Books I rated 4.5 stars, but rounded to 4

Hello, everyone, happy Monday!

Today, I have a bit of a cheeky post that probably won’t make a ton of sense if you’re not on book twitter (sorry about that). I don’t want to rehash everything here because I’ve already spent a lot of time dunking on the author. Instead, I thought I could do something somewhat productive with this discourse, and talk about some books that I rated 4.5 stars and rounded down to four, and my reasons for doing so. Sometimes I love books a lot and rate them 4.5 stars, but unfortunately, you can’t do half-stars on Goodreads. So those books get rounded either up or down, depending on my thoughts and feelings.

So today, we’re going to talk about some of the reasons I decide to round down instead of up!

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay: overall, I enjoyed a lot of the essays in this book. There weren’t any essays I disliked, and I thought they were all well-written. However, I didn’t think the organization of this collection was great, or that it made a lot of sense. It seemed like a somewhat random collection of essays that didn’t really fit the theme of “bad feminist”. So the lack of organization and cohesion is what stopped me from rating it five stars.

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater: this is the conclusion to the Raven Cycle series, and I loved it. I love the characters in this series, and I loved how so many things were tied off. However, I also hated how certain things were dealt with (i.e. Noah). There were a couple plot points (Noah) that were messily dealt with and felt like afterthoughts, and they were some of my favourite aspects of the series. So I couldn’t give it a full five stars, even if I loved it and it made me cry.

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado: I adore this short story collection. Machado’s writing is literally perfect, and her settings, characters, themes, and ideas are amazing. That being said, there were a couple stories in this I didn’t love. One was overly repetitive, one was too vague for my tastes, and one I just didn’t love all that much. So even though I think this collection is technically perfect, my ratings are subjective, and I rated this down.

The Only Girl in the World by Maude Julien: this is one of the most interesting memoirs I’ve read, and I really loved it. But, I thought it ended a little abruptly and I wanted more of Julien’s life after she escaped her family. It also didn’t have as much of a lasting impact on me as some other memoirs I’ve rated five stars, so I rounded this one down.

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami: okay, I completely understand why people love this. It’s weird and interesting and intriguing. It has interesting characters, and everything is woven together really well. It never feels like it’s dragging, despite being over 1,100 pages long. BUT I cannot get over how Murakami writes women sometimes, and there were a couple not great instances in this book. Hence the rounding to four instead of five.

Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins: this book is fun and cute and sweet and everything I wanted it to be. It’s definitely not perfect, and there are some things about it I would change, but I overall loved it. But, those things are what kept me from rating it five stars, and what ultimately lead to rounding to four.

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker: I had this book on my TBR for ages, and finally read it last year. Considering it was 100% a cover buy, I ended up really enjoying it. It’s another one of those books that I consider technically perfect, but that I didn’t love completely. Guess I’m just a tough reviewer who has to fall in love.

Shut Up, You’re Pretty by Téa Mutonji: another short story collection that I really enjoyed! I loved the overall plot of these stories, as they all follow the same character at different points in her life. It was really interesting and well-done. But, like with all collections, some of the stories were better than others. Some I didn’t care much for, even though there was nothing wrong with them. So this is a great collection, and definitely worthy of 4.5 stars, but ultimately, for me, not five.

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman: this book is the only one on this list that I don’t really have a great reason for rounding down. I enjoyed it a lot; the characters are great and realistic, the story is fun, it’s really relatable in a lot of ways, it has great diversity. But, at the end of the day, I just didn’t love it enough to give five stars.

Sadie by Courtney Summers: this book deserves all the hype it got a few years ago. It’s tense and interesting and heartbreaking and a really great read. I had a great time reading this. And while I appreciate the open ending, I wanted slightly more closure.

So, there are some books I rated 4.5 stars, but rounded down to four stars, and my reasons! Have you read any of these books? What were your thoughts? Do you have any reasons for rounding up or down? Let me know!

Ally xx

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16 thoughts on “Books I rated 4.5 stars, but rounded to 4

  1. This is a really interesting post, it’s great to hear more behind your thought process. I keep hearing a lot about Murakami and how he writes women. I’ve only read Norwegian Wood so far but I’m interested in reading more of his works. Which book of his would you suggest I read next?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!

      I think 1Q84 is really fantastic, if you’re ready to brave 1,100 pages! In most versions, it’s split into three different books, which makes it easier to read, but it’s still a lot. I also really enjoyed his debut, Hear the Wind Sing, and the follow-up, Pinball, 1973

      Liked by 1 person

  2. EXCELLENT post! Funnily, I’ve read four of these books and I think I’ve rated all of them 4 stars also! 4 was my most common rating last I checked- apparently I too need to fall in love! Honestly if something holds me back from giving a book that half star, it’s probably going to hold me back from the full star too if I have to round.

    Liked by 1 person

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