5 Ingredients That Make Up A 5-Star Rating

A 5-star rating is the best rating a book can get. Everyone has their own way of rating books so a 5-star rating might mean slightly different things in different situations but generally, 5-star ratings mean the book was really good! 

As a book reviewer, it’s important that I have a rating system so that authors (and other readers) can understand what my ratings mean.

Here’s my rating system:

1 star – Did not enjoy it, was not engaged, would not recommend it

2 stars – There were parts I enjoyed but overall I didn’t enjoy it, probably won’t recommend it

3 stars – It was okay, good plot but lacking in some parts, might recommend it

4 stars – Pretty good, would recommend it

5 stars – Wow, it was amazing! Definitely recommend it


Always looking for 5-star reads.

As a reader, I always want to read a good book. 5-star books leave me feeling full, satisfied, and happy. I love it when I can’t stop thinking about a book after it’s finished or when I’m constantly wowing at how great it was. 

When looking for books to read, I’ll always check Goodreads – I usually like to pick up books rating 3.5 and higher. Although there are (rare) times where books are rated pretty low but I disagree with the rating and end up loving it.

I want to write a 5-star book.

As a writer, the goal is to write a book that readers love. This is definitely not an easy task! Everyone has different expectations, preferences, and needs so it’s not possible to please everyone. Despite this, I find it helpful to know what you enjoy as a reader and implement those things into the book you write.


I realize these 5 ingredients will be subjective and different for different readers but through the many books I have read, I noticed a trend – there are always the same few things/feelings I get in books that I end up giving 5-stars. 

Books I rate 5-stars don’t have to have all of these things but they’ll usually have at least one.

Here are 5 ingredients that make up a 5-star rating:

  1. Depth and more depth

The best books have a main plot and then several other little plots within. They aren’t just simple stories of characters going from point A to point B; they include struggle, character development, and backstories that create depth.

  1. Heartstring tugging

This one is mainly for books with romance in them. The difference between an okay romance and an immersive one that sucks you in depends on how believable it is. You can’t tell me he likes her and expect me to believe it – show me through their actions. Show me through her blushing and shyness. Show me through taking me along with them and making me feel the burning passion they feel.

  1. Tears being shed

Yes I like to cry. Books that make me cry are honestly an automatic 5-star for me. If words are able to bring to life emotions so raw and real that my body has a physical reaction, that is art.

  1. Believability

The characters and situations need to be believable and fit with the book genre. Sometimes things happen that just don’t make sense but the best books have settings, characters, and situations that are all explained and seem reasonable.

  1. Plots that twist

Plot twists. There doesn’t need to be many of them but the right amount of them can really make the difference between an okay book and an amazing book. Of course, it’s always best when the twists are unexpected, unpredictable, and mind-boggling. The best books give me a feeling of satisfaction when I’m done – it’s like a breath of fresh air.


Writing about these ingredients makes me want to pick up a good book and just read! Do any of these 5-star ingredients resonate with you? What ingredient makes a 5-star rating for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Published by Andrea's Book Corner

Lover of books, book reviewer, book blogger & YA fantasy author in progress! WIP: Project Arenegedden

8 thoughts on “5 Ingredients That Make Up A 5-Star Rating

  1. Great post. My rating is much like yours. I consider a 3 star a good rating. It means I liked it. A 4 star means I really liked it and a 5 star is for those special books with that x-factor.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really like your 5 ingredients. It has really got me thinking about the personal narratives I write. Also yes, any book that makes me cry is an automatic 5!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I rate books a lot like you and I always check Goodreads when looking for a new read as well. Unfortunately, a lot of times I hate the books everyone else loves. I guess I’m a bit of a picky reader. Although, also like you, if a book can make me cry it definitely gets a higher rating. Thanks for sharing your 5 ingredients!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post! I have a very similar rating system to you, although I think I might need to fine tune it a bit more and have more of a checklist like you do. I definitely agree with all 5 of your ingredients. Thanks for sharing x

    Liked by 1 person

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