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John Green shows flaw in Goodreads' book rating system

Posted at 10:29 AM, Feb 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-04 16:33:25-05

For author John Green, the pressure is on.

Users of the website Goodreads.com, which allows users to rate and review books, have already claimed his next novel is one of the all-time greats.

...but it isn't even finished yet.

As of Tuesday, the "Untitled" upcoming book held a 4.19 rating from 186 so-called "readers." Green re-posted a piece to his official Tumblr page that read, "I sometimes wonder why people rate books before they're even published or written?!"

The situation points out an apparent flaw in Goodreads' rating system that allows users to review books that haven't even been written yet.

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5 books that have a lower rating (4.19) than John Green’s in-progress book, according to Goodreads users

“The Giver” by Lois Lowry
Goodreads score: 4.11 (1,010,693 ratings)

This 1993 Newbery Medal winner has been called one of the great young adult books ever written but according to the users of Goodreads.com, it’s not quite as good as John Green’s upcoming book.

“1984” by George Orwell
Goodreads score: 4.10 (1,436,426 ratings)

Sure, Orwell’s 1949 dystopian masterpiece predicted several things about our modern world while also painting a chilling picture of a society controlled by its government, but according to Goodreads users it’s just not up to snuff with the book Green is still writing. Sorry, George.

“The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck
Goodreads score: 3.88 (399,561 ratings)

What can be said about this sprawling Great Depression-era masterpiece that hasn’t already been said? It may have won Steinbeck a Pulitzer Prize in 1939 but Goodreads users don’t think it stands up to Green’s next book.

“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Goodreads score: 3.85 (1,935,438 ratings)

Green’s next book doesn’t even have a title yet but already Goodreads users have claimed it’s better than this American classic. The intriguing and romantic 1925 tale of mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby just can’t hold a candle to the upcoming young adult novel.

“Ulysses” by James Joyce
Goodreads score: 3.72 (64,183 ratings)

According to the Modern Library, it’s the greatest novel ever written. According to Goodreads users, the novel Green is still working on is already much better.

Clint Davis is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @MrClintDavis.