Rating System

What is a Clean Teen Read?

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, but if the characters use it as part of their every day speech - this is not clean.

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. Some teens might enjoy edgier romances, but my teen does not.  He likes them clean in the relationship department, so that's why I look out for this.

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 if they are not graphically described and are part of the storyline.  Where I would probably draw the line as far as violence goes, is if the violent character is coming from a first person point of view.

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 unless there is a very clear anti-drug message in there. 

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.

PS - I violate all these rules for my own new adult books - if you're looking for a clean read, do not buy my fiction books.   I try not to mention any of my fiction on CTR for this reason.  I'm hoping to write a nice young adult paranormal romance in the next year.  That one might make the cut - I'll let you know.  

I do however, write lots of non-fiction science curriculum for homeschoolers.  If you're a homeschooler and need a cool science program that is worldview neutral, check out Simple Schooling.

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.


  1. So as an author, I have to ask, how do you find books to review? Do you take recommendations? Free review copies? Do you like historical fiction at all?

  2. Hi Catherine,

    Yes I would consider historical fiction for this blog. Especially if it's in ancient times because I have a whole series of middle grade textbooks on ancient history. I'd also be interested in YA books set in any historical period of American History, Renaissance, and Middle Ages. (I have textbooks for all of these periods) :)

  3. My husband just published the first four books in a historical fiction series which spans Rome, England, Scottland and Ireland. It starts in 60 B.C. The series is The Chronicles of Guiamo Durmius Stolo. You can check out the blog www.guiamochronicles.blogspot.com to see if you would be interested in reviewing the books. We'd love to get your opinion and get the word out to readers!

    Thanks! And as a parent of six children who LOVE to read...what a wonderful idea for a blog! I'll be checking back!


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