Five Reasons I Rate a Book Five Stars

Top 5 Tuesday is hosted by the wonderful Shanah @ Bionic Book Worm.

Yay! Top Five Tuesday is back with such a fun and interesting topic. I will admit, I have never put too much thought into my ratings because I don’t actually give star ratings on this blog, but I do on Goodreads! I have started to be more thoughtful about my ratings and this topic has helped me think about what makes a book a favourite.

Character Development

It is no secret that I am a character-driven reader. The plot can be action-packed and original but if I feel no connection to the characters I just cannot become invested in the story. I am a fan of all kinds of characters from quirky to morally-gray to unlikable. I just need them to be well developed and I need to understand their motivations. Some characters who stand out to me are Vivian (City of Girls) and Ove (A Man Called Ove).


I would be curious to know how many times I have used the word “atmospheric” on this blog. I love any book that has a strong sense of place. I like when an author is able to transport me to the setting of their novel- it is such a hard thing to pull off. Two books that instantly come to mind are The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden (I could feel the chill in my bones) and Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller (the heat and tension was suffocating at times).

Lasting Impact

There have been a few cases where I initially rated a book less than five stars but as time as gone by I came to appreciate it more. There are some books that I just need to sit with for awhile before my true feelings come to light. There are also cases where I finish a book and I instantly know it is one that I am going to think about for a long time. A couple examples are The Water Cure by Sophie Macintosh and The History of Bees by Maja Lunde. I really enjoyed them both but time has made me fall deeply in love with them.


You know when you put a book down and it has you thinking about questions about life? I especially love when a book brings up moral and ethical questions that have been asking myself what I would do in certain situations. These are the kind of books that have the power to change me in some way. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro and All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews are two such books.


If a book causes me to react in a physical way, whether that is through laughter or through tears, chances are I will rate it five stars. That usually means that I have deeply connected to a story. I will admit that it is not a that hard for a book to make me cry, but I do read a lot of really sad novels. It is rare that a book makes me laugh- I find humour is so subjective! Tin Man by Sarah Winman is a book that turned me into a puddle on the floor and The Humans by Matt Haig was so hilariously charming.


23 thoughts on “Five Reasons I Rate a Book Five Stars

  1. Character development is a big one, I actually just wrote a blog post about how critical good characters are! John Hughes, the director of Ferris Bueller’s Day off, said “It’s not the events that are important, it’s the characters going through the event.” And that’s something I swear by in my books. It’s all about Zach and Abby.

  2. I love it when it takes a while for you to really fall in love with a book. I get that with movies too, takes a couple of days for it to really impact me. I have The Water Cure on my shelves, can’t wait to read it!

  3. Bear and the Nightingale is absolutely one of my favorite books to date! It has affected even how I write, as in my author voice, because it’s that good.

  4. I’m with you on the crying bit. If a book makes me cry, it usually checked off a few of the other things beforehand, and then delivered a moment where I really felt something. Admittedly, I cry easy for movies, but I don’t think that’s the case for books–only special books get me.

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