Should Gifs Replace Star Ratings?

Due to an unknown error, I’ve had to repost this post! Apologies!

If you’re anything like me, choosing how to rate a book is almost as hard as overcoming the traumatic death of your favourite character. Okay, maybe it’s just a little easier than that. It can be so hard to decide how to rate a book. I mean, what if you loved it, but not as much as some of the other books you’ve rated five stars, but there wasn’t anything you could fault about it in order to rate it four stars? What if you found a book pretty meh, but you’re not sure whether three stars is too generous or two stars is too critical? What if you’d just rather curl up into the foetal position and try not to think about how tough your life is as a book lover?

But today, I think I’ve found the solution. Instead of using stars, I suggest that we all commit to using a gif to summarise our feelings. I mean, there are endless gifs—surely there’d be one to fit your every need. Gifs are a way of sharing our feelings in one succinct moving picture that can convey more than an entire paragraph of gushing or ranting. So here are the pros and cons of using a star rating, compared to a gif, to rate the books you read.3

Star Rating


  • It’s the universal language of all book lovers. It’s basically like the original emoji. It’s so easy to skim a review and then skip to the star rating and decide whether or not it’s a book you want to pick up. Convenience for the lazy—ahem—busy ones of us. Right?


  • HOW DO I EVEN RATE THIS BOOK? Five stars? Four? Maybe I’ll just cry instead. Literally, why is that decision so hard? You’re picking between five numbers, maybe even choosing .5 or .75 if you’re someone that’s extra, and somehow that decision feels like the end of the world. WHY?!
  • Goodreads still doesn’t have half-star ratings. HOW HARD IS IT TO ADD IN THAT FEATURE?! What if four is too high and three is too low? What am I going to do? Write 3.5 at the top of my review like I’m basic? NO. I REFUSE. I’LL JUST HAVE TO PICK A NUMBER AND COMMIT TO IT.
  • Not all stars were created equal. I’ve rated countless books five stars, but some of them I prefer more than others. AND THAT’S BECAUSE RATINGS AREN’T NECESSARILY EQUAL. You couldn’t just scroll through my Goodreads page and pick out a five star book at random, thinking you’ll love it. Maybe I just really appreciated that book. Maybe that book was phenomenal for what it was trying to do, but not one I feel like pushing into everyone’s hands right away. And that’s okay! Not all star ratings serve the same purpose—and that’s what makes them so controversial at times.




  • There are so many to choose from! Maybe you want to convey that this book killed you emotionally, so you have a gif to represent that. Maybe you want to tell potential readers that this book is an absolute snooze-fest—I’m sure there’s a gif for that. No longer do you have to be restricted to a numerical system; the only restriction is your ability to find the perfect gif to express your emotions.
  • If a picture says a thousand words, gifs say a million. THEY’RE JUST SO EXPRESSIVE. While the rest of your review will tell your thoughts in a more coherent, clear manner, the gif at the end will just summarise your overall feels. Is there any easier way to do it?
  • They add another layer to your review. Are you funny in your reviews? Serious? What kind of mood are you conveying? You can choose a gif to match that! Sometimes it’s hard to just use words to fully convey your feels to your readers, and that’s what gifs are for. THANK YOU, UNIVERSE.


  • GIFS CHANGE FASTER THAN THE MEME OF THE WEEK. Honestly, you don’t want to have your old reviews stuck with some gif from a show or movie that was so last year. It’s so easy to judge people based on what gifs they use in their reviews, so just make sure you’re using ones that you think are relevant.


So now let’s put that to the test!


Tempests and Slaughter

This was such an enjoyable read! I haven’t read anything by Tamora Pierce before, and I’m not usually much of a fantasy person, but I really loved this novel. It gave me Harry Potter vibes, it wasn’t overly fast-paced in the beginning and gave me time to grow close to the characters—particularly Arram, oh my innocent, adorkable munchkin—and I just adored being in a magical setting again.

I know a lot of books are compared to Harry Potter, but this is one of the few I think live up to that comparison. This book isn’t trying to be another Harry Potter, but the magical boarding school environment, the younger age of the protagonist, and the way we followed Arram and his everyday life at school made me feel like we were getting to know another student at Hogwarts. Arram is the sweet Hufflepuff kid we all needed in our lives. PROTECT AT ALL COSTS.

Even though not a lot really happens in this book, I really appreciated the character-building and the way we got to know Arram through his magic lessons and following his daily life around school. It’s sometimes rambling and 100 pages or so could have been shaved off because not a lot happens and I feel like we didn’t need all that exposition on the magic classes and whatnot, it was still a very entertaining read. The dynamics of the friendships were also great to read. ARRUM, MY SWEET, SWEET CHILD. If you enjoy fantasy novels and loved Harry Potter or Tamora’s other novels, you should give this one a go!



Thanks to Hachette Australia for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!


Please Ignore Vera Dietz

Like a lot of A.S. King’s other novels, Please Ignore Vera Dietz isn’t an easy read. On the surface, it seems to be a book about a girl wondering if she can ever forgive one of her best friends—who recently, tragically, died. But it’s also about abuse, and alcoholism, and friends who break our hearts, and there was just so much going on. I didn’t dislike this book, but rather, it was just something that was definitely difficult to read. It’s a downfall of mine, but I prefer to read books that I can just fall into and pass a few hours by reading. Please Ignore Vera Dietz wasn’t a book I looked forward to returning to when I closed it after reading a chapter or so, just because of how full-on it was. It was just… a lot at times.

A.S. King is incredibly talented with writing raw, realistic characters, and Vera was no exception. She just felt so incredibly alive, like she could walk right off the characters as a fully-formed, three-dimensional character. Although a lot of the things she was dealing with are commonly seen in YA and I don’t really feel like there was anything about her that will make her someone I remember in a year’s time, her actions never came across as cliched, nor were the messages presented trite. This was just an honest insight into a young person’s life, and that’s what I appreciated this book for.

If you’re a fan of the heavier, grittier YA novels, then you should definitely give this one a go—particularly if you’re already a fan of A.S. King. I loved the dark humour that peppered the narrative, and although this isn’t a book I’m rushing to reread, it’s definitely a really interesting read that deserves all the praise it’s received.



Thanks to Text Publishing Australia for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!


More Than We Can Tell

OH MY GOODNESS. SOMEONE HOLD ME. This book may just well be my favourite book of 2018 so far. WOW. I’m so shook. I first thought this book was it’s own complete thing that I could read by itself, but when I heard it’s set in the same universe of Letters to the Lost, I thought that I should be a good bookworm and start with that one. But believe me when I say that you don’t have to have read Letters to the Lost to appreciate this phenomenal novel. While there are some side characters in this novel from the Letters to the Lost universe, you don’t have to know them or their backstory. Everything is explained pretty neatly in More Than We Can Tell.

I just… HOW COULD THIS BOOK HURT ME LIKE THIS? We have two really loveable, gorgeous characters – a girl who loves gaming, and a boy trying to escape his tortured past – and I just adored getting to know both of them. Seriously, I would die to protect Rev. No joke. And then Emma was just such a beautiful person struggling in her own ways, and seeing them both hurting honestly RUINED ME. I just wanted to hug them and tell them everything was going to be okay. This book made me feel things I haven’t felt since reading Radio Silence. And that’s a BIG STATEMENT, seeing as Radio Silence is my favourite contemporary of all time. More Than We Can Tell is now a close second though.

DO YOURSELF A FAVOUR AND PICK UP THIS BOOK SO WE CAN GUSH ABOUT IT TOGETHER. If you adore contemporaries and characters with dark pasts, this is simply a must-read. ALL THE FANGIRLING.



Thanks to Bloomsbury Australia for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!


Do you think it would be a good idea to replace star ratings with gifs? Do you ever struggle to choose what to rate a book you’ve read? Have you read any of the books that I reviewed? I’d love to know!


36 thoughts on “Should Gifs Replace Star Ratings?

  1. I love this post! Using gifs is such a great idea and I completely understand what you’re saying about stars😊

  2. I totally get where you’re coming from about star ratings. I think this is why I’m so reluctant to hand out 4-star and 5-star ratings! Using gifs as a snapshot summary would be good!

  3. Haha I love this! You summed up my struggle with star ratings perfectly, especially when it comes to really ‘meh’ books. Like I didn’t hate it, so a 2 or even 1 star rating feels to harsh, but a 3-star rating feels too generous?? And YES note very 5-star rating is the same! Sometimes I even give favourite books 4-stars. 5-star ratings sometimes really don’t mean anything for me 😂 I love the idea of replacing them with gifs, but sometimes I spend ages finding the right gif, so it might be a bit time-consuming haha

  4. I think they totally should 😀 you just proved the point pretty well.
    I often struggle with ratings. Like, i might rate two books 4, but one is better than the other. Or maybe some aspects of the story are a 5 but others a 2… Gifs would sort this out quickly 😀

  5. Gifs truly do express something that star ratings can’t! 😂 I totally get the whole not all stars are created equal, because sometimes I really love a book and rate it 5 stars but then there’s another book that I love EVEN MORE that I also give five stars! How do I show the difference??? It’s such a struggle

  6. This is such a fun post! And considering the number of posts I’ve written on my blog rambling about my struggles with star ratings (I’m totally with you, I refuse to write half stars into my reviews on Goodreads), I really think you’re on to something with this gif idea…

  7. I feel that star ratings are quite important to an author and his or her book. Normally, when I see a book I am interested in, the very first thing I do is look up the ratings on Goodreads. If reviewers began using GIFS instead of star ratings, I feel that would hinder the overall rating of the book. Not just for us but, also for marketing. I am not against using GIFS, I just feel that we should focus more on star ratings rather than exploding with a bunch of GIF comments because, in the long run the star rating is going to have a bigger effect on the book and it’s marketing.

  8. Great post! Though I don’t think I’d ever go so far as to replace star ratings with GIFs, I definitely struggle with them! I particularly connected to the points you made about not all star ratings being the same and adding .5 or .75 due to indecision. I also find that I often want to change a lot of ratings retrospectively…

  9. Haha, I LOVE this! I would never do it because I have such a hard time finding the EXACT gif that I want. I settle a lot…

    Also, am I the only person who never uses half-star ratings? Has never wanted to?

  10. YESSSSS. (Insert gif.)
    I specifically hate the 5 star rating system – there’s so much room between each star but the system doesn’t allow for partial stars.
    So good-count me in.

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