I’ve written before about rating books. I’ve discussed what my ratings mean, why I don’t give half stars, how I feel about 3-star ratings, and even rating non-fiction. But I’ve never really talked about how I decide on a rating for a book.
Almost as soon as I start reading a book, I get a feel for the tone, the characters, and the amount of details the author is going to provide. Usually by page 50 I have a general sense of what my rating will be. If I’m really into the story, and I don’t want to put it down, it will likely end up being a 4- or 5-star read. If I’m enjoying it, but it’s not blowing me away, it will likely get a 3-star rating. And if I’m bored, lost, or hate the characters, it will received 1 or 2 stars from me.
As long as something crazy doesn’t happen in the middle or the writing style doesn’t completely change in the middle, I will stick with my original rating. Reading the “meat” of the story almost always re-enforces my feelings about the book.
I hardly ever change a rating based on the ending of the book. But the ending can mean the difference between a 4- or 5-star rating or a 1- or 2-star rating if I am on the fence. Since I don’t give half stars, I am sometimes stuck in between two ratings and need some final bit of information to push me one way or the other. The ending may do that.
How do you decide on your ratings? Do you just get a general feel like I do? Or do you have a more elaborate systems? Do you ever change your mind mid-way through a book?
Feature image from picjumbo