I’m an avid GoodReads user and advocate of the app. I love everything about it – even its not so modern interface. It has been a great tool to not only engage with other readers, see their reviews and what they want to read. It has been great for me to track my progress in my annual reading goal. I’ll admit when it comes to books, I can either be over-generous or very harsh when it comes to those star ratings. I buy into the hype, and if it doesn’t live up to it, I can reflect that out of 5. There are also books I enjoyed but didn’t give a five-star rating, although on reflection, should have since I’ve spent most of the year raving about them. So, I thought I would share six books that have fit those categories for me, and I’m hoping to turn this into a series further down the line.
Books I’ve Rated Higher
The first is The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Carrea. This is one of my top five favourite books in 2018 yet; I only ranked it four stars at the time. As the months have gone by, I’ve consistently recommended this to people because it was so vibrant and heartbreaking at the same time. I regularly go on and on about how I love books that can evoke so many different emotions and this ticked the box. I’ve gone back and rated this five stars because I believe it’s truly worthy of a home run.
Another book I rated four stars was Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, and all I can think of is why? Why did you do that Amy? Ng’s writing in this book is stunning, so well executed and shows how the death of one person has a ripple effect on everyone around them. When I finished it, I found myself taking a few days to pick up another book because my mind was still fixated on how beautifully haunting this was. Another four changed to a five.
The next book I rated higher was Normal People by Sally Rooney. You can see my full review here. To be quite honest with you, the book really is just about Normal People. There isn’t any huge plot or significant developments within the book, but it does tackle many issues that are prevalent in today’s society. I rated it 3.5, going more towards a three but now, I’m giving it a solid four mainly because I can’t stop thinking about it.
Books I’ve Rated Lower
Sometimes, it isn’t until I reflect back that I realise how unforgettable some books are. With that being said, when that happens, I always look back at the rating I’ve given them at the time and think it is a little generous. Here are three books I feel fit that category.
The first is a much-loved novel – This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel. Claude is the youngest of five brothers. When he grows up, he wants to be a girl. His parents realise that this isn’t a phase and take Claude’s decision to want to be a girl someday very seriously and support him. But the family keep it a secret until one day, it is out there. The book tackled the subject of someone who knows from a young age that they are trans, the effect this has on the family and the challenges that come with the judgement from others. I rated this four stars, but on reflection, I’m knocking it down to three. My reason being that the ending felt too abrupt and I couldn’t help but feel like it was rushed. None the less, a very interesting book but not as great as I thought.
Next up is Laura and Emma by Kate Greathead. I used to follow the Belletrist book club run by Emma Roberts, and this was one of the monthly picks. I rated it three stars but looking back; I didn’t connect with this book at all. Laura is from a wealthy family in New York City and a one night stand results in the birth of her daughter Emma. The book documents life as a single mother and in later chapters, their relationship with one another. Overall, the book was boring. Nothing much happens, and although this might sound contradictory to have re-rated Normal People despite that not having a huge plot, the difference is the writing, and unfortunately, Laura and Emma lacked that element. Two stars is my final verdict.
Last up is Snap by Belinda Bauer. This was my first novel by Belinda, and after being swept up in the Man Booker hype, I decided to pick this one up. On a warm summers day, a mother is in her car with her two children when her car breaks down in the middle of the motorway. She goes to seek help and never returns. The premise sounded SO good. A book I felt was entirely up my street but, it fell flat, and I was bored through the majority of it. I rated this a three but again, putting this down to a two. I have actually recommended someone not to buy it which for me, says it all.
This is my first-time re-ranking books on Good Reads, but I think this will be something I will do going forward – maybe just once every six months. Sometimes, it is easy to get swept up in a book at the time and look back and realise it wasn’t as great as you thought at the time. Same with other books that you thought were alright yet can’t stop thinking about or recommending to people. Do you go back and rate books? I’d love to know your thoughts at always below, or you can tweet and Instagram me your views. Thanks for reading.1