What makes a 5 star book?

What makes a 5 star book

So I was having a big of a whinge on Twitter yesterday about how I haven’t read any 5 star books this year, and Nicki @ The Secret Library asked me what kind of things tend to make books a 5 star read for me. That made me sit back and have a good think… and from there, I’ve come up with this list of bits that I seem to love about books!

I’d love if you’d be able to recommend me any new books from this list as I’m really struggling to get into books currently. I’ve used book examples of what I mean for each thing too, so you have more of an idea of what I’m talking about!

Disturbed, narcissistic narrators (preferably male!)

Examples: American Psycho, A Pleasure and a Calling, and Best Day Ever

I have a huge soft spot for deranged male narrators in novels. And by that I don’t mean I accept their actions in anyway, I just mean that I really enjoy reading from their point of view and following them in their madness… it’s so much fun!

I already know that You by Caroline Kepnes is meant to have this exact type of narrator, so I need to get my hands on that novel soon!


“Mystorical fiction”

Examples: The Wonder, The Miniaturist, and The Witchfinders Sister

It’s probably not a surprise to many of you that historical fiction with a mystery involved is appearing on this list. I have a massive love for these kinds of novels! I find reading about historical times to be interesting because it’s so unlike anything I’ve ever known. I love the descriptions of a world I live in but that I don’t know at all. I also love how differently people act etc. However, I do find historical fiction a bit slow if there isn’t a mystery to propel the story along, so that needs to be part of the plot for me to enjoy it!


Mountain horror

Example: The White Road

What I mean by this is, horror books that are set on mountains… I get that this seems like a bit of a random thing to love, ever since discovering them, I’ve found I always love them! It’s not exactly a niche genre, either, there are plenty of books set like this, like Thin Air by Michelle Paver, The Abominable by Dan Simmons, and Ararat by Christopher Golden etc, but I’m still always on the lookout for more if you can think of any!


Creepy children

Example: Good Me, Bad Me

OK, so it’s sooo hard to do creepy children right in a novel. They can become cheesy and cliché easily which then ruins the whole point of them. I haven’t managed to find many books where an author has managed to balance on the line between terrifying but believable child. I’m hoping new book Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage is going to fulfil my craving for this kind of book!


Dystopian society

Examples: The Last One, Bird Box, and The Chaos Walking Trilogy

This is a tricky one because I only like certain types of dystopian societies. I’m not really into the future societies where there are advanced technologies, but life has gone to shit, I prefer it where things have basically just stopped progressing and things are starting to go backwards, like in A Quiet Place.


Short time period (whole book over a day)

Example: Best Day Ever

This isn’t a massively common thing you find in books, but I really enjoy a book that can make an exciting story out of 24 hours. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy books that span over months or even years, but I tend to find I enjoy these 24-hour books much more. I can imagine it’s a difficult way to write a book, which is why I haven’t come across many that are like it, but if you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

There you have it! Those are some of the standout things that make me really love a book! Of course, they don’t always work for me, but usually they do. I’d love to hear if you have any suggestions of books that feature any of these bits, especially if they have more than one!

Are there certain aspects of books that you just love and always seem to end up making the book a 5 star read?

29 Replies to “What makes a 5 star book?”

  1. Hello! Based on your explanations (unfortunately I haven’t read any of the books you mentioned), some ideas of books that came in my mind are:
    * “Cemetery of Forgotten Books” by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (it’s a trilogy, but the books can be read as stand-alone) – this is more mystery fiction, not much history involved
    * “The Handmaid’s Tale” – dystopian novel, and “Alias Grace” – “mystorical fiction”, both by Margaret Atwood (these are also TV series)
    * “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr – “mystorical fiction”

    If you’re interested in finding out more details about them (without spoilers), on my blog I wrote review for all of them (except “Alias Grace”) 🙂 Good luck in finding your next favourites!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. OMG, Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage was creepy all right… for me it was a 5 star read 😀
    When i rate a book 5, for me it means that it made me feel things, it made me give certain topics a serious thought, or had some super awesome writing, or amazing characters. Something like that.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Aaagh I was going to make a post like this and now it will look like I copied hahaha. I love your list! Did you coin the term ‘mystorical fiction’? Because that is flippin’ genius! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha no it won’t, don’t worry! I love seeing these sorts of posts from a variety of different readers!
      Well I mean I’ve never heard or seen anyone else use it, so I’m going to go with yes, I did coin it myself 😋


  4. For Mystorical Fiction I recommend the Jackaby Series by William Ritter, it does also have a fantasy element to it as well. It’s a really good series!

    Liked by 1 person

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