Frequently Asked Questions

What is the overall rating and what do the stars mean?

The overall star rating is an indication of how much the reviewer liked the book.  Here is one way to view the star ratings:

 5 stars:  Absolutely enthralling.  A must-read!

4 stars:  An enjoyable, good read.  This book was a fun, touching, or memorable read and a great title we recommend to our readers.

3 stars:  The book was average, but didn’t really stand out as noteworthy.

2 stars: The book was poorly written or just tough to make it through. This is a book we would not recommend to our readers.

1 star:  Absolutely terrible, unprofessional, and unreadable.

The ‘Search by Title or Author’ page doesn’t seem to be working.

Currently, when searching for a book by specific title, don’t use the “Enter” key.  You will either get a pick list of possible matches or a message “No matching results found”.

How do I know what content level to put in when searching for a book?  What is the right content level for me?

Don’t know where to start?  We recommend experimenting to find how your comfort level stacks up against our rating system.  Here are a couple of ideas:

  1. Find a book in our database that you have read and see what the rating levels are on that book.  Or,
  2. Start with a rating of 5 (the mid-point) and browse that book list.  Take a look at the content analysis.

Everyone has a different comfort level so we just attempt to be as consistent as possible (not easy, but we do our best) in our ratings and to give you detailed content information.

When I search for a book what happens if I don’t select anything?

You will get a listing of all the books in the database if you don’t make any criteria selections on the Search by Content Criteria page.

How do you rate the books?  I see the different dots and colors, but what do they mean?  What determines how many “dots” a subject matter gets?

The colors of the dots are not significant other than to make it easier to distinguish things visually.  The number of dots is the first indicator of relative content level.  If a book has only 0-1 dots, then the content level is probably equivalent to a G movie.  As you move up in the number of dots, think of the content moving from PG to PG-13 to R.  Once you are in the upper end of dots then you are looking at content that might push the book to a R rating if it was a movie.

Don’t rely on the dots alone.  It is always best to read the detailed content information, too.

When I am searching for a book, can it be assigned to more than one genre?

No, in our database, books are only assigned to one genre.  If you don’t want to narrow your search results, then don’t make a selection there.

How do you determine the recommended age for a book?

The reviewer considers the publisher’s target audience, themes, content levels, and who might enjoy the book when recommending an age.  If a book is recommended for 12+, it still might be enjoyed by a 16 year old, but the 12+ just indicates the lowest recommended age.

When searching for a book, you can select one or more age groups at a time.  If you do not check any boxes, then you will get all books regardless of age recommendation.

From a broad sense, there are overlaps in reading age groups.  However, in general, demographic groups are as follows:

Middle grade:  Ages 9-12

Young Adult:  Ages 12-18

Adult:  Ages 18-21+