20 Highest-Rated Books on Goodreads
With more than 80 million members who’ve rated more than 2.3 billion—yes, billion—books, Goodreads has become the go-to source for reading recommendations. No matter what the genre or topic, if you’re looking for suggestions on what book to pick up next, you might want to consider these highly rated fan favorites.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Not surprisingly, the seven novels in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series take up the top spots among the best-rated books on Goodreads.com. Fittingly, the first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, which introduces us to Harry, his Muggle relatives, and his beginnings at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, is the highest-rated book on the site: It has earned a 4.46-star rating (out of 5), the average of its 5.5 million (yes, million) ratings. Additional novels in the series have ratings of 4.35 and up, with an average of 2 million reviews.
The Hunger Games
Consistently ranked neck-and-neck with the Harry Potter novels, Suzanne Collins’ 2008 young adult novel—the first in the dystopian Hunger Games trilogy—has more than 5.5 million ratings on Goodreads, with an average rating of 4.3. The book introduces us to hero Katniss Everdeen, who leads a rebellion against the rulers of the post-apocalyptic country of Panem, where children are selected annually to participate in a televised, fight-to-the-death battle called the Hunger Games. Fans of the book call it everything from “breathless” to “brutal” (in a good way, of course). Find out more young adult novels grown-ups secretly love.
The Book Thief
Set in Germany from 1939 to 1943, The Book Thief tells the story of Liesel, who uses storytelling and the power of the written word to help her family escape the horrors of the Nazi regime. With a 4.36 average from approximately 1.4 million ratings, Markus Zusak’s 2006 bestselling historical novel remains one of the highest-rated books on Goodreads.
Boasting a 4.46 average from around 1.8 million ratings, Kathryn Stockett’s 2009 novel remains one of the highest-rated novels on Goodreads. Set in 1960s Mississippi, it tells the story from three distinct points of view: Skeeter, a well-to-do young white woman who just returned from college, wanting to be a writer; as well as Aibileen and Minny, two African-American maids who work for white families. Together, the maids work together to share their disquieting personal stories with Skeeter about the mistreatment of black maids at the hands of their white bosses. Here are 12 books you need to read before you watch the movies.
The Fellowship of the Ring
The first book in J.R.R. Tolkien’s sweeping Lord of the Rings trilogy boasts a 4.35 rating from approximately 2 million ratings on Goodreads. The novel, which takes place in the fictional Middle-earth, tells the story of Bilbo Baggins, his fellow hobbits, and a magic ring. Fans appreciate the epic’s customary themes of good versus evil, friendship, and forgiveness, but with a decidedly fantastical touch. Have you read these books everyone lies about reading?
Set in the year 2035, The Martian tells the story of an American astronaut, Mark Watney, who, after a dust storm, loses all communication with NASA and becomes stranded—alone—on Mars. Presumed dead, Mark must do everything he can to survive, and the will-he-or-won’t-he tension leads many reviewers to praise the story’s “captivating” and “compelling” plot. Now a major motion picture starring Matt Damon, Andy Weir’s 2011 science-fiction novel has a 4.4 rating on Goodreads, with more than 629,000 ratings.
A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1)
George R.R. Martin’s 1996 novel A Game of Thrones may be a blockbuster series on HBO, but it’s also one of the highest-rated books on Goodreads. With an average rating of 4.46 from 1.63 million ratings, the epic fantasy novel, which is the first volume in Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, introduces the characters and families who will go to extreme lengths to achieve and maintain supremacy over the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. GoT fans will definitely want to check out these other sci-fi epics to read.
The Name of the Wind
The first book in the Kingkiller Chronicles trilogy, The Name of the Wind tells the story of a young man who grows up to become the world’s most powerful wizard. With nearly 550,000 ratings and a 4.55-star average, Patrick Rothfuss’ 2007 fantasy novel receives heaps of praise on Goodreads, with reviewers calling it everything from “captivating” and “compelling” to “lovely” and “perfect.”
The Way of Kings
The first book in Brandon Sanderson’s The Stormlight Archive series, The Way of Kings is also one of the most praised books on Goodreads. With a 4.65 average from more than 210,000 ratings, the fantasy novel tells the story of a magical world following a disaster known as the Desolation, which threatens human survival. Fans praise the book with passionate reviews, calling it a fantasy reader’s “dream book,” Sanderson’s “magnum opus,” and a “masterpiece in epic fantasy.”
Oh, bother. Nearly 100 years after its initial publication, A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh remains of one of the most beloved novels amongst Goodreads’ readers: It has a 4.3-star rating from more than 231,000 ratings. This original story—the first in a four-book series—introduces readers to the adventures of Pooh Bear, Christopher Robin, and friends. Here are some more of the best children’s books of all time.