Favorite Poorly Rated Books

Sometimes popular books are downright awful.

And sometimes, because of misdirected marketing, false expectations, authors writing outside their usual genres, kids being forced to read difficult classics in school before they're able to appreciate them, or some other reason, books hated by large numbers of people are actually good.

This is a list where you can vote for your favorite books with poor ratings. Averages below a 3.6 will count as "poor ratings."

NOTE: Books with average ratings of 3.60 or above will be removed.

See also:
Average Rating of 4.5 and above with at least 3000 ratings
Average Rating of 4.5 and above with at least 100 ratings
Average Rating of 4.3 and above with at least 1000 ratings
Average Rating of 4.2 and above with at least 1000 ratings
Average Rating of 4.0 and above with at least 30000 ratings
Average Rating of 4.0 and above with at least 1000 ratings
Average Rating of 4.0 and above, 100 to 999 ratings, and published before 2001
Average Rating of 3.99 and below
Average Rating below 3.6
Average Rating of 3.0 and below with at least 100 ratings
Average Rating of 4.5 and above and with 10 to 99 ratings
1

by
3.43 avg rating — 791,803 ratings
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2

by
3.47 avg rating — 275,231 ratings
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2

by
3.52 avg rating — 207,386 ratings
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4

by
3.53 avg rating — 519,113 ratings
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5

by
3.54 avg rating — 585,808 ratings
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6

by
3.43 avg rating — 470,820 ratings
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7

by
3.58 avg rating — 255,402 ratings
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8

by
3.55 avg rating — 211,154 ratings
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9

by
3.30 avg rating — 319,848 ratings
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10

by
3.45 avg rating — 86,833 ratings
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11

by
3.51 avg rating — 111,309 ratings
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12

by
3.52 avg rating — 251,491 ratings
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13

by
3.53 avg rating — 58,472 ratings
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14

by
3.55 avg rating — 67,525 ratings
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15

by
3.54 avg rating — 11,875 ratings
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16

by
3.59 avg rating — 205,673 ratings
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17

by
3.54 avg rating — 62,949 ratings
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18

by
3.58 avg rating — 139,124 ratings
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19

by
3.45 avg rating — 36,922 ratings
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20

by
3.42 avg rating — 118,229 ratings
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21

by
3.40 avg rating — 132,751 ratings
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22

by
3.40 avg rating — 39,654 ratings
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23

by
3.38 avg rating — 30,790 ratings
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24

by
3.53 avg rating — 9,808 ratings
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25

by
3.15 avg rating — 16,433 ratings
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26

by
3.57 avg rating — 1,716,108 ratings
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27

by
3.42 avg rating — 5,125 ratings
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28

by
3.24 avg rating — 63,335 ratings
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29

by
3.57 avg rating — 16,065 ratings
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30

by
3.59 avg rating — 3,833 ratings
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31

by
3.39 avg rating — 10,242 ratings
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32

by
3.51 avg rating — 212,062 ratings
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33

by
3.55 avg rating — 157,024 ratings
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34

by
3.47 avg rating — 59,602 ratings
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35

by
3.46 avg rating — 116,646 ratings
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36

by
3.59 avg rating — 58,738 ratings
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37

by
3.46 avg rating — 7,962 ratings
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38

by
3.55 avg rating — 18,278 ratings
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39

by
3.49 avg rating — 21,931 ratings
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40

by
3.46 avg rating — 51,112 ratings
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41

by
3.45 avg rating — 4,928 ratings
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42

by
3.48 avg rating — 60,191 ratings
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43

by
3.56 avg rating — 10,797 ratings
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44

by
3.60 avg rating — 44,254 ratings
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45

by
3.59 avg rating — 114,582 ratings
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46

by
3.50 avg rating — 8,262 ratings
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47

by
3.54 avg rating — 13,056 ratings
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48

by
3.57 avg rating — 44,131 ratings
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49

by
3.51 avg rating — 204,074 ratings
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50

by
3.35 avg rating — 20,859 ratings
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51

by
3.48 avg rating — 1,085 ratings
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52

by
3.46 avg rating — 69 ratings
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53

by
3.52 avg rating — 3,542 ratings
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53

by
3.38 avg rating — 5,441 ratings
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53

by
3.57 avg rating — 6,433 ratings
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56

by
3.41 avg rating — 97,685 ratings
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56

by
3.54 avg rating — 3,338 ratings
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58

by
3.41 avg rating — 26,493 ratings
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59

by
3.52 avg rating — 66,024 ratings
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60

by
3.26 avg rating — 2,574 ratings
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61

by
3.49 avg rating — 15,840 ratings
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62

by
3.58 avg rating — 8,073 ratings
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63

by
3.55 avg rating — 4,702 ratings
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64

by
3.54 avg rating — 29,665 ratings
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65

by
3.46 avg rating — 20,258 ratings
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66

by
3.26 avg rating — 92,562 ratings
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67

by
3.60 avg rating — 1,628,697 ratings
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68

by
3.25 avg rating — 15,028 ratings
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69

by
3.25 avg rating — 16,930 ratings
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70

by
3.50 avg rating — 10,744 ratings
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70

by
3.31 avg rating — 31,997 ratings
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72

by
3.35 avg rating — 5,209 ratings
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73

by
3.52 avg rating — 34,561 ratings
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74

by
3.58 avg rating — 7,370 ratings
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75

by
3.54 avg rating — 4,264 ratings
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75

by
3.53 avg rating — 2,005 ratings
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75

by
2.81 avg rating — 1,259 ratings
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78

by
3.24 avg rating — 679 ratings
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78

by
3.26 avg rating — 21,788 ratings
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78

by
3.18 avg rating — 14,033 ratings
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81

by
3.32 avg rating — 254 ratings
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81

by
3.29 avg rating — 13,116 ratings
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81

by
3.42 avg rating — 11,912 ratings
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84

by
3.30 avg rating — 9,627 ratings
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85

by
3.48 avg rating — 8,505 ratings
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85

by
3.54 avg rating — 502,163 ratings
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87

by
3.47 avg rating — 4,373 ratings
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88

by
3.58 avg rating — 11,164 ratings
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89

by
3.44 avg rating — 14,194 ratings
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90

by
3.59 avg rating — 282,315 ratings
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91

by
3.49 avg rating — 2,725 ratings
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91

by
3.48 avg rating — 1,429 ratings
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91

by
3.57 avg rating — 3,434 ratings
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91

by
3.28 avg rating — 99,374 ratings
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91

by
3.46 avg rating — 13,280 ratings
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96

by
3.47 avg rating — 37,578 ratings
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96

by
3.25 avg rating — 11,039 ratings
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96

by
3.58 avg rating — 10,057 ratings
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99

by
3.53 avg rating — 19 ratings
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100

by
3.57 avg rating — 2,589 ratings
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1,485 books · 265 voters · list created August 26th, 2012 by Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship (votes) .
36 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship 2234 books
142 friends
Becca 2419 books
55 friends
Brian 921 books
15 friends
Chris 649 books
57 friends
[redacted by S.H.I.E.L.D.] 2248 books
77 friends
Soumya 1374 books
39 friends
Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) 545 books
374 friends
Neil 2362 books
431 friends

More voters…


Comments Showing 1-28 of 28 (28 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) (last edited Aug 28, 2012 02:54AM) (new)

Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) Great idea for a list, though there already is one with almost the exact same parameters, see "Books That Deserve a Higher Rating (Avg Rating < 3.7)" (http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/13...) ...


Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship Good to know--I poked around a bit before making this list but didn't see that one. I'm going to leave this stand though; about half the books on that one are rated between 3.6 and 3.7, so the apparently small difference in parameters actually has a big impact.


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) Wow -- I saw there wasn't a complete overlap, of course, but didn't realize it actually made so much of a difference!


message 4: by Sarrah (new)

Sarrah Guilty ... I gave several of those books a low rating too. What a great idea, though, and you're so right!


message 5: by Katrina (new)

Katrina Deleted for being 3.60 or above:
Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare (3.60)
The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff (3.60)
Hive (Hive, #1) by Tim Curran (3.66)
Ufo's From Behind The Iron Curtain by Ion Hobana (3.62)
History of the Necronomicon by H.P. Lovecraft (3.71)
Changeling the Dreaming by Mark Rein-Hagen (3.67)
Rob Roy by Walter Scott (3.60)
The Trial (Illustrated Classics): A Graphic Novel by David Zane Mairowitz (3.96)


message 6: by Tamara (new)

Tamara That middle 3 area is where most books seem to cluster. Quite a few of the ones I added were 3.5+, and i've only ever read 15 books rated under 3.3, and NONE rated at under 3. Need to make an opposite list - highly rated books (say, 4.4+ that don't deserve it...)


Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship It seems to me (from spending too much time on Goodreads) that generally well-received books tend to have an average rating in the 3.7-4.1 range. Over 4.1 and the book is beloved by its readers, and quite possibly overrated.* Below 3.5 and there's definitely a problem, either with the book or with the readers. Between 3.5 and 3.7 is a gray area where opinions are mixed (this is where widely loathed bestsellers like Twilight, Eragon and Fifty Shades fall). So I decided to split that down the middle for the list, but it makes sense that the best-liked books in that range will be the ones between 3.5 and 3.6.

I have actually read two books with averages below a 3--neither is much good, although the 2.76-er I didn't find quite that awful. But it looks like publishers must do a better job than I give them credit for--just about anything they put out finds some fans, or we'd see a lot more 1s and 2s.

* @Tamara: I went to vote on your 4.4+ list, and then realized I'd only read a few books with such high averages and didn't really dislike any of them. Although I do think The Hunger Games is overrated.


message 8: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Yeah, I think I might lower it a bit. I could only turn up 3 books, and I feel rather bad about tossing poor Harry Potter on there (only those slightly wonky later ones!) I really just made it for for Way of Kings, which is the single most highly rated book i've ever read, apparently, which drives me nuts, (it beats all of GRRM, Abercrombie, Abrahams, etc, not to mention every other author I HAVE EVER READ.) NUTS!


Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship I don't understand the Way of Kings thing at all either--from what I've heard about it and from reading other Sanderson books, I imagine it's okay (although not something I intend to read), but not by any stretch something that should be rated higher than literally every book I have ever read!

But then, I don't understand a lot of the really high ratings. It makes sense for sequels where there's a lot of selection bias in who even bothers to read the books, but something like Game of Thrones will always be niche to me--I think it's an excellent piece of epic fantasy, but have plenty of friends on GR and in real life who either disliked it, or considered it entertaining but not particularly well-written. And somehow it's one of the highest-rated books I've read.


[redacted by S.H.I.E.L.D.] I bought WoK on day 1 in hardcover and still have not read it. Thing is a beast.


message 11: by Aubrey (new)

Aubrey Removed for having a rating of 3.60+:

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - 3.60
The Last of Her Kind - 3.60
A Covert Agenda - 3.80
The Berlin-Baghdad Express: The Ottoman Empire and Germany's Bid for World Power - 3.64
Terminal World - 3.60
The Priest They Called Him: The Life and Legacy of William Burroughs - 3.60
Hay Fever - 3.60


Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship Hey, the ratings of some of my books have gone up! Nice!


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Removed, for having a rating above 3.6:

Isn't It Pretty To Think So? (3.93)


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

Not a single one of these is rated poorly. In fact, every single one of these books is either a classic; held in high regards by scholars; or a super-popular book in the fantasy genre, which is slowly growing to be come a vastly popular genre. So, I can't help but voice confusion. And not to mention each of them has at least an average of 3.5 stars here on Goodreads. So I have no idea who made this list or why.


Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship Well, I created the list, as you can see at the bottom, for the reasons in the list description. Also, you know, because this is Listopia and it's fun to create lists and see how people vote on them. Not everything here is a classic or fantasy (though I'm not sure why that matters?), but the way Listopia works is that if enough people vote on a list, the most popular items on it will rise to the top. As for the cut-off, when I see a book rated below around 3.6, that's when I start to wonder what the problem is.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads As for "who made it": Emma created it, and 98 of us (so far) have voted on it. We are who have made it. Anyone who chooses to add to it can do so, and help make it.


message 17: by sologdin (new)

sologdin why 3.6, incidentally? is rating inflation that bad?


message 18: by Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship (last edited Dec 13, 2013 07:22PM) (new)

Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship Susanna's right, there are now 100 people who've made the list, and anybody who thinks different books should be on it, can and should vote for them.

As for the 3.6, it's a bit arbitrary, and I talked about why in comment #7 above. Basically, yeah, the way Goodreads averages go, below 3.6 tells me there's an unusual amount of dislike for the book. Right now, out of 539 books on my "read" shelf, only 55 have averages of 3.59 or below. If we were to go for truly low ratings, there wouldn't be much to vote for: I currently only have 4 books with averages below 3.0, and didn't particularly like any of them.


message 19: by John (new)

John Burns Removed The Awakening


message 21: by Mike Briggs (new)

Mike Briggs Removed for having a rating higher than 3.60:
Learning to Kiss in the Snow - by D.B. Tarpley - 4.24 avg rating — 17 ratings
Lick the Razor - by D.B. Tarpley - 3.79 avg rating — 29 ratings
The Night's Night - by D.B. Tarpley - 4.20 avg rating — 5 ratings
Leviathan - by Thomas Hobbes - 3.62 avg rating — 20,881 ratings
The History of Witchcraft and Demonology by Montague Summers - 3.62 277
Promises to Keep: African-Americans and the Constitutional Order, 1776 to the Present by Donald G. Nieman - 3.64 avg rating — 11 ratings


message 22: by Mike Briggs (new)

Mike Briggs "NOTE: Books with average ratings of 3.60 or above will be removed."

Removed for having a rating of exactly 3.60:
Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann - 3.60 avg rating — 6,433 ratings
Osman's Dream: The History of the Ottoman Empire - by Caroline Finkel - 3.60 avg rating — 411 ratings
Darwin for Beginners by Jonathan Miller - 3.60 avg rating — 205 ratings
In the Forest - by Edna O'Brien - 3.60 avg rating — 810 ratings
Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman (A.J. Raffles, The Gentleman Thief #1) - by E.W. Hornung - 3.60 avg rating — 990 ratings


message 23: by Alma Q (new)

Alma Q Removed for having an avg. rating of 3.6:
The Werewolf of Paris
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man


message 24: by Mike Briggs (last edited Jan 27, 2017 02:04PM) (new)

Mike Briggs as per:
'3.60 or above will be removed.'

Removed for having a too high rating:

Things Fall Apart (The African Trilogy, #1)
by Chinua Achebe
3.60 avg rating — 200,592 ratings

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America
by Barbara Ehrenreich
3.60 avg rating — 155,406 ratings

A Son of the Circus
by John Irving (Goodreads Author)
3.60 avg rating — 16,024 ratings

Hunter's Run
by George R.R. Martin
3.60 avg rating — 2,224 ratings

Beauty Queens
by Libba Bray (Goodreads Author)
3.60 avg rating — 39,889 ratings

The Quiet War (The Quiet War #1)
by Paul McAuley (Goodreads Author)
3.60 avg rating — 1,687 ratings

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
by Amy Chua
3.60 avg rating — 37,449 ratings

The Europeans
by Henry James
3.60 avg rating — 2,989 ratings

Fallen Angels
by Noël Coward
3.64 avg rating — 76 ratings


message 26: by Elyse (new)

Elyse Congratulations to #92 Driven, #133 Obasan, #152 All Cheeses Great and Small, and #189 Esther's Inheritance. They have risen above 3.60 and were deleted.


message 27: by Mitchell (new)

Mitchell I added my 11 books with 5 stars that qualify - 8 of which were new to this list


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