Why Star Ratings Are Frowned Upon

You´re probably thinking: “Wait. What? Star ratings for books are frowned upon?”

It´s true. The book universe has changed and with it the book ratings, as well.

Gone are the days where book bloggers express their powerful opinions in form of a skillful rant. Vanished are the times when people were brave enough to just say what they wanted, how they wanted ( in a respectful manner, of course ).

We´ve entered the age of warning labels and controlled speech. Because it´s not nice to say what´s really on your mind. Even if your opinion isn´t harmful… there´s always a little booger  someone who feels offended, mistreated or hurt.

These days, books have trigger warnings and reviews have no star ratings. Why? Well, I think it´s clear as to why certain books have warning labels. But why are reviewers ditching the star ratings? I´ve come up with a few ideas as to WHY.

  • They make no sense to the reviewer / they don´t believe in the system
  • They´re harmful and can influence a reader
  • They´re impolite

Yes. Book reviews with star ratings are frowned upon. But, says who? I could say say the people who´re over sensitive” but that would be hurtful of me. And I´m not out to point fingers at any particular group of emotionally charged people. Not today.

Some time a while back I´ve witnessed the slow death of the star ratings. Book bloggers started changing their review formats. Okay.

But what I also noticed was- Without the ratings I didn´t have a definite idea on what the reviewer was saying.

Because reviews have become modern riddles. “I loved everything about this book” and they go and leave a list of negatives “I didn´t really like this and that about this book.” All in one review without any type of rating or even a recommendation line.  And in the end, I´m sitting here wondering if the reviewer liked the book or not.



Aren´t reviews supposed to help a reader? Isn´t that why people search for book reviews ( or reviews for any product )? They want to read an opinion and see if that person would recommend a book or not. With an opinion consisting of 50% love gushing and 50% negative feedback… am I supposed to sniff out the 2, 3, or 4 stars on my own?

With that being said- Not all book reviews are confusing as hell. There are a few reviews without star ratings that give a clear idea on what the reviewer wants to say. Others, though? *  holding breath  *

So, why do reviewers frown upon star ratings?

I might lack the energy of doing a full blown research party on the topic but I don´t lack observation skills. And what I´ve observed is quite unsettling.

It´s not necessarily the reviewers fault that the star ratings have disappeared. It´s often times the combination of authors, trends and the reviewers.

In my almost 9 years of book blogging I´ve learned ( the hard way, mind you ) that many authors are slightly sensitive. One negative opinion could result in a public emotional outburst. Reviewers can be just as sensitive but on a different level ( that´s a new bedtime story I´ll tackle in the near future ).

This is something I´ve repeatedly seen in the almost 9 years of book blogging:

  • Author receives 1, 2, 3 star review
  • Author throws an online fit and even threatens to kick bloggers off their A – list / and will definitely avoid said bloggers and even warn others of a supposedly negative reviewer
  • Book blogger thinks of ways to express themselves and still stay in an author´s good graces
  • Book blogger decides to wash their opinions in unicorn glitter and ditch the star ratings
  • Author is confused about the positive & negative review ( because one little “I didn´t like..” will be seen as negative feedback ) but keeps book blogger on the A-list


Clever, right? * sigh * It´s not, really. It´s just a way to pacify a moody artist and still keep up a decent online reputation. This is a cycle among bloggers and authors ( not every blogger and author, mind you )

Star ratings only make sense when it´s a 3, 4 or 5 star rating. Anything below 3 stars is just not acceptable. Because why be THAT person and shit on something by giving it 1, 2 or possibly a negative 3 stars? Believe it or not… that´s how 1, 2 or even 3 star ratings are seen. As negative negativity no one wants. No one wants to be associated with negativity.

Living in the “Thou shalt not offend” era certainly makes reviews more interesting as well. Reviews have to be worded correctly, preferably without including a star rating or else….

It´s a trend. One that will hopefully pass soon because these neutral opinions aren´t really working. The reality is: We do not live in a world made of sugar. The key is to be respectful. If someone else can´t live with that then that´s for them to deal with.

I think what the real problem is ( and always will be )…

It´s about the product and not the person behind the product.

Authors fail to see that a reviewer´s opinion isn´t a personal attack just as reviewers fail to realize that they´re not going to hell if they just be more specific in their reviews.

And by specific I mean include either a definite opinion or re – include a star rating in their reviews.

So, like everything else in life, star rating – less reviews are a trend fired off by moody artists and careful book bloggers in a time of political correctness.

As for my own raw opinion on the subject: I like star ratings and like to include them in my reviews. I also highly appreciate reading reviews with star ratings because they help give that final conclusion on the reviewers thoughts. Stars ( doesn´t matter if 1 or 5 stars ) help me understand a reviewer. I also like to believe that my adding star ratings helps my followers.

NOTE: No trigger warning label needed for this post. This is an opinion friendly blog. All respectful opinions regarding the subject are welcomed and will be treated with the same respect in return. ❤ 

Do you agree? Or do you perhaps disagree? How about we agree to disagree? I would love to find out what you think about reviews without star ratings! Do they bother you not? Have you even noticed missing star ratings? Let´s chat. ❤  

Thank you so much for reading. ❤

Sending out much love and positive vibes,

Banner name



25 thoughts on “Why Star Ratings Are Frowned Upon

  1. I agree star ratings should be included in the reviews, it really does help understand the review much better when you can see the star rating.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I completely agree. I have often dealt with guilt when having to write a negative review, but I want to be completely honest with my followers. Not everyone is going to like every book. As long as I feel that I can back up my negative thoughts about a book with specifics, then I feel ok about posting it. I like star ratings for the exact reasons you said.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I´ve heard that many reviewers struggle with giving a negative rating. And it does make sense how that would influence a review but you´re right. As long as you can back up your thoughts with specifics then all should be fine. Thank you for commenting. It´s much appreciated. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I feel as a society, we’re becoming too sensitive to everything. Sometimes it bothers me that PC culture is taking away people’s freedom of speech. I understand that writers and authors don’t want to read negative reviews of their work, but how are you going to get better if you don’t receive feedback?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly. I totally agree. I´m all for giving “nice” negative feedback, the diplomatic kind. Say what you want to say in a respectful way and don´t apologize for your thoughts. As long as no one gets personal ( because that´s just not acceptable on any level ) then there shouldn´t be any problems on either side. I often have the impression that some book bloggers are intimidated by authors ( some, not all, of course ) and also shy away from giving a direct rating out of fear followers will judge them. They´ll love everything they read for the sake of peace. Meeh. We live in a warped world.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you so much for this article, I really enjoyed it! I totally agree with you; it is so important that authors, readers, and reviewers understand that you can still like/love a book but still have some things that could be improved on. Writers need reader feedback! #starratingsforever

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES! Lots of authors have a black / white mind set. Their books are either perfect masterpieces or dumpster worthy. Which is not true. Even my ultimate favorite 5 star reads have flaws. I just choose not to mention them because for me, they´re irrelevant. That doesn´t mean they don´t exist, though, you know what I mean? Oh, shoot. I just realized that that too can be misleading. *face palm* I´m just worried about the unhealthy balance between modern reviews and authors. This whole situation isn´t about winning plus points or hurting feelings. It´s about feedback. Star ratings are a wonderful way to give feedback. Certainly makes life easier. Lol. THANK YOU (!!) so much for reading my article. And for showing me I´m not entirely alone with my thoughts 🙂 #letsbringbackthestarratings

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Only a couple of books I have not rated because I didn’t know how to rate it… The book had good parts and confusing ones. I didn’t know if I was the only one confused. I liked the book in parts but I wouldn’t recommend it so I wanted a question mark to be placed…
    Why are authors the only people who are sensitive? I also get hurt when authors write harsh words to me. I wrote one fiery review. I was abused by the author’s fan and followers for a year, till I stopped comments on that post. Now when I write a low rated review for the bestseller author, I write a note, that I will not tolerate if the author’s friends abuse me…
    I was pulled up by my boss for my work, if I can go through that, then the authors surely can. At the end of it, writing is their profession.
    So I have started rating all the books I read…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh! I´m sorry to hear that you had backlash for your review. 😦 That shouldn´t have happened. In fact- that should never happen. But I know how that feels. I get horrific backlash for my reviews sometimes too ( for no good reason ). You just have to not care about those people ( I´m asuming those were die hard fans of the author?) May I ask which book you receivethe backlash for? ( No worries if you´d rather not share. I understand ) I also understand the issue with not knowing how to rate a book. Some books are just tricky. I don´t know if this helps you but… when I´m not sure how to rate a book I wait ( even if it takes months ) and if that doesn´t help I go for 3 stars. That feels like a love / hate rating to me.

      You can definitely write reviews the way you want to without having to fear backlash ( because it´ll happen or it won´t ). If an author doesn´t like your opinion then it´s their fault, their feelings. Not yours. And love, your reviews don´t need warnings. Heavens…. you have your opinion. That´s a wonderful thing. ❤


      1. It was a Lisa Jewell – then she was gone…. I received comments for a year for a review nobody read. I was new into blogging hence only 2 people read the review and one was the author. But the ‘fans’ kept commenting. Horrifying. I stopped reviewing her books. Not worth the negativity. Well I was alone in that opinion of not liking the book.. The rest 1000 readers loved… Wonder how my review mattered then

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I have never heard of the author before. It’s still a crying shame, though. I call those fans fanatics or passionate nut cases. Lol. Because they’re so invested and can’t see beyond their love for the author / the author’s work. It’s a little bit the same with fanfic fans *shivers* I don’t blame you for not having read more from the author. It’s not worth supporting someone who’s fans will attack just because you have a different opinion. Uugh. Some people need help.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Lmao I don’t use star reviews. It’s because I genuinely have no clue how I feel about the book. I do star rate on Goodreads. And I always want to change it days later lol. The only books I star rate on my blog are ARC’s. Those reviews get a little more effort out of me haha. Because they’re shiny and new so maybe unheard of. Idk. It’s not me being PC or afraid of backlash (I’ve given an ARC a 2 star rating before). It’s really because my opinions are usually not settled.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Now THAT I fully understand. 😉 I have the same problem. So many books just feel like they’ll forever be in the gray zone. One day I’m feeling all 4 star-ish and the next day I want to give 2 stars. I also get why you rate arcs with stars and not the books you hunted for yourself. Lol. That is what happens to most of the books that landed on my tbr pile. I often don’t feel moved enough to read them. 😂😂😂😂 ( insert major eye roll). But I have a strange urge to rate the covers. I feel the indecisiveness. 💗

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I agree. The way I see it, I got grades when I was in school, and I still get assessed by my superiors when I’m at work, so I’m going to apply grades and assessments to whatever it is I’m judging (on my own site, I use the seven-point IB system I was graded with in high school. I still have nightmares about those exams.) There’s nothing worse for an artist than to hear well-meaning lies about their work, because then they’ll never know how to improve. I know it’s hard to read a mixed or negative review of your own work, but it’s necessary to bear such things if you’re putting your work out there for people to experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, exactly. Rating books is nothing different from getting grades. And I agree. It´s hard for an author to read mixed or negative reviews for their work but it´s necessary ( if the review isn´t a colorful rant ). Thanks for commenting. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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