Most Popular Books versus the Highest Rated Books on my TBR

This past week has ended up being a very Goodreads inspired blogging week. This time I’ve been inspired by Destiny’s super fun post. The aim is to sort your Goodreads TBR shelf according to the number of ratings (“num ratings”) and share the books which are the most popular.

When I tried it out the other day I thought it was really interesting alternating between the most popular books and the highest rated books on my TBR because those two things are very different. So I’m going to divide this post into most popular versus highest rated for a fun comparison! As there are quite a few books which appeared on my highest rated list that either hadn’t been reviewed as the book isn’t released yet (and no ARCs released) or only had less than 5 reviews, I will only be including books that have been released (including ARCs) and that have more than 30 reviews.

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Most Popular TBR Books

books x 5

1. City of Bones – Cassandra Clare
1,319,731 ratings – 4.12 average rating
This really doesn’t surprise me as I know that the Mortal Instruments community is huge.

2. The Maze Runner – James Dashner 
829,798 ratings – 4.03 average rating
Given Dashner’s popularity, it’s even more shocking and awful that he was able to use his position to sexually harass/assault so many women.

3. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
811,753 ratings – 4.08 average rating
This doesn’t surprise me either, especially with the recent TV adaptation which really boosted its popularity!

4. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen 
804,813 ratings – 4.06 average rating
Good to see one classic on the list, I’m surprised that it’s the only one!

5. Allegiant – Veronica Roth
695,023 ratings – 3.63 average rating
I would have thought that Divergent would have been more popular than Allegiant given that Allegiant is the last installment and you have to suffer through Insurgent to get to it.


books x 5 (1)

6. All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
636,611 ratings – 4.32 average rating
I’ve been so excited to read this but have also heard a lot of mixed reviews from others about it. Most people don’t seem to rate it very highly.

7. And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie 
521,461 ratings – 4.24 average rating
I watched the TV adaptation of this a few years back so was pleasantly surprised when it suddenly became super popular in the book blogosphere! I’m excited to finally read it at some point.

8. The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern 
508,702 ratings – 4.04 average rating
I am not surprised to see the Night Circus on here because it seems like everyone either has read it or wants to read it. One day I will get there.

9. The Scorch Trials – James Dashner 
367,239 ratings – 3.93 average rating
Ditto above comments about Dashner and surprise that two of his books are so popular.

10. The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman
365,424 ratings – 3.99 average rating
This has been on my TBR for years and I’ve owned the book for the past year but couldn’t tell you anything about it and have never really heard anyone talk about it either, which is interesting given its popularity.

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Highest Rated Books on my TBR

books x 5 (2)

1. Obsidio – Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
1,673 ratings – 4.75 average rating
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh. This makes me even more of a massive flail in my desparation to read Obsidio. I love the Illuminae Files so much and it makes me so happy to see that it’s the highest rated book on my TBR already.

2. A Court of Mist and Fury – Sarah J. Maas
163,556 ratings – 4.71 average rating
I still haven’t gotten around to reading ACOTAR so it’s interesting to see the ACOMAF is rated .50 higher than the first book in the series.

3. Failure to Communicate – Kaia Sønderby 
43 ratings – 4.70 average rating
I LOVE the fact that Failure to Communicate has placed third on this list. I heard about it through Huntress of Diverse Books and it sounds so utterly perfect.

4. Black and British: A Forgotten History – David Olusoga
223 ratings – 4.55 average rating 
Another one that I’m ecstatic to see on this list. I’m mad at myself that I haven’t made time to read this yet because it looks like a phenomenal book.

5. Educated – Tara Westover 
5,279 ratings – 4.51
As I mentioned in my Spring TBR post, I’ve heard fantastic things about Educated and am pleased it’s been rated so highly.

books x 5 (3)

6. Bygone Badass Broads – Mackenzi Lee
225 ratings – 4.47 average rating 
A lot of my friends have read this recently and all rated it 5 stars so no surprises that it’s one of the highest rated books.

7. The Poet X – Elizabeth Acevedo 
615 ratings – 4.59 average rating
I’ve heard nothing but fantastic things about The Poet X since it was available as an ARC and again just after it was published.

8. The Art of Moana – Jessica Julius 
212 ratings – 4.60 average rating 
I have so many books on my TBR so I was honestly super surprised to see this make the top 10 list. Having flicked through it when I got it at Christmas though I can see why, it looks stunning and packed full of interesting information about Moana.

9. Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers who changed the World – Rachel Ignotofsky 
1,932 ratings – 4.55 average rating 
Oh my heart. Seeing this, Rebel Girls AND Bygone Badass Broads all make the highest rated list just makes me SO FREAKING HAPPY because these books are AMAZING and deserve to make all the lists.

10. Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls – Elena Favilli
9,431 ratings – 4.44 average rating 
All I can say is YES YES YES. The only criticism I have is that it’s not rated even higher!

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I’m really glad that I did this comparison because I think it raises some really interesting points about the differences between popular books and highly rated books. I wasn’t surprised to see so many YA books make the most popular list but I was surprised that there were no cross-overs between most popular and highest rated books. This pretty much sums up why I often get frustrated when I see the same popular books being talked about time and time again when there are clearly some amazing books out there.

One thing that immediately struck me when compiling my highest rated list was that it is so much more diverse than the more popular books. Even though bloggers and reviewers are trying harder to talk about diverse books, I feel like often the same books get mentioned and we could be doing so much more to support other diverse books. I have only ever seen one blogger talking about Black and British: A Forgotten History despite how revolutionary it is, and I haven’t seen too many people talking about the mind-blowingly good children’s books which champion women either. It would be great if more people would read lesser-known books and start talking about them! It was also frustrating to see how many books made the highest rated list that haven’t even been released yet and we have no information about them yet but have already been rated 5 stars…

What are your thoughts on the gap between popular books and highest rated books?
Is there anything that bugs you or do you have an entirely different opinion?
If so, share it below or tweet me @RedRocketPanda!

EST. 2015 (1)


12 thoughts on “Most Popular Books versus the Highest Rated Books on my TBR

  1. I love this! Do you mind if I steal this idea as long as I credit you and Destiny? 🙂 I definitely agree with you that it’s strange that there’s no crossover! I’m intrigued to see what my results are.


  2. Seeing Failure to Communicate rated so high makes me even more excited to get to it (hopefully in the next few months but you never know). This makes me so curious to do it myself. 😀


  3. Awesome idea!! This was really cool to see the difference between your books! Interesting how popular books don’t necessarily mean the “better” books either…


  4. This is such a fun idea of post 🙂 I’m surprised there weren’t any crossovers too. Now I have to go explore my Goodreads shelves to see how they compare!


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