Reacting to Book Twitter’s Unpopular Opinions, Part Two // Friends to Lovers, 3-Star Ratings, & More!

A few months ago, I made a post reacting to book twitter’s unpopular opinions.

And I’m so happy you guys liked it!! A few commenters suggested that I make a part two, so here it is. Thank you so much to everyone who sent me their opinions when I asked on Twitter. ❤ (I tried to include everyone’s in this post, but I had to exclude some because I just couldn’t think of anything to say in response or the opinion was really similar to another one I got.)

Yes, I totally agree with this! Ownvoices is super important, but ownvoices books aren’t exempt from being harmful or problematic. I suggest reading Fadwa’s wonderful post about how the ownvoices label has lost it’s way—she clearly explains all the ways that the label is being mishandled, and gives such helpful suggestions about how not to misuse it.

If you know me at all, you know I agree with this tweet. I recommend books I’ve rated 3 stars a lot, and you can’t do anything about it!!! It’s a good rating!!! It means I liked a book but didn’t love it.

I love so few books that a 4 star book could count as a favorite for me, so I completely agree with Ilsa. However, readers rate books differently, which is probably why some people rate something they had a lot of problems with 4 stars. It’s better to focus more on the review and the reviewer’s taste rather than their rating, honestly. Also, I’ve given a book 4 stars only to realize that I actually hated it more than once. 😔

Gonna have to disagree with you, sorry. 🙃 Again, we all rate books differently. I think most people with low average ratings consider 3 stars to be a good rating lmao. But I do understand why you wouldn’t be interested in a book if a lot of people gave it 3 stars, especially friends/people you trust!

Yep! I don’t like it when people use this as an excuse to not acknowledge the problematic aspects in their faves, but I don’t think you need to read every book critically because where’s the fun in that? The point of reading is to enjoy and like books. Some readers read and review more critically, others focus on the emotions they got from the reading experience, etc., and we should just let people be, oh my god.*side eyes certain book twitter drama that occurred months ago*

I feel like, as an enemies to lovers enthusiast, I should hate friends to lovers, but I actually don’t. I haven’t read a lot of books with it (probably because most people regard it as boring), but the romances in the ones I have read were so cute! There’s just something really sweet about two people who are completely comfortable with each other and know each other so well figuring out that they’re capable of viewing each other in a romantic way. It’s more healthy than enemies to lovers, that’s for sure. Also, most authors half-ass their enemies to lovers romances just to ride on the trope’s popularity, so sometimes I think that friends to lovers is done better more often than enemies to lovers is… but that’s a conversation for another day.

I think it’s hard for me to find a friends to lovers romance memorable, but most are pretty cute, the slower burn and the more yearning the better, but that applies to ever romance. I only really have a problem with friends to lovers when it seems like the author forced two friends together just to include a romantic sub-plot in their book.

Really true! I could do so much better at reading literature from all parts of Asia myself, but people need to remember that Asia isn’t just East Asia! In fact, it’s a gigantic continent.

Fanna promotes South Asian books so much. If you’re looking for recommendations, she has a list of 78 South Asian books to read on her blog! But my personal recommendation for a South Asian book that isn’t Indian is The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar. :)) Also, I’m so excited for Counting Down With You by Tashie Bhuiyan!

I only own a few books and none of them have sprayed edges, but I’m still gonna agree with this one. I think deckled edges are more valuable because you can easily DIY sprayed edges!!

Most of the people I follow read adult fantasy (diverse ones at that), and I feel like The Poppy War and Jade City get their fair share of hype on book twitter, but yes, definitely not as much as YA. I could do better at reading adult fantasy, but I’m worried that I don’t have the brain cells. :”)

Honestly, real-world bigotry just isn’t required for fantasy lmao. I hate that some authors try to justify their inclusion of sexism, homophobia, etc. in the name of being “historically accurate,” never mind that their book is fantasy, not historical fiction, and the presence of magic isn’t historically accurate. I’m definitely not saying that authors shouldn’t include these issues in their worldbuilding, especially if they plan to make valuable statements, but fantasy is a genre where you can imagine away some (or all) of the horrors of the real world. I wish more authors would do that—it makes me feel so happy as a reader.

Lmao this whole tweet is calling out Sarah J. Maas. But I completely agree! I don’t find the concept of mates attractive. Personally, I find it more romantic when people fall in love because of what they see in each other, not because they’re “mates.” And yes! The male/female thing is just cringey and so cisnormative. :/

I think this is the opinion I agree with the most in this entire post. No romance over an unnecessary romance any day. Authors/publishers/whoever thinks that romances are a requirement, they’re not!! Romances do get a lot of hype, but having a forced romance will leave readers displeased for sure. Also, even if the romance in a book is okay, I often find myself thinking that it would’ve been better if the characters had just stayed friends. I wish more authors would subvert expectations like that. 😭

While I love friendship arcs in books, especially when they aren’t forced into a half-baked romances, I can’t say that I think they’re better than romance arcs? Most aren’t that interesting for me because authors reserve the build-up, betrayal and angst for romances. 😭 (But I can totally see people disagreeing with me about this!)

As for the second opinion, I agree that this could be a sign that a book is loved (and the book community honestly needs to realize that people can do whatever they want with their books). However, some people show their love by taking extra care of their books, and that’s valid too!

Yes!! Readers of color deserve to see themselves in books that don’t center around their pain. While I admire books that make important statements about the hardships that people of color go through because of their race, I find that not writing about those hardships is already a statement. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Yes!! Saying that you don’t support J.K. Rowling yet still promoting Harry Potter won’t do anything. Promoting her works contributes to her platform and influence. And don’t even get me started on giving her money by buying more copies of the books and licensed merchandise. I don’t know why people are finding it so hard to stop promoting a book series by an author who has proven to be a terrible person time and time again. Trans people are literally dying while you’re out here yelling about your nostalgia and right to keep supporting a bigoted author who has infused her work with her bigotry. Embarrassing.

Honestly, nobody is asking you to stop loving something that brings you joy. But the least you can do is stop posting about it. Also, please get an actual personality that is not your Hogwarts House. ❤

What are your unpopular bookish opinions/bookish hot takes? Do you agree or disagree with anything I said in this post? Have you also rated a book highly only to realize that you actually disliked it later on? Would you like to see a part three?

49 thoughts on “Reacting to Book Twitter’s Unpopular Opinions, Part Two // Friends to Lovers, 3-Star Ratings, & More!

  1. This was so fun! I have to completely disagree on deckled edges. I have a lot of sensory issues due to my autism and the feel of deckled edges makes my skin crawl 🤢 I think my most unpopular opinion is that I hate enemies to lovers 🤭 Most of the times I’ve read them it’s just some bully trying to hide their feelings for the other person by being mean to them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ah, that’s totally understandable! and lol i love enemies to lovers, but i hate it most of the time when that’s the case. the beauty of the trope is two people’s feelings for each other slowly progressing from hate to love, not some person being mean to the person they like and being forgiven for whatever reason ://

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  2. ajhgdfhghg okay I honestly think like . . . I love some friends to lovers romances (and,,, just realized the book I’m writing rn has two of them lmaooo) but I just . . . feel like so many books give focus only/mostly to the friendship that turns into romance and I’m like pls I liked your friendship why is romance Necessary (I may,,,, also just have some Weird Feelings built up about friendships turning into romances tho 🙈)

    also akhghjghd PLEASE I want more fantasy books without bigotry like,,,,,,,,, I appreciate ones that tackle it, but also the feelings I feel when queer people are just allowed to exist? powerful

    and akhjghhfg omg I’ve rated books highly and then went back and changed it SO many times,,,,, I tend to get caught up in books when I read them but then look back like , , , why.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. i get that!! it’s really annoying when two friends have no romantic chemistry and the author forces them to be a couple for whatever reason, but if it doesn’t seen like that im ok with it/even like it. i just think it’s really sweet and cute when characters fall in love with someone they already know so well and love!!

      yess, it’s just so powerful when there’s no bigotry at all. like, i already have to deal with this in the real world, why include it in a fantasy world? exactly!! sometimes a book gave u a lot of serotonin while you were reading it, but then you look back on it & realize that there were so many problems. or sometimes i’m trying so hard to like the book or i expected to give it a certain rating so that clouds my judgement lmao

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  3. This was such a good post!! I love reading people’s unpopular opinions. I completely agree with the mates trope 🙈🙈🙈 I think its often used to justify sexism.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree with a few of these too! I think the ownvoices label has lost its way too 😔 which is so sad honestly, because I think it was created with the best of intentions. And omg love friends to lovers AND enemies to lovers :’) and I think it’s bizarre fantasy has to have the same problems as our world (like with homophobia or everyone being cis etc…we can have dragons?! give us equality too 👀🙌🏻)

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    1. i saw someone say that the ownvoices label is a tool and like every tool, it can be misused, and i think that’s such a great way of putting it! i think it’s still a very important label, especially for POC, but we really need to handle it better. And yes! i don’t get why fantasy can have magic and dragons but not equality and human rights??

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  5. This was super interesting to follow hahahah How is it that the three-star rating is always an unpopular opinion? XD Personally, when rating books, I don’t believe three stars is a bad thing, but also, I might not be eager to check out a certain book if lots of my friends give it three stars. Like you said, it’s just better to check out the review!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. so glad you thought so! yesss. it’s honestly not a bad rating, and most of the time i’d still recommend 3 star reads to most people, they just didn’t blow me away! however, if it gets a LOT of 3 star ratings, then it’s probably best to not check it out lmao

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Love this post! I tend to think 3 stars is a good rating when an individual uses it, but like if a book’s average rating on Goodreads is only 3 I assume it’s probably bad lmao I think goodreads ratings are super inflated. I try to be critical in my ratings but sometimes I read a book that I think is objectively critically trash and I just like it anyways because I’m trash (*cough the selection cough*) and I praise it and give it a high rating too lmao because we love ~inconsistency~. aLSO I hate hate hate deckled edges so much lkadfjadffs I don’t own any books with deckled edges and I would never buy them and tbh… sometimes if I’m on the fence about reading a library book and it has deckled edges… I just don’t read it lmao because I don’t need that uneven roughness in my life. also I liked the mate thing back in like 2012 when I was a smol child and paranormal and werewolves were all the rage I was like wow this is romantic!!!! and now I’m just like… no thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. exactly!! it’s not a red flag for me if one person rates a book 3 stars, especially if i know that they’re not an easy to please reader, but on goodreads, if the average rating is below 3.7 or something, it’s probably not worth checking out. lmao rating objectively bad books highly bc they brought you joy is totally valid!! my ratings differ across the board too. sometimes i give a book a high rating bc it helped me through a hard time, but sometimes i feel like being critical, and sometimes i feel like being lenient bc i know it’s a me problem fkdjfjd ratings are hard. omg so many people in the comments hate deckled edges 😭 personally, i don’t mind the unevenness and texture, but i see how it could be a problem for some people. ahh, i don’t think i was reading ya at the time that the mate thing was rampant, but bc i’ve read my fair share of healthy romances without the weird possessiveness, i’m just :// about it

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  7. Ah this was such a fun post! I agree with a lot of these, esp the one about not forcing romances into books and the ones about how ARCs shouldn’t be everything a blogger strives to be- I used to be super hung up on getting ARCs tbh and now I’m just like, eh, I’d rather read lots of the amazing backlist books that there are and keep an eye out on new releases that I’m looking forward to instead of spending all my time hoping to read some random books by some hyped author that I don’t even know lol. Also, I totally get thinking 3 stars is a good rating! I tend to rate books on the higher end because of ~internalized pressure~ (and also. I genuinely like them lol. AND I don’t read books with low average ratings which can be good or bad depending on how you see it but it WORKS so), which means that if I see several mutuals rate a book three stars I’m just… not going to read it unless I’m super hyped for it tbh.
    Also yeah, CALL OUT SJM LIKE THAT!! Her “males” and “mates” and “females” thing is just,, the worst and inherently trans/enbyphobic ‼

    Liked by 1 person

    1. i’m so glad you think so aditi!! yes, i used to request arcs regularly, but now i don’t care anymore unless i absolutely can’t wait for the book lmao. i think focusing on backlist books is something that we should all strive to do! ohh, i get your point. for me, a 3 star rating isn’t a red flag if i see an individual rate something 3 stars, especially if i know they’re stingy with high ratings, but if a LOT of people rate a book 3 stars, then i don’t bother checking it out. and ahh, don’t feel guilty for rating highly, you should be happy that you’re enjoying books and know what you like ❤
      exactly 😭😭 i just… it's so weird and unnecessary can we please not other trans and nobinary people lmaoo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. yes, definitely- i’m not planning on reqing any more arcs anytime sure, that’s for certain lol. i definitely see where you’re coming from!! a lot of readers think a 3 star rating is good but personally since i read pretty fast but then get into really annoying and long slumps i only pick up books that i think i’ll really like (is this a flawed tactic ? idk because i’ve never tried anything else haha so lmk bc you’re definitely more experienced!!) ❤
        bruh yeah and it makes ppl seem like animals and i just- no thanks 😩😭

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  8. A very great post! 👌🏼 And, I agree with everything you’ve said especially when talking about “Asian books are not only East Asian ones”. So, so important to know but still, I feel like a lot of people get that one wrong. 😪 For me, a 3-star rating is an “okayish” book I feel pretty neutral about.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great post!
    I personally consider 3 stars to be a good rating too. It’s at least average, so it’s not saying the book is bad or anything!
    And I totally agree that not all books need romance in them. So many books have unnecessary romances in them between characters who have no actual chemistry because authors seem to think they need a romance, so force it in. I’d love to see more books centred on friendship! Friendship stories are often the most heart warming.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you! yes, that’s such a great way of putting it! and sometimes i still really recommend the book, but there was something holding me back from rating it higher! exactly, i hate it so much. romances are very beloved, but no romance is better than bad romance. i have so much respect for authors who choose to focus on friendship instead of forcing romance in bc it’s popular!

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  10. I totally agree that romance is not a requirement! In fact, I think some books are perfectly fine without a romance storyline. I rather see a family or friendship development. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. i was going to reply to this tweet but all the tweets were being all professional, important issues and i just wanted to talk about how big girl/small guy trope is a lot superior than big guy/small girl. it would’ve been embarrassing to tweet that in the midst of all the other replies lmao so i’m just throwing it here and waiting for your response, hahah.

    also: COMPLETELY agree that romance does not need to exist in every book. as someone who loves romance and especially reads a ton of contemporary, i think it’s pretty noticeable when the author writes a romance because there’s this pressure to, than when it’s actually genuine and works with the story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. no, it wouldn’t have been embarrassing at all 😭 it’s an opinion that hasn’t been stated multiple times before, unlike most of the ones i received lmao. and idk, i don’t think i have a preference, but i think we need to see more big girl/small guy 🥺 i’m sure many couples like that exist in real life, and we should really normalize the girl being bigger than the guy.

      romance is really important to me too! i’m so picky about it, which is why it’s so easy to spot when a couple has no actual chemistry, and sadly i spot it a lot of times ://

      Liked by 1 person

  12. That first tweet you shared on the subject of three star ratings captures my opinion well. I think more bloggers are starting to think like this (ie. three stars = good if you like X, Y or Z.) But I also understand the person saying they won’t read a book if it’s mostly three stars. There are just so many books to choose from! I can imagine one strategy to narrow it down is only read the alleged ‘best of the best’. (Personally, I’ll try a two star average book if the premise appeals to me, lol.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yes, i agree! though sometimes i’d still recommend 3-star books to everyone, i just didn’t rate it higher bc of it didn’t blow me away or i didn’t have any strong feelings. but yes, if a lot of people rate something 3 stars, it’s probably not worth my time. there are so many books to read lmao. (ahhh, i put a lot of weight on average ratings & i tend to rate low, so it’s probably best if i avoided a book with an average rating of 2 stars lmao)

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I totally agree with you on the three star review recs. I often recommend books I’ve read three stars to a lot of people. Three stars to me means that I enjoyed the book but I didn’t quite love. But that doesn’t someone it won’t be someone else’s favorite book. Reviewing and rating a book is so person based. This is why I often read many different reviews of a book I’m potentially interested in so that way I get a wide swath of opinions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. EXACTLY! our definition of the 3 star rating is the same! it’s not a bad book by any means, and most of the time i still recommend it to everyone. it just didn’t blow me away. yep, that’s why i always wait for reviews before deciding to read a book

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  14. Caitlin being a queen as always. Lmao I’m just lowkey so nosy and want to know what people think are their negative opinions even though sometimes they ain’t even that negative haha.

    Also, love that 3-star rating. I didn’t have the best system I don’t think before this year, but I’ve been using it so much more and there’s literally this one book I rated 3 stars but it wasn’t for any negative reason, it just felt right and I’m recommending it all the time. So like RATE WHAT YOU WANT AND THREE STARS IS GOOD. That is all.

    We also love both friends AND enemies to lovers in this household. Though I think I’ve read more enemies than friends so need to get on top of that. Agh I feel the same about adult fantasy. Fantasy, in general, scares me but adult fantasy requires a lot of brain cells and I,,, wow send help hehe

    1000% agree with “mate” not being attractive because ew. I literally cannot stand possessiveness, like anywhere, but especially books because well it’s fiction and not cool. Just seriously so gross. Like go off mate (lmao that was a joke, I meant the British slang hehe okay no that wasn’t funny I’ll leave now)

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  15. I love the idea of this post so much!! Happy to see that other people also see 3-stars as a good rating 📚 Oh, I also agree that critical reading is important, but there’s nothing wrong with also focusing on your own enjoyment of books. When reviewing, I usually take into account both enjoyment and more critical aspects to make up my rating! 😊

    I’ve also definitely noticed that some authors try to include enemies to lovers in their books to appeal to readers, but then the trope isn’t that well done … which in turn might put readers off the trope 😅🍵

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  16. I loved reading your answers, Caitlin! Agreed with nearly all of them, especially your thoughts on 3-star reads, JKR, and unnecessary romances. 🥰 I often connect with friendships much more than romance. A really fun post.

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  17. Sksksksk “mum I made it I’m in caitlins post”

    For real though I’m honoured you agreed with my opinion so much hehe, I genuinely do wonder why the publishing industry pushes romances so hard? It’s not like teens are out here falling in love and getting stuck in love triangles at 16 xD Or maybe they are and I just missed out hehe.

    I died at the mate opinion, my brain instantly knew who it was calling out and I agree. I find sjm’s use of “mate” ridiculous and also possessive and I’m not about that. Possessiveness is not attractive I don’t care if it’s a hot fae, a vampire or a human…they can take their possessiveness and yeet themselves outta my sights.

    I really want to read more friends to lovers, I genuinely don’t remember if I’ve even read any but I love writing this trope. There’s something so satisfying about two people falling for each other and wondering if they should do anything about it…cause when they do it’s not like they can take it back. I also enjoy seeing friends get jealous and not realising why until later, not possessive jealous tho >.> jealous in a sense they want to be the reason there friends smiling/laughing you know…I’m so soft for those things.

    Yes to doing a part 3! I’m here for as many parts as you wanna do hehe, loved this post ❤

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  18. “I’ve given a book 4 stars only to realize that I actually hated it” is, unfortunately, a mood.

    And I’m right there with you on friends to lovers! I agree that so many authors just shove in enemies to lovers bc it’s popular, but friends to lovers can be just as good (if not better), and I love seeing the casual intimacy of friendship turn into more. But yeah, I’m not a fan when it’s just forced in to make two characters end up together.

    I also don’t have the brain cells for adult fantasy much of the time, so you’re not alone in that. 😭

    I think friendship arcs have the potential to be just as interesting and compelling as romantic arcs, but most authors won’t put that much effort into writing them because they’re not seen as important compared to romance. (Which I strongly disagree with.)

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