Goodreads has become the biggest platform on the internet for us book lovers to give our honest reviews of books and also to go and find brand new books to pick up.
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One of the biggest features that sets Goodreads apart early on is its simple “out of five” rating system that gives an obvious average rating for each book based on everyone’s thoughts.
As well as showing you what the average rating is, it also shows you how many people in total have reviewed that book. This number can sometimes be absolutely massive depending on the popularity of the book.
I went ahead and looked up the top ten most-rated books on Goodreads, these are the fiction books that have received the most amount of reviews – simple.
The list itself features some obvious inclusions but then there are some very interesting books in here as well as some enormous books I’m surprised aren’t in this list.
What I’ve done is exclude any books that are part of a series (because let’s not lie, it would all be Harry Potter, ha). So these are the top ten most-rated books from different series (as of October 2023 anyway).
10. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien – 3.78 million ratings
I’m not surprised to see The Hobbit in the top most-rated books, to be honest. Lord of the Rings is one of the most-read fantasy stories of all time. However, it is a huge novel filled with lore and complex language. The Hobbit on the other hand is a far shorter read and doesn’t involve quite as many characters or lore so is a far more approachable read for people looking to get into fantasy.
The book over the years has also been marked more towards a younger audience and the young adult market is one of the biggest markets in reading. Also, I think the release of the Hobbit trilogy in cinemas during when Goodreads would have been big would have had people reading the book a lot.
9. Divergent by Veronica Roth – 3.8 million ratings
Now, Divergent is a book I’m very surprised to see on this list! I don’t doubt that both the book and the film series were very popular, but to be the ninth most-rated book in the history of Goodreads does feel like it makes it sound far more popular than it was. However, there’s another book later on that might shock you that it’s so high.
Why do you think Divergent is so high on this list? Could it be the marketing of the film that sold some books, do you think because of its popularity, people wanted to give their opinions on it and give it a rating on Goodreads? Let me know your thoughts!
8. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – 4 million ratings
Pride and Prejudice is the lowest of four classics on this list. You’d think that classics would appear more on this list due to the sheer amount of time they’ve been out and, sometimes, how they’re studied at school. Including The Hobbit, there are five on this list so I suppose this is true. I reckon the only reason more modern books are on here is because people of that generation are more likely to be on Goodreads.
Pride and Prejudice is probably one of the first books when you of classics and is a fantastic novel that predates many books we’d consider classics and you can see why it is one of the most-rated books on Goodreads.
As well as this, it’s a book that is often studied in English classes and by book clubs so this would add to the number of people reading and then rating it.
7. 1984 by George Orwell – 4.3 million ratings
George Orwell is one of those names that if you’re interested in reading at all, you’ve likely heard of. His two books Animal Farm and, the one that features on this list, 1984 are always talked about when it comes to books worth reading from the past.
Both books covers cultural topics of the time, Animal Farm was a metaphor for the political climate at the time in the form of an animal farm. Then there’s this novel, 1984 which literally invented the term “Big Brother”, a all-seeing dictating system set in the future.
The book has, as we know, gone on to influence many people’s thoughts on how we’re all being trakced by higher powers and how we’re all being secretly influenced. Who know, hey? Either way, people love to read this and love to talk about how relatable its content is.
6. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – 4.9 million ratings
The Fault In Our Stars is a book that I am quite shocked is on this list to be honest. There are quite a few reasons as to why it might be including the popularity of the film that came out causing people to likely go and try and read the book beforehand/afterwards too, but I do also understand the book was very popular.
However, to have more ratings than the likes of the The Hobbit and the other books on this list, is very odd to see. Comment below if you might know why this book has received so many ratings, let me know via the comments section below or via my social handles (bottom of the page).
5. The Great Gatsby by John F. Fitzgerald – 4.98 million ratings
The Great Gatsby is a book again that has been much-loved by many people and is another of the books on this list that is often studied in English classes across England and possibly other countries too.
Its age will also help having been initially released in 1925. The film featuring probably the biggest film star of our generation Leonardo Di Caprio also probably brought many readers to the original book. I have actually reviewed The Great Gatsby and didn’t really rate it.
4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – 5.8 million
One of my favourite books of all time is To Kill A Mockingbird because it’s not only a lesson in the English language but it has an incredible setting, some wonderfully written characters and a story that will teach you more about the positives and negativity in humanity.
It’s another classic on this list too and another that I imagine has been studied in classes across English-speaking countries. Now, like many of the other books on this list, there is a popular film remake but it’s one from decades ago (it’s black and white) so it may not have the same influence on Goodreads ratings as some of the other books that have films that came out more recently.
3. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer – 6.3 million
So we’re into the final top three books on this list. These first two are a surprise and also, at the same time, probably not a surprise to me. Twilight is one of the most talked about books of our generation.
The movies were absolutely huge (as awful as they were) and so this will have brought a massive number of readers to the book series with the first probably being where most people stopped as, I understand it, they’re not particularly great reads unless you’re into vampire romances. But I get why this book so high.
2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – 8.2 million
So, our second-most-rated book on the list takes a big jump with 1.9 million more ratings than Twilight and it’s The Hunger Games. The Hunger Games at one point was the biggest movie franchise on the planet and was a guaranteed money-maker for Collins. Therefore, this will have brought in a whole new host of readers to the books.
Also, unlike a lot of other trilogies, the three books are all quite fantastic. Yes, the first is good, but I remember reading them many years ago and thinking how good the sequel books were too and how they built out the world and expanded upon the impact that Catniss and the other characters were having which is exactly what you want from sequels.
These factors, as well as the fact that the book and films came out during Goodreads’ height of power, are a multitude of reasons that this is the second most-rated book of all time on the platform.
1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling – 9.5 million
Are we surprised that this is the most-rated book of all time? No. The Harry Potter series is probably the biggest thing to happen to literature, probably ever. No other book series in history has had seven books all loved so much that has then expanded into eight films that are all loved arguably more.
The Harry Potter world transcends its genre of fantasy, witches and wizards and has opened so many people’s eyes to the world of dragons, fantastical creatures, magic and large fantasy worlds. You’d argue without Harry Potter, fantasy wouldn’t have been as accepted as it is now.
The first in the series is always going to be the most popular and The Philosopher’s Stones is a great entry into the book but it’s not until the fourth and fifth books in the series that stuff starts to get really serious and really good.
So there you have it, the ten books that are currently at the top of Goodreads’ most-rated books lists. Which books are you surprised not to see on the list? Goodreads has been around for quite some time now and you’d suggest there may be some newer books such as those from Colleen Hoover and Richard Osman which may start appearing in this top ten list over the next few years as they continue to sell in enormous quantities and so people continue to review them on Goodreads.
I’ve written this whole article knowing that I don’t actually use Goodreads currently. it might be something I look to go back to using at some point but I was just having such a torrid time with it not tracking books properly, double-tracking editions and the fact it didn’t seem to be being worked on.