What makes a great 5 star book?

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There’s always excitement and hopeful anticipation when opening those first pages of a new book. ‘Will this be my new favorite book? How will this book compare to others I’ve loved?’ I really don’t mean to, but throughout my reading I think ‘Hmm, does this live up to my 5 star standard?’ Sometimes books surprise or disappoint mid-reading, such as their rating may increase or decrease. So I ask you: ‘What makes a great 5 star book?’ I have certain ‘criteria’ to get the high praise. Don’t get me wrong, a 3 or 4 star book is still a good book but I’m interested in a great book.

1. Characters: Do the characters have depth and multi-dimensions? Can you feel the character’s struggles and personalities? Do you wish you could meet these characters? Not every character in the book needs to have depth, but each should have a purpose for being in the book.

2. Plot: Was the book too predictable? Did it have a new ‘twist’ or viewpoint then other books in the genre? A great book makes me think and keep me on my toes.

3. Word usage: Can you smell, hear, and see everything that occurs in the book? Some authors surprise me with how creative their words flow and I can actually believe that I’m part of the book.

4. Emotion: Did the book make me laugh, cry, think, or learn something? This is normally a big factor in defining a great book, since I can relate at a personal level.

5. Recommendation: Do I love the book so much that I recommend it to everyone? I want to share the enjoyment I felt with others.

6. Reread: Do I love the book so much that I’m sad when it’s over? I don’t reread many books, so another factor of whether it’s a great book is if I can’t wait to read it again.

You’ll notice that page number has nothing to do with a great book. I’ve read wonderful books with hundreds of pages, yet many are turned off due to the thickness. And great books can also be relatively short, but still pack a great punch.

It’s sometimes terrible while reading a wonderful book. I want to read it so quickly, because it’s so terrific, however then the book is finished. I’m sure many readers will agree that there are many books that when it’s over is bittersweet: a wonderful book yet it’s sadly over. I always feel bad when selecting my next book after finishing a 5 star book: ‘How will the next book compare to my last great book?’ (Even though I know I shouldn’t do this.)

What’s a wonderful 5 star book that you would recommend to everyone?