Explaining Our Rating System

This post is ever so slightly belated, considering our first post went live over half a year ago and we’ve done 4 reviews during that time (which, now that we mention it, doesn’t actually sound like a lot), but I hope at this point you’ve realised ‘better late than never’ is our life motto and we will live and die by those words. 

giphy (1)Forever our vibe

So here’s a breakdown of what we really mean when we hand out those hard-earned stars, and examples of books we’ve given each rating to!


Let’s start with the positives, shall we?

5 stars

Ngoc: This book is perfection. It’s art. *chef’s kiss*. Watch me bully everyone I know and love into reading this book/listening to me rave about it. If I find out that you love this book as well, we are now besties whether you like it or not 😛

Books I’ve given 5 stars to:

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Nish: You know when you are on the last page of a book, and you read the last sentence, and then sit back in awe, wondering when it’s sane to read it again? That’s it. I used to think it had to be a book that was technically beautiful in language or structure, but I’ve re-evaluated and recognised there are middle or young adult books I would give five stars simply because of how they make me feel. If a book falls in this category, I will use my limited student funds and buy this book for you, so you too can experience nirvana in the written form.

Books that deserve 5 stars and more:

mara dyer time keeper wintergirls

Ngoc and Nish: And though not pictured (for their sheer magnitude), our 5 star reads also includes every single Cassandra Clare book to exist. Period.

chefs kiss

4 stars

Nish: I loved this book, but there was just something missing that made it fall short of 5 stars. Usually it’s that I’m not super happy with the ending (I am SO picky about endings), or a character’s arc went wild, or the plot was a bit too predictable for my liking. Regardless, I still loved it, had a great time with it, and may consider it a contender for one of my many re-reading slumps (honestly someone help me from re-reading please).

Books that deserve 4 stars:

amy rogers let it snow obsidian

Ngoc: This book is still great and I will most likely still be hassling my friends, colleagues, and potentially unsuspecting pedestrians to read it. There were probably a few things that I thought could’ve been done better – maybe the ending was a little too convenient (or it went the other way and left things way too open,) or the MC was a little annoying, or it wasn’t the page turner I was expecting it to be. Definitely no dealbreakers here.

Books I’ve given 4 stars to:

220px-To_All_the_Boys_I've_Loved_Before_cover  16068905  1325686621angelfall

3 stars

Ngoc: This is the rating with the biggest variation for me – either I had some major issues with the book/themes/characters/writing (but I can still see why other people would enjoy it) or I had a good time but the book was lacking some oomph. Basically, 3 stars from me means you can either expect a slightly salty review or a lukewarm positive one.

Books I’ve given 3 stars to:

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Nish: If you ask me to describe the plot of a book and I can’t, or I can’t name at least two main characters – it’s because that book has left my mind. Not good, not bad. Total meh factor for me. To all my fellow Good Place friends, this book belongs in the Medium Place.


Books that deserve 3 stars:

 we were liars a dog's purpose abundance of katherines

2 stars

Nish: Prepare yourselves folks, we’re starting to get a little bit salty now.


Ngoc: Let’s put it this way. If I had the option between doing 100 burpees or re-reading this book, I’d go for the 100 burpees. A 2-star rating means I thought there was something majorly problematic – such as glorifying the cheating trope, or glossing over important issues (seriously, either don’t do it, or if you bring it up, then do it well).  The only thing that saved these books from getting a 1 star is that although the writing was problematic, the messages weren’t outright harmful (which is a very dangerous line to walk, my friend).

Books I’ve given 2 stars to:

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Nish: The difference between 2 star and 1 star ratings are that while 1 star makes me mad, 2 stars make me disappointed (I feel like such a parent rn, I’m not mad but I am disappointed lel). There was POTENTIAL for this book to be good. There was a thread of an idea but the execution was so poor, or the characters were so awful, or the writing was that of a sleep-deprived toddler. I probably would not do 100 burpees (because I am not fit and would die) but I would voluntarily do my grade 4 piano exams again instead of re-reading this book – chords and ALL. Yep I said it.

Books that deserve 2 stars:

unnamed 220px-The_Selection 91dmyCghEkL

1 star

bad place

Nish: Oh boy *laughs manically*. This book is PROBLEMATIC. I endured many screaming sessions regarding this book, 99% of which Ngoc has to hear (Ngoc pls confirm how many times I’ve ranted about After to you). My advice is do not read, do NOT read. In the off chance the apocalypse does hit – and with COVID-19 it may not be far off – I will round up all these books to sustain us as fire kindle.

Ngoc: I do not take 1 star ratings lightly. A 1 star rating means that if I happen to be walking down the street and I see you with this book, I will plough into oncoming traffic to stop you, because whatever injuries I will get from being run over by a car pales in comparison to the trauma I got (and you will get) reading this book. Also can confirm that Nish rants about After as much as I rant about The Notebook. 

Books that we collectively think deserve 1 star:

  after 91zJVleq31L 43819068._SX318_


Let’s chat!

Do you guys use the 5-star rating system or a 10 point rating system? How do you feel about half star ratings?

Also in these stressful times, we (as medical students) can’t proclaim to know anywhere near what the doctors or other specialists do, but regardless, we hope you’re all washing your hands, socially-distancing yourselves with your favourite books at home, and you and your families are safe as can be.

With love,nishandngoc

28 thoughts on “Explaining Our Rating System

    1. I actually love reading about other people’s rating systems & how they’re similar/different to mine! Especially since I used to give star ratings just on the ‘feeling’ I got when I finished a book – I’d basically put the whole weight of the rating on the ending 😂

      Looking forward to seeing your post! 😍


      Liked by 1 person

  1. bullying everyone into reading your 5 star rated books is an absolute Mood. (i’m ridiculously intrigued at the ‘time keeper’ i read one of the author’s books a very long time ago and i still remember how impactful it was)

    i feel like most books are 4 star reads that are great and entertaining in so many ways but then fall short somewhere or just dont //FEEL// like that perfect 5 star read.

    ahhhh why would anyone EVER want to do 100 burpees 😭😭 hahah that’s a direct draggg. i’m sad to see ‘conversation with friends’ on the 2 star list (i’ve heard so much mixed reviews about it) but hey totally agree with you on ‘again but better’ that just….wasn’t it.

    FALLEN WAS SO BAD FDKLFJALK i hated it when i read it and i hate it now.

    this was a great post and it was really interesting to see both of your takes on the book rating system and the books that you feel fit into those categories!! (also hope youre both staying safe!!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mitch Albom is one of my FAVOURITE authors. Every book of his I have read stays with me for so long after I read them.

      Ngoc could honestly handle doing 100 burpees she is scary fit. I would honestly die if I had to.

      Fallen was SO BAD RIGHT. I read the whole series. Don’t ask me why.

      Thank you for reading and commenting!!

      💚 Nish

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yesss me too! It’s always so interesting, especially because I feel like the 3 star rating has the most variation between readers 😛

      Awww thank you so much, Emma!! So glad you like it!! 🥰

      💛 Ngoc

      Liked by 1 person


    – I’ve got to stop being so melodramatic –

    But seriously, I love this – especially your chef’s kiss gif. *Wags eyebrows* ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. UM THIS COMMENT GAVE *US* LIFE!!!! You should 100% do this as well – we’d be interested to see which books you gave each rating hehehe 😉

      Ahahaha you always pay attention to our GIFs & we love it! We spend about 80% of our time finding GIFs & 20% of time writing the actual posts 😂

      💜Nish and Ngoc

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Haha I love the sass in this post! I would say I rate books in a pretty similar way. Five stars is amazing. Three stars is average, I didn’t hate the book but there was some *oomph* that prevented me from really liking the book. I rarely give one star ratings (I can’t even think of the last time I did so), so when I do I found something seriously lacking in the book. I’m sad to see that the 29 dates merited this for you though– I have a copy of that book and I was planning to read it soon. Ahh, well. XD Lovely post :))

    claire @ clairefy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha thank you!!! Yes, fortunately neither of us hand out 1 star ratings on the regular either, but I just REALLY didn’t like 29 dates 😂I feel like some people might think about it differently though, so defs still give it a shot if you already have a copy! 😀

      💛 Ngoc


  4. oh my god this post is everything 😂 but honestly I wouldn’t do 100 burpees because I just can’t hahahaha. I love this breakdown of your rating system and can definitely relate to it! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HAHAHAHA I’ve never done 100 in a row either, but I’ve done 50 (and almost died) & I *still* honestly think I would take the 100 over any of my 1-2 star reads, any day 😂

      Thank you so much for reading, so glad you enjoyed it! 😘

      💛 Ngoc

      Liked by 1 person

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