We have a problem in the book world.
Book genres are not book ratings. Finding a book in the YA section of a bookstore does NOT make it appropriate for YA readers. This creates a bit of a conundrum for parents in deciding what your kids can and cannot read. Some really perfect examples are the sex scenes in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, or the language (and also sex scenes) in the Nevernight series.
Let me be clear - I'm not saying those books are bad. Or that the author did anything wrong. Just that the genre a book is does not define the maturity of the audience the book was aimed at - just the subject of the book. YA books are written ABOUT young adults (teenagers) not necessarily for them! In addition, there is a massive difference between a 13 year old and a 17 year old.
I cannot fix the problem myself, in my opinion the publishers need to put together a committee, decide on some guidelines, and voluntarily follow them. (Another option would be for a group of us to create a ranking system, get an absolute ton of people to sign it, including both authors and readers, and send it to ALL the publishers to implement. If anyone else is interested in this please message me on Instagram.) If you go to a library, the librarian can do most of this for you, but if you're in a bookstore or shopping online and don't have access to a librarian, it becomes much harder.
So I'll be doing what I can by providing a rating on each book I read, to give you a little more info on what the age-appropriateness of that book is. If you don't see a ranking on one of my reviews, it is because I decided to do this AFTER I read that book, and now cannot remember enough to give you a good rating.
Without further ado, here are my Parental Guideline Ratings:
K - Kid book. This book is appropriate for any age and I would feel fine reading it to my toddler.
MG - Middle grade book. This book has no profanity, no sex or sexual innuendo, only mild violence (no more than they would see watching Bugs Bunny - no gore), but may have themes that you may or may not be comfortable with your child hearing depending on how mature they are or how many questions you want to answer (thing death, necromancy, etc.)
T - Teen book. This book has profanity and possible sexual innuendo, but no sex scenes.
MR - This book is for mature readers. May have sex, gore, heavy language, or a theme I don't think even a teenager should hear. (Don't ask me to define this - I'm leaving it open to interpretation.)
I will include a brief explanation in each rating on what subject made me give it that rating, so that you can personally choose what you feel is appropriate for your child.
So there you have it. I'm totally open to comments on this one - anyone who has a better rating system or more ideas please leave me a comment!