Top 5 Tuesday || Reasons I Rate A Book 5 Stars

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Are You Trying to Rate a Book 5 Stars?

Well, aren’t we all trying to rate a book 5 stars? That would certainly be nice, encountering more 5 star reads. But what makes something worth that many stars anyway? Thankfully, Shanah @ Bionic Bookworm did the asking this week, and Top 5 Tuesday is BACK with an answer!

So. What makes a book worth all those precious stars to me? My picks today don’t guarantee 5 stars as individual features, but more often than not, seeing them in combination with one another pushes them closer!

Positive Representation

On a personal level, seeing positive, well-written rep for any of my own marginalized identities always strikes me and impacts my perception of a book, usually for the positive. And learning from OwnVoices reviewers of identities other than my own that a book does a good job offering them representation does the same! I think it’s incredibly important to have diverse books out there, and from a variety of OV authors, since no one experience is the same as another. Seeing this carried out well in a book is always a plus.

Plot Twists That Shock Me

If you’ve been around my blog for any length of time, you’ve probably heard that I’m really good at guessing plot twists. Of course, when an author can sneak in a plot twist that both surprises me and makes perfect sense in hindsight, I’m super impressed! There’s a sense of satisfaction to guessing where a book will go, but there’s real joy in only catching up right as the plot twist unfurls!

Masterful Plot Progression

Even if there isn’t a plot twist that hits me in the face like a ton of bricks, I like a solid plot all the same. Make it a tight plot, without any gaping holes, and make it make sense. And when we’re talking series plots, make it tie into a greater arc even when the current problem gets solved! When an author ties all the pieces together smoothly, I tend to boost a book’s rating.

Vibrant Characters All Around

I don’t just mean the main cast (though a lively set of protagonists is always good). I want to see antagonists with full personalities, minor characters who feel like more than props. Hell, the main character’s pet cat should have some personality, too! Really, while not every character can be the star of the show, I love seeing casts that feel fully fleshed out instead of existing as convenient plot props. If they feel like they probably have lives beyond the plot of the book, we’re on the right track.

Enticing, Thriving Settings

If I can keep dreaming about the setting of a book, or even better, imagine myself writing fic set in that environment, the author has aced it. In some ways, setting is its own character, and I don’t want a vague sense of where the characters are. I want to be able to picture it vividly. Sometimes that means knowing every detail, but more often than not, it means being able to fill in the blanks. Give me enough to work with that I don’t second guess the image in my head!


But what makes you rate a book 5 stars? And which books have you given that coveted rating to? Most recently, I’ve labeled Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson and The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen as 5 star reads, but I’m hoping for more this year! Tell me what your latest 5 stars were, though. Let’s chat!

7 thoughts on “Top 5 Tuesday || Reasons I Rate A Book 5 Stars

  1. Awesome post Meaghan !!!! I agree with everything you said… I might be a bit more lenient in the plot department, but I definitely prefer a vibrant and interesting cast of characters I can feel connected to…
    I love the comment about the pet cat because it instantly reminded of a recent 5 star book in which I loved the donkey despite it being just a normal one (no magic) because it meant so much to the main character 😍😍😍

    1. I’m glad to hear we’re on the same page! And yes! The pet doesn’t have to be magic at all. Just show us how much they mean to the characters and that goes such a long way! 🥰

  2. Welcome to Top 5 Tuesday!! And with such a well written post! I feel like you were so much more creative in explaining your reasons than I was lol. Positive representation is a BIG one for me that I sadly didn’t add to my list. Thanks for participating 🙂

    1. Thanks so much, Shanah! I’m actually not new (hi, it’s Meaghan from The Words Gremlin, shiny new site, same old me!), but it feels good to do another topic and get back into things. Planning to do a delayed blog hop this Friday since I have the day off, and see what other folks put down as their top reasons! 😄

  3. YES TO ALL OF THESE THINGS. You explained these so well because I feel all these things are important in how I’d rate a book 5 stars as well but I always have a hard time trying to explain those reasons lol.

    I have to admit that while I love a good juicy plot sometimes I don’t need a great plot to enjoy a story. I guess that’s why I like slice of life contemporaries so much. But a good plot twist is chef’s kiss especially when you can guess it and it MAKES SENSE.

    This was such an interesting topic! Made me think about how I view books.

    1. Honestly, it was hard writing this post! Explaining the ins and outs of something so subjective is super tough. I’m glad you think it came through clearly!

      Haha, maybe that’s why I have a harder time with contemporaries? My brain wants to be SOLVING THINGS lol.

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