How I Rate Books In The Five Star System

“The Holland System”

When I read a book, I evaluate it in five major categories I call the “DEETS”.  Typically, this results in a 300 to 500 word well-rounded review.

  1. Dimension– Are setting descriptions adequate? Does the world the author has created feel realistic given the setting? Are characters well-developed, three dimensional, and relatable? Do they behave believably and in context?
  2. Execution– Predictability vs. Unpredictability. Originality. If written according to a tried and true formula, was the formula well executed? Was the writing style enjoyable? Did dialogue flow well?
  3. Experiential– Were the themes meaningful? Were there emotionally evocative scenes? Did I enjoy reading it? Did I personally connect with the characters, themes, and overall material?
  4. Technical– Grammar, spelling, punctuation, and formatting.
  5. Structural– Was the pacing appropriate for the story? Did any sections of the book drag the pace down? Was the plot well-constructed and delivered? Was there an identifiable climactic scene? Did the plot make sense? Was the ending appropriate for the story?

How does that translate into a 5-star system on Amazon and Goodreads?

I give each category a star rating and then rate the book based on the overall average. Here is how I understand the meaning of each star:

1 star= Poor. Needs improvement across the board.

2 stars= Meh. Fair. Needs Improvement in a few areas. This is a good start but needs revisions.

3 stars= Good. This is a solid product. I enjoyed it. I don’t feel money or time have been wasted. It could stand to be improved and polished.

4 stars= Very good. Overall, I enjoyed the book, although there may have been a change or two I would’ve liked to have seen.

5 stars= Excellent. I deeply enjoyed it exactly as it was and wouldn’t change anything about the book.

As Amazon and Goodreads do not presently give the ability to issue half-stars, my star rating will be rounded to the nearest score. This means a 3.5 star book and a 4.4 star book are both given 4 stars.