kinds of stars and I also included a special page on my blog about my rating system, this is what it says about 3 stars:

    I liked this book! Wasn’t the greatest ever, wasn’t horrible too. Just in the middle. It wasn’t hard to finish this book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally understand how you may not fully trust people that only give 4 and 5 stars, however, I will say that *most* of my reviews are 3, 4, and 5 stars – more often 4 or 5 – mostly because I’ve gotten really good at choosing books that I’ll like. Also, I will DNF a book within 20% if I’m not enjoying it, and I don’t rate books I don’t finish. But, again, that’s all just how I do things. I read for fun and by my mood… and I don’t read a lot of ARCs, I think all of that helps with higher reviews.


  3. There have been some 3-star books that really stick with me! The way I judge books, a three star read has some really great elements, but also definite flaws. It might mean I can see that the author has tons of potential, but is still growing as a writer. Anyway, I think that people should just relax on this topic; it’s such a minor thing to complain about.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post! I only get confused by people who say how much they love a book and then rate it 2 stars. 3 and I probably wouldn’t even notice. This is more on Goodreads without long reviews. Other than that, it’s really personal for each reader and I don’t think anyone should ever be attacked. And yes, I think 3 stars is still good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, absolutely. I’d definitely be super confused by someone saying they really liked a book, then rate it 2 stars. I think i’ve only ever rated one or two books 2 stars because if I dislike it that much, I won’t finish it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve been lucky. My book has 4 and 5 stars but if a 3 came by it wouldn’t bother me. I’m at the point where I want to see what I missed with that particular reader. Maybe they saw something that could make my next book better.

    As always, excellent post. Thanks!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great talking points. For me 3 stars is a take it or leave it read, wasn’t bad, wasn’t amazing. The ironic part is, with ANYTHING online that is reviewed I ALWAYS read the 3 star reviews because they tend to be the most honest. They tend to hit both what was liked & not liked. Typically 4 & 5 just rave and 1 & 2 just rant…3s, that’s where the gold lies and helps me make the best decisions if I want to read a book or buy a product!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve never thought of it that way – but you’re absolutely right! To get a genuine review, I’d imagine 3’s are the most honest – talking about the good and bad. Love that insight.

      Liked by 1 person

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