Well, this is not an easy question to answer because every parent will have a different opinion. But since this is my blog and I get to choose which books I read and review, I’m gonna give you my version of what it means to be a clean teen read. Here we go:
Sparse cursing. I’m personally OK will all sorts of bad language in books, and I’m not really even against my teen reading books with swearing, but to be a teen read, it needs to be few and far between. For emphasis only, in other words. Not the characters normal everyday way of talking. If a book has the F word, it can still (in my book blogger opinion) be a clean read.
Sparse sex. Romance and sex are not the same thing. Describing sexual acts is a rated R event. To me, a clean read will have romance but little mention or descriptors of the actual acts. I’d like the rating to be PG-13 for 95% of the book. An occasional f-word and third base mention is not a disqualifier, but it stretches the limits.
Violence is a little harder. I’m OK with pretty much just about any level of violence, as long as it’s not too descriptive. A clean read would not be dismembering children, for instance. But getting hurt is part of life, as is death. So these occurrences do not wipe out a book from clean teen territory.
Drug use is not my favorite thing in any book. Alcohol is OK if the book is new adult or adult. But for teen reads, I’m pretty strict on this one. I tend to knock off points for drug and alcohol use in YA books.
Now, if I’m reviewing the book for my other book blog, New Adult Addiction, I could care less. In fact, none of these things matter at my other book blog. But for a teen read, yes. All of these are taken into consideration.
I happen to like (as you can tell by the blog design) edgy books. My son enjoys edgy books, particularly ones with male protagonists, lots of violence, and trending on the dystopian side. So I'll probably review a lot of those here. I also like YA romances where the plot is not about high school. Anything SF, and paranormal, again - when the plot does not center on high school. Why no high school centered books? Because we're homeschoolers and while my teen doesn't mind reading about high school, it makes very little sense to him. He prefers to read about teens who have more freedom and/or are already dealing with adult issues. I tend to agree with him.
My rating system:
The bio-hazard symbols are for rating the book as a reader only. It’s your typical five is spectacular, four is I really liked it, three is ho-hum. It was OK. Two is the book has real issues, and one is did not finish (DNF).
If the book has issues that need to be mentioned, I will put those in the review summary.