If you follow me on Twitter, read some of my monthly wrap-up posts or listened to me whining on Twitter DMs (for those of you who had to undergo that torture, y’all are saints and I have absolutely no idea how you handle me), you know my struggle of not being able to find a five-star read this year!
Which is absolutely tragic, and honestly hurts my soul.
This post is going to actually talk about it, and dive into why I think it has been so difficult to find a 5-star read and just further delves into those factors.
My Own Struggles With Perfection
See, I think a lot of this (by this I mean the difficulty in finding a 5-star read) is both to do with myself, and my own high standards with 5-star reads. Unlike many in the community, I have a fairly small TBR (my Goodreads TBR is less than 200 books, much of which has been removed through the Down the TBR Hole meme), and am therefore extremely selective with the books I do pick up, with a large chunk of the books I do read having extreme potential to be a 5-star read.
This becomes especially true when I pick up those reads: because as hard as I try to lower my expectations, I am one of those people who is not good at lowering their expectations, and thus gets disappointed easily.
When you group that with the fact that I have MANY perfectionistic qualities and am
pretty much a perfectionist myself (which is something, to my surprise, I have just discovered and labeled. I shock even myself sometimes).
A little bit of a personal anecdote here: I love perfectionism, and it makes me happy, but it does get to the point where I can recognize it’s unhealthy. And this perfectionism mostly comes out academically. I pour HOURS into assignments, procrastinating on them to get the perfect phrase and submitting it right before the deadlines. I get genuinely annoyed at group members as I feel that they don’t have the work ethic (and to be fair to me, many of them don’t). And probably the most tragic thing? I can’t remember the last thing I was truly and only proud of.
^ literally a mood with this post.
Critical Reading + 5-Star Novel Criteria
First off, I’m going to link to Marie’s amazing discussion about being a critical reader and asking yourself whether you’re critical enough when reading, because so much of it resonated with me and it was just a fantastic post in general!
(While we’re on the topic of Marie, I want to say that her new blog is gorgeous, and if you aren’t already following her, you NEED to check her out. I love her and her blog so much ❤️).
When you make the transition from reader to blogger/booktuber/bookstagrammer/book tweeter, Goodreaders etc., you will definitely undergo through a process where you become far more critical with what how you read and review books.
All the little things that completely missed your attention are things you have to pay more attention to, such as the more technical aspects of novels, e.g writing, characterisation, and development, quality of plot, etc so you can provide comments about those parts.
I felt, and still do feel, that if I constantly gave books 5 stars, my opinion will lose its trustworthiness and credibility since I did not have more mixed ratings.
I thought that lower ratings = better critical reader, which I should have realised earlier that it is really not the case at all!
So, while for others, this change came in the form of having lower average ratings as a whole, but personally, it manifested in me becoming a lot more selective with what I consider a 5-star read.
I may do a whole separate post on critical reading and how it has affected me and such, because WOW I feel myself going into a tangent?
(Which, by the way, we really don’t want to happen.)
I mean, really.
The Romanticization of the 5-Star Read in the Community
I think a lot of my high expectations has to do with how many of the community views (and in my opinion) romanticizes 5-star reads as this perfect book that they are absolutely obsessed with.
Before being active in the community, I would rate any book that I loved as a five-star read when it was more so of a (maybe?) four-star read.
(Quick) disclaimer: I just want to make it clear that I’m not trying to blame the community for this at all. But this is something I do want to talk about, and I apologize in advance if I hurt any one’s feelings.
But as many of you know, people will believe things if they are told a certain message again and again.
And in this case, it manifests in how everyone gushes about you know, that new, amazing, 5-star book that they just found and how they are obsessed and how it is perfection, you know, the usual. They don’t mention any flaws about these 5-star novels, so the thinking that a 5-star novel has to be perfect and amazing has been ingrained into my head.
When coupled with my own standards of perfection, this makes my personal standards for 5-star reads absolutely skyrocket and makes reads unlikely to hit that 5-star label, which effectively sets it up for failure, almost.
Honestly? It really sucks. Because ultimately I (like all of us) read for enjoyment and because we just love reading. And since I haven’t found a new favorite in a while, it just makes me really sad because I genuinely want to find a new favorite book.
I want to obsess over that new book that I just discovered I loved. I want to scream about it with all of you guys on Twitter (if you haven’t followed me on Twitter, yet, well, here’s your chance 😉). And I’m just super sad that I haven’t had the opportunity to yet!
But hopefully, that magical unicorn of a novel will come. Soon!
What are your thoughts on my crisis? Have you ever felt anything similar or related in any sort of way? What was your last 5-star read, and what books would you recommend that I read in the hopes of having it be a 5-star?
Also, for all you teen book bloggers/booktubers/instagrammers/tweeters/Goodreaders etc! Tweet me here on this Tweet if you want to be included in a post about teen bookish influencers (?) I’m putting up in May.
(I really need more people, so please Tweet me. I will love you forever.
I already do though.)