Eight Low-Rated Books I Enjoyed

I recently saw Cristina from Girl in the Pages do this post and knew I wanted to join in! I hopped over to Goodreads, sorted my "read" shelf by average rating, and looked for books that fit the bill. I stuck with eight, like Cristina, because I wanted to make sure I focused on books I gave a four or five star rating. I planned to define "low average rating" as 3.55 or below – but I went up to 3.64 because it gave me more variety. Here's what I found:

1. BITTERSWEET BY MIRANDA BEVERLY-WHITTEMORE [Average Rating: 3.44 • My Rating: 4] – This book completely shocked me! I found it suspenseful, cinematic, and thought the author really captured the vibe of a Gothic mystery. I was a little surprised by the average rating because I remember being hooked, but I don't read a lot from this genre so perhaps I was more easily impressed. I have no plans to re-read, however, so who knows how I'd feel now.

2. COCOA BEACH BY BEATRIZ WILLIAMS [Average Rating: 3.47 • My Rating: 4] – I'm sad Beatriz Williams qualified for this list. I was definitely surprised that this book's average is so low! This is more of a psychological thriller, and I know that's a departure for Williams. I wouldn't disagree that it's one of her weakest, but I still really enjoyed it overall. The tension just built and built to a conclusion that left me shook, as I told Kelly.

3. SOMEDAY, SOMEDAY, MAYBE BY LAUREN GRAHAM [Average Rating: 3.5 • My Rating: 4.5] – Was my love for this book influenced by my obsession with Gilmore Girls? Maaaaaybe. Did I feel more invested because I could relate to the heroine overanalyzing everything? That's a strong possibility! But for whatever reason, I just really loved this book. I think it was begging for a sequel, but that didn't diminish my enjoyment in the least.

4. THE FIRST HUSBAND BY LAURA DAVE [Average Rating: 3.53 • My Rating: 4] Kelly recently read this book, and I prefaced my recommendation with fact that it's been seven years since I read it. This was my very first book review on the blog, and my taste has changed so much since then. But I have fond memories of it and intend to re-read it soon! I'm hoping that I still enjoy it just as much as I did the first time. We shall see!

5. MYSTIC SUMMER BY HANNAH MCKINNON [Average Rating 3.55 • My Rating: 4] – I thought McKinnon's first book was just okay, but Cassie convinced me to give this release a shot. Thankfully, I enjoyed it a lot more – though I'm not shocked this has a low average rating. I loved the setting! it would be a great companion at the beach or pool, but it was missing a little something (that I can't quite identify) that would have made it a favorite.

6. STANDARD DEVIATION BY KATHERINE HEINY [Average Rating: 3.55 • My Rating: 4.5] – Honestly, I'm not surprised that this book has a low average. It's a more literary than what I'm used to reading and there's almost no plot to speak of, but I just fell in love with the quirky characters, the dry humor and compelling writing. The slow pace was part of its charm for me, but I can totally understand how this book wouldn't work for other readers.

7. ELIGIBLE BY CURTIS SITTENFELD [Average Rating 3.61 • My Rating: 4] – I was curious about this book's average rating and expected it to be on this list. I think this got a lot of publicity when it was released – partly because Sittenfeld is a well-known author and partly because the book is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice. I thought it was a clever modernization, but there were things about it that won't work for everyone. Austen purists beware!

8. GIRL BEFORE A MIRROR BY LIZA PALMER [Average Rating: 3.64 • My Rating: 5] – This doesn't quite count as a low rating, in my opinion, BUT I still included it because I love the book so much that this average was much lower than I expected. It's the type of book that I'd typically dismiss, if it wasn't for the fact that my love for the author made me pick it up. I loved the storyline, the characters, and the profound lessons they learned along the way.

What low-rated books have you enjoyed?
Have you read any of these yourself? What did you think?


  1. I haven't read any of the books on your list, but I love this post idea. There are probably many low rated books that I've loved too.

    1. I'm glad you loved the post idea! When I saw it going around the book blog world, I couldn't resist joining in.

  2. Eligible was the first Pride & Prejudice retelling I read, and it kind of got me hooked on them! Beatriz Williams is a favorite of mine; Cocoa Beach wasn't my favorite, but I still enjoyed it.

    1. I love Pride and Prejudice retellings, too! There are so many awful ones, but I can never resist. Do you have any favorites? I'm always up for more recs! And yes, I adore Beatriz. Cocoa Beach wasn't my favorite of hers either, but I still enjoyed it too!

  3. I really liked Bittersweet too! I love the idea of this post and am considering taking a look at my own shelves! I can see it could be tough to pick books for it though, since 3.5 isn't really all that bad of a rating -- though with aggregate stats like that, earning a super low rating overall is actually probably more difficult to do than you'd think!

    1. Yes, I'd love to see you do this post, too! I definitely struggled a bit since I haven't read a ton of stuff with truly low ratings (like below 2) -- and what I have read in that category was typically something that I didn't enjoy. But I figured I could generally interpret it as books with lower averages than I'd expected / that I seemed to like more than others.


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