Hi, cuties ! The wonderful Rukky @ Eternity Books has created a very cool weekly meme called “Let’s talk bookish” and as promised on my Bookstagram Account, I’m going to talk about the controversy of 1 star reviews in the Book community.
It’s no secret that 1 star reviews are controversial when it comes to book ratings. There have been a few incidents, where Authors didn’t react very kindly to negative reviews, and I want to talk about wether 1 star reviews are fair or not. Is it ok for Authors to act rude towards a reviewer ? And is it ever okay to rate an ARC with 1 star ?
So here is what I think: The purpose of a review is to be helpful for readers all over the world. A really helpful review definitely has to include some sort of text. The negative and positive aspects have to be pointed out and the reader should be able to understand why that book was rated the way it was. Mere star ratings aren’t helpful and tend to be disregarded by the reader (at least by me). Reviews are also feedback to the author of the book, and if done correctly are really useful. If the review consists of constructive criticism the majority of Author’s really appreciate that and use that information for their next books.
I emphasized that mere star ratings aren’t helpful and I’ll add something to that: Star ratings in general aren’t a good system for books. For me a 3 star book is great, for other Reviewers 3 stars mean that it’s average, and so the system can get problematic. Of course there is no way around it, if you review a book on goodreads or amazon (or any other Platform) you’ll have to use star ratings, because that’s the system that has been established over all these years. If you have a Blog, you can of course play with the system a little bit more. I know many Bloggers, who over the years dropped star ratings completely and just focus on writing a good review.
The best way to write a review is to really point out the negative and positive aspects, try to include who would enjoy this book and why it wasn’t suited for you or why you really loved it. Reviews don’t have to be long, you can write a few sentences, but the reader and the author have to understand your rating system.
So 1 star reviews, in my opinion, are definitely okay. If they don’t disrespect the author in any way, shape or form and if there’s a basis as to why so many stars were conducted, then it’s fine. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion and it takes courage to write a negative review,-no matter the star rating. I personally don’t like to rate a book with 1 star, even if I hated the book, because I understand the pain of Author’s who see 1 star ratings. However, that’s just me and my way of rating books. If other reviewers want to rate books/ARC’s with 1 star, they should go ahead and do it. But please,- explain why !
Lastly, I want to say that Author’s normally take criticism in a good way, but there has been an incident lately, where an Author absolutely didn’t appreciate a 1 star review and kicked out the reviewer of the author group, followed by a block on Instagram. Now, this of course, rattled the book community and I can understand why. Even if the Author was hurt, or didn’t accept the points mentioned in the review,-that action was disrespectful and in no way okay. And this is why so many Reviewers are afraid to post negative reviews in general. It’s not about 1 star ratings anymore, now books,-especially ARC’s,- have to be fantastic and have to have 4 or 5 star reviews. So many Reviewers just ignore pet peeve’s or bad writing, they gloss over bad character development, because they feel entitled to write a positive review. They fear, that they won’t get any ARC’s anymore, or that the Author might react negatively.
To conclude, every review should be accepted as an opinion and as a statement. 1 star ratings shouldn’t be controversial, every reviewer has their reasons to rate the book the way they do it. And everyone,-be it reader, reviewer or Author, should take everything with a grain of salt 😉