Bookish talk · Discussion · Personal thoughts

Do you always write reviews for 1-star books?

Last month, I received a book and happened to stumble across the author on Instagram that same day. I followed her and immediately thought, “Wow, she seems like a really nice person.” She liked a couple of my posts, I liked some of hers.

Fast forward a couple weeks. I read her book and…

I feel I have legitimate reasons for disliking the book, but I was immediately nervous about publishing a review. Because the author seems nice and posts pictures of her really cute cat and I don’t want to hurt her feelings and ahhhhh.

But the fact remains: I didn’t like her book. Like, at all.

I went ahead and wrote the review anyway. Because I can’t keep my opinions to myself, of course.

But it got me wondering about my fellow book bloggers: Do you ever avoid writing reviews for 1-star books? Why or why not? 

I mean, we all know that you can’t make everyone happy. Especially with books. I can say confidently that the books I love with a fierce and fiery passion are on other people’s “Hated It” lists.

I also know that writing a book is a really personal thing. I have not written a book myself yet, but I have agonized over the idea that when you write something and release it to the world, people will judge it. (Warning: That post is very long and rambling and you can tell I’m slightly insecure about my own stories. Slightly?! I’m getting better, though!)

I know that writing a book is all-consuming: it eats up your time and your heart. I get it.

I have seen other bloggers say that they never write 1 star reviews because they don’t want their blogs to be a place of negativity. I understand, good for them, and all that.

But if you’re okay with dabbling in a little negativity, your opinion as book reviewer matters, doesn’t it? We would all like to help people find books they love and avoid the ones that we think are bad, right?

We obviously shouldn’t write reviews in which we insult the authors themselves. Because that’s a crappy thing to do and you don’t want to be a crappy human. I think that’s clear.


So TELL ME: Without being Regina George, do you always write reviews for 1-star books or do you sometimes avoid them? Either way, WHY?


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This post is also posted to the 2017 Book Blog Discussion Challenge, hosted by Feed Your Fiction Addiction and It Starts at Midnight!



16 thoughts on “Do you always write reviews for 1-star books?

  1. I think you’re right that our opinions as reviewers matter, I personally don’t write 1 star reviews because if I gave a book that rating I most likely did not finished it…and that rarely happens…we all have our rating systems after all. I do publish 2 star and above and I will certainly say what I liked and what I didn’t when it comes to everything that I read (Always being respectful of course, I hate when people destroy something like it was a crusade when in reality it’s just a matter of opinion)


    1. Yes, “crusade” is definitely the right word. As if they can make other people NOT read it. I definitely believe that books are subjective. Do I have good reason for feeling the way I do about certain books? Yes. But could other people react to this book differently? Absolutely. A lot of people seem not to understand that.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. yup very very bad reviews make me very nervous because I know how hard it is to write a book and I don’t want to discourage anyone, especially new authors but I do post the ones for books that I think I dangerous like “Thirteen Reasons Why ” Great Post!


  3. I have and will continue to rate a book how I feel. I have posted and wrote 1 star reviews before. I share what didn’t work for me and if their was something I did enjoy, I’ll also mention it. I also mention at the end that even if the book didn’t work for me that if they find it interesting to give it a try. We all have different tastes. Not everything is going to work everyone. We are all different.


  4. I mean, I rarely give 1 star ratings. But I don’t like writing negative reviews. If it’s a review copy from NG or some other place where a review is required, I just write them though. If it’s directly from an author, I mention in my policy that I may choose not to review a book if I rate is less than 3 stars, so it would depend on whether I feel I could write the review w/o being mean or if it would really be helpful or whatever. Same for if it’s not a review copy, it just depends. But I tend to not review books I dislike when they’re not review copies unless I can tell it was a “me” thing and think other people might still enjoy it.


  5. Oh wow, I’m sorry you ended up in such an awkward position! 😦
    I don’t think I’ve ever written a 1 star review, but I think that’s because I’m way too lenient with my star ratings. A book I absolutely hated I think I gave 2 stars to, which is a bit ridiculous when I think about it!
    Morally though, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with writing low star reviews. Your opinion is your opinion, and as long as you aren’t insulting the author then it’s fair enough. As an aspiring author myself, it does make me feel a bit bad for authors when they get low reviews, but as you say, you can’t expect to please everyone when you release a book out into the world. There have been books I’ve absolutely adored as well that a lot of people have hated, and it’s just personal opinion.
    Great post! 🙂


  6. Oh man. Yeah, that’s awkward and unfortunate. But, yep, I do 1 star and DNF reviews on my blog. As a blogger– especially when I take a review request– it’s to give my opinions no matter what they are. I won’t attack the author themselves but will explain why I disliked the book. Honestly if ALL I see on a blog is glowing 5 star reviews I’m going to quickly take them off my blog roll. I have a hard time trusting blogs like that.


  7. Yeah, well, this might actually make me a cruel bookish human but I actually enjoy writing negative reviews. Of course I do my best to not to say anything attacking authors, because on the other hand I get that getting your book hated by someone might feel personal enough without having to be DIRECTLY attacked. And besides there’s no need for it, really. Because that’s just being rude.

    But yeah, I have written two or three really negative reviews and the experience is honestly liberating. If I pick up a book, I want to love it, of course. And if I end up hating it, I’m going to be really, really mad. So the negative review is like an outlet for all that fury XD


  8. I haven’t posted a 1-star review on the blog yet. In my review policy, I said that I will give 1 star to books that I have reasonably DNFed. But I am a masochist so even if I am not feeling a book, I trudge on so that’s my problem. I am such a wuss that I have a draft of a review with two-star rating that I am still dreading to post.

    Interesting post and insight.


  9. I pretty much write reviews for all the books I read. For me, a 1-star review means I DNF’d it, which is VERY rare, but a 2-star review can be pretty negative. I hate to be negative, but I feel like I should be honest about my opinions. Honestly, though, most of my reviews are 3.5 stars and above.


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