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WARNING: Some bad words might be used in the following post. Don't say I didn't warn you!
Besides the regular rating, I also am a firm believer in half stars, if you use the 5 star rating system. For me, there's a big difference between a 4 star rating and a 5 star rating. Besides the quality aspects in the story and characters, a 5 star book means I'll definitely be rereading it at some point, a 4 star read I might reread, and anything under doesn't usually end up in my reread pile. However, there are subtle details, small things that will make a book better than a 4 star read, but not quite a 5 star read. It's difficult to explain, and it's usually little things that make me go for that extra half star.
Does that mean ratings don't count? No. Ratings definitely count. BUT. I like to take into account what that reader or that reviewer considers a 5 star review and then go from there when trying to decide if the book in question might be something I'd enjoy, based on a reader's rating.
That being said, I am rarely shocked by a book getting certain ratings, be they high or low. Each and every one of us is a single individual with things we like and things we don't like, things we have in common with others and things we don't. It's only natural that a book will find its perfect reader. This is why I have so many erotic novels in my Read shelf on Goodreads. At the same time, we also evolve as readers. For example, if anyone had told me, 10-12 years go, that I would enjoy reading anything other than erotic romance books, I would have laughed in their faces. And yet here I am, reading mysteries, thrillers and YA books and loving them.
While I do believe that ratings are a great way to categorize books and to make you figure out what is popular and what isn't, I think it's important to remember that ratings have always been and will always be subjective, and each and every one of us has different ways to interpret them. It's why we might love an "underappreciated" book or series (take my deep love for Beautiful Creatures) and why we might be the black sheep and dislike "hyped" books (me and ACOMAF).