Books I Love that Have Low Ratings on Goodreads (Part 1)

I used to put a lot of weight in to Goodreads ratings, but over time I have come to discover that I often disagree with the average rating.  This truly highlights one of my favourite things about reading- no person reads the same book.  We all have different tastes and interests, and that is what makes talking about books so damn fun! Here are a few of the books that I have read and loved that have low average ratings on Goodreads.  There are so many that I couldn’t fit them all in to one post, so look out for a part two!  I am also planning on sharing books I didn’t like that have high ratings on Goodreads.

My Week with Marilyn


Goodreads Rating: 3.36

My Rating: 4

Maybe it is because we share a birthday, but I have always had a fascination with Marilyn Monroe.  I truly believe that she is someone who was taken advantage of and was misunderstood.  Her story is a tragic one. My Week with Marilyn is a true story and I thought it was an interesting look at who Marilyn was as a person and of the movie industry itself.  The movie was also excellent. I do questions the author’s motives however. It does seem like another person using Marilyn for fame and fortune, which seemed to be a common theme in her life.

The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh


Goodreads Rating: 3.45

My Rating: 4

I have to say I was quite surprised to find that The Water Cure had such a low average rating. I think a lot of this comes down to how the book was marketed.  These days any feminist dystopian novel is instantly compared to The Handmaid’s Tale, which I think does the book a disservice and misleads the reader.  I think that The Water Cure is much quieter than The Handmaid’s Tale and it is very character driven.  This is a book that develops very slowly and quietly reveals its sinister nature. It is an interesting look at the relationship between sisters. The writing is beautiful, and this is a book that I have grown to love more as time goes on.  I am even tempted to up my rating, which I rarely do!

Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks


Goodreads Rating: 3.46

My Rating: 4

I think that short story collections are always going to be hit or miss.  There will be some amazing stories, and some not so great ones.  That makes them very difficult to rate.  I also think that having Tom Hanks as the author of this collection set expectations high. These are not the kinds of stories I was expecting from him, but that is kind of why I loved it.  I appreciate that he wrote across a variety of genres, from contemporary to Science Fiction.  My only gripe was that I felt that his female characters could have been more fleshed out.  I am curious to see if we will see more from him in the future.

The Ensemble by Aja Gabel


Goodreads Rating: 3.49

My Rating: 4

The Ensemble is a book where I can kind of understand the low ratings.  It is certainly not a book for everyone as it is extremely character driven and the pacing can be slow at time.  That is exactly the kind of book I love, but know that does not work for some people. I loved that the book centered around music, and that we followed the same characters over many years.  We saw how their relationships with one another changed over time, and how they develop as people.  It was completely fascinating to me!

The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook


Goodreads Rating: 3.49

My Rating: 4

Now, I have to say that I have not read a lot of YA thrillers, but I thought this one was a lot of fun.  There were so many twists and turns that left me speechless.  Skye can be a completely frustrating character, which might explain the low reviews, but I kind of loved her for it.  I mean, she is a teenage girl who got caught up in an unbelievable situation- can you blame her for not making the wisest decisions all of the time? I noticed that most of Eileen Cook’s books have mixed reviews, which I find really interesting.  I am curious to read more from her.

The Wedding Date by Jasime Guillory


Goodreads Rating: 3.51

My Rating: 4

I kind of understand the low ratings for this one.  When it comes to contemporary romance, The Wedding Date is more quiet and not a lot happens.  I think that is part of the reason why I enjoyed it so much.  It felt like so damn real.  I know that a lot of people get frustrated when conflicts could have been solved simply by talking to one another, but doesn’t miscommunication happen a lot in relationships, especially at the beginning? It is difficult to be vulnerable when you are first getting to know someone.  There is much more that I loved about this book- the fake dating trope, the food, and the respective steamy scenes.

Transcription by Kate Atkinson


Goodreads Rating: 3.55

My Rating: 4

I believe what worked in my favour in this case is that I have never read anything else by Kate Atkinson.  I went in to this one with absolutely no expectations.  I know some of her other works are beloved and that is a lot to live up to.  I thought Transcription was quite clever, and I appreciated the refreshing take on WWII.  This is another case where I think the marketing has set up the reader to have certain expectations.  You hear the phrase “spy novel” and you expect an action-packed adventure, which Transcription certainly is not.  The spying that Juliette is involved in is actually quite boring, but lead to some interesting interactions.

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins


Goodreads Rating: 3.55

My Rating: 4

After the huge success of the author’s first novel, The Girl on the Train, there was great expectations for Into the Water.  It would be nearly impossible to meet those expectations! In my opinion, Into the Water was a better and more interesting book.  I am definitely in the minority in thinking that.  I completely understand why other people who not click with this one.  There are so many characters that it can be very difficult to keep track of who is who.  It takes awhile to get the hang of it. I appreciated the tone and the atmosphere of this one.  I did not see the ending coming, even if it felt a little rushed.  I am curious to see what Paula Hawkins comes out with next!


I would love to know your thoughts on any of these books! Also, what is the lowest rating book on Goodreads that you actually enjoyed? I think that is very interesting and a good reminder to not put too much weight in to average ratings. kkbLogo

36 thoughts on “Books I Love that Have Low Ratings on Goodreads (Part 1)

  1. Interesting! I don’t think I’ve read any of the ones on your list. But for me, Kasie West’s book ‘Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss’ on Goodreads is rated 3.62. But I rated it 4.5 stars.

  2. I love the idea for this post!! I’ve been thinking about that too, I like Goodreads and check it a lot to get the gist of what a book’s like, and I get a little wary if the average rating is under about a 3.5. But recently I read a book that was nearly a 5 star for me and it was like a 3.1 average or something. I kind of couldn’t believe it…some of the things the bad reviews complained about seemed so minuscule to me. It made me realize what you said, we all read the same book so differently. Thanks for sharing these! My Week with Marilyn sounds interesting, I always loved her too.

      1. Same…I read the negative reviews and see what their issue was and can usually tell if it’s going to bother me too. Giving them a chance anyway was such a good lesson to learn.

  3. I’m curious – why do you consider three stars and a half stars to be a low rating?? It’s not a rave review, but I’d say that’s for a book you read and sort of like but aren’t crazy about?

    1. I consider three to be a pretty average rating. I personally give books I thought were okay three stars. But a three star average rating on Goodreads is low. It’s rare that you will find a book with an average under three stars. From conversations I have had with many readers they won’t read books that have an average rating of 3.5 or under on Goodreads.

  4. This is a great post! I have odd tastes. I mean yea I can fall in line with the majority but a lot of times I hate books that are best sellers and really take to books people pan. Glad I’m not the only one.

    1. Thank you. I so relate to this. There is a very specific type of book that I love that is very slow paced, descriptive, and character driven that I know a lot of people don’t like. It’s interesting trying to navigate your way through all the books out there and figuring out your personal taste.

      1. Agreed! That is what makes great art though (in any format). If your art doesn’t invoke strong reactions one way or another, you are doing it wrong. The key for us who internalize said art is to respect that we can all love or hate that art. It isn’t a personal slight against each other.

  5. This is such a fun idea for a post! The Hanging Girl actually sounds so good, I love realistically messy teenage girl protagonists.The lowest rated book I’ve read and enjoyed is also a thriller, but an adult one called Bradstreet Gate (2,73). I get why people hate it, it’s got the worst set of unlikable, pretentious self-involved characters, but I kind of like thrillers about awful people. Even though I would’ve hated a contemporary book with a cast like that one.

    1. Thank you! That book sound interesting. I can also get behind a thriller with unlikeable characters. The lowest rated book I read was Almost Moon by Alice Sebold. It has a 2.68 rating and I gave it one star. Not recommended lol

  6. This is a really fun idea for a blog post-I must admit I don’t really pay attention to goodreads ratings once I’ve marked down my own. I really enjoyed Atkinson’s Transcription too, Juliet was an amazing character.

  7. Oh I like the idea for this post! There are quite a few books that I love that have middling to low scores on Goodreads. And sometimes I let those scores put me off from reading some books on my TBR, like The Wedding Date. I’ve wanted to read it, but I’ve been procrastinating because the score’s kind of low. But I’ve heard enough people say that it’s actually pretty good, yourself included, so I hope to pick it up sometime this year! I’ll be needing a good contemporary this summer 😀

  8. To me, Uncommon Type was like a statement piece. The writing is just part of it. The fact that Hanks tries to reject modern technologies/advocates for us not to forget older technologies and wrote each story on a typewriter is what makes this collection special.

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