Starfish at Water Edge

Bettilou’s Book Rating System

Author Bio

Since book reviews express opinion, I decided to set a 1-5 starfish book rating system that will help me express my overall opinion consistently. Please understand that I refrain from reviewing a book I have never read.

After I do read a book, I ask myself, “Do I want to recommend this book to someone?” If I do, I start the rating from 3 starfish upward. If I do not, I use 1 or 2 starfish.

Book Rating System Guide

Vain Attempt: The book bothered me so much that I almost gave up and threw it in the trash. Inaccuracies filled the pages, and the author’s style lacked interest. Too bad the author could not have harnessed time to better use.

Barely Adequate: I kept thinking this book had possibilities. Like a 1-starfish book, its awkwardness confused and frustrated, despite author efforts to keep things straight. I did complete it, but nothing profitable came from the time I invested.

Reasonably Pleasing: The author handed us a satisfying piece of work. The concepts fell short of originality, but the writing style provided some enjoyment. I might recommend this book to someone.

Engaging Content: I enjoyed this book, and got caught up in it. It’s not perfect, but the research, powerful words, and message kept me thinking. I definitely recommend it. Two examples of books I rate at this level: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis.

Life Changing: This well-thought-out book addressed a matter so important that ignorance or indifference to it could affect my life. I reread, and put it into practice. I strongly recommend this book. Two examples: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie and What is a Biblical Christian? by Albert N. Martin.


Like people, books seldom fit our boxes exactly. We cannot evaluate either people or books with precision. When I review a book that seems to lie between two rating levels, I choose the lower level rather than sever a leg from the starfish. Then I comment on the difference. Example: A 4-starfish rating may include a 4.5 starfish comment.