Using Stars in Reviews: Yay or Nay?


I’ve seen this discussion once or twice, and wanted to get my thoughts out on it.

Does using stars in reviews lessen the overall meaning behind it? Or does it simplify it in a way that people can understand your thoughts behind your reasoning better?


I thought the best way to do this post was using pros vs cons. I also thought it was worth mentioning that, if you’ve followed my blog at all, that I use stars in all of my reviews, except short stories. So I may be a little biased.



  • Gives a simple, well recognized opinions
  • Most people have connotations for separate ratings
    • i.e. : one star – it sucks, two star – it wasn’t good, three star – it was okay, etc.
  • You’re explaining your rating (and connotations) for the review instead of rambling about everything that comes to mind.


  • People often skip reviews to see the “final rating”; don’t actually read the review
  • It doesn’t give specifics
    • i.e. : don’t know if it’s problematic or not
  • You could have rated a book three stars, but the reader doesn’t know why unless they read the entire thing.



  • More in-depth reviews
  • People can’t skip the review down to the rating
  • The review is more based on explaining the thoughts of the reviewer rather than explaining the rating


  • People might skip/click out of the review without seeing a rating
    • i.e. : the review might be too long, they get bored, can’t skim it for the information
  • You may or may not end up rambling
  • Big blocks of text tends to scare off readers

Although it’s a personal decision, I use stars in my reviews because, even though people might skip the review because of the rating, I still think it does give an accurate idea as to what I liked and disliked.

What do you think? Do you use stars in your reviews, or do you skip the stars and write what you want?

8 thoughts on “Using Stars in Reviews: Yay or Nay?

  1. Personally, I like it. I can have problems articulating my thoughts, so I think it is really beneficial for there to be star ratings at the end. I might have a lot of criticisms in my review, but still give it a high rating. I think that the star rating makes it clearer as to how I felt about the book as a whole because I might focus more on the critique than the praise in my review. Same for books with praise but lower ratings.

    Also, because I started reviewing on Goodreads I’ve been conditioned to expect star ratings and giving them it essentially automatic.

    • That’s exactly how I feel! I’ve seen people write reviews without using stars, and thought it would be an interesting topic to broach. I also started on Goodreads, so that’s probably why I feel so comfortable with the stars.

  2. I think of my star ratings as an additional way to rate a book. Like I’ll talk about what I liked and disliked in the text part of my review and the stars are a bit of a summary to help people with where I rank it overall. This probably falls a bit under the “explaining star ratings” point but I don’t really see it that way? I guess it’s more that as a non-native speaker I use it to make sure that people get what I’m saying about how I liked the book…

    • Yes!! People use the stars for different reasons, I just used bullet points for the ones I could think of. Stars help people realize how much you actually liked/dislike, while the actual review is your thoughts, and not just liking/disliking. That sound right?

  3. I personally like including a rating right at the beginning of my review so it’s the first thing people see. If all they want is the rating, good for them, I don’t blame anyone for not reading an entire review! If they are interested, they will read on whether I have a rating or not. 😛 I also don’t really explain my rating explicitly; I never say ‘this was a 3-star book because of this’. I just say what my thoughts are and it usually makes the rating pretty obvious. I only ever explain myself when I rate a book 4 stars, because then I usually write a positive review that doesn’t mention anything negative, so I like to include the reason why I took off a star at the end of my review. 😃

    • I always put my rating at the bottom of my review! I wonder if that also affects readers? But yea, I agree with you! With four stars, I always make sure to mention that something didn’t click, or that it simply didn’t blow me away like other five star reads.😁

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