I have always tried to give a lot of basic information about a book at the top of my reviews. Obviously, I read mostly romance. But I also read every other genre, including YA and middle-grade. I’ve never wanted an aunt, uncle, parent, or other trusted adult to recommend a book to a young person that wasn’t appropriate because I wasn’t up front on the heat level of a book. Until now, I’ve used MPAA ratings used for movies.
I’ve never loved this method and, in fact, have changed which books I give an R rating as opposed to a XXX rating. Then, a few weeks ago, I saw a tweet that really gave me pause and had me rethinking how I do things around here. I wish I had saved the tweet so I could give credit to the person who brought this to my attention. Plus, I’d have the wording he used instead of having to paraphrase.
Basically what he asked was, who decides the heat level of a book? What one reader would consider risque and high heat, another looks at as vanilla and run-of-the-mill. What right does one person have to tell another person how they should view the intimate moments in a story?
I’ve been thinking of that ever since I saw the tweet and just knew it was time to make some changes. And, it may take me a long time, but I’m planning on going back and changing my ratings for my past reviews to reflect this change.
Using an age range is the best I could come up with at this point. Although I’m very aware that what one 16 year old is mature enough to read may not be the okay for another 16 year old. I’ll do the best I can to steer you in the right direction. Of course, there comes a time where we all still have to use our own discretion.
One of the things I found I like more about this way of doing things is I’m better able to pinpoint who will enjoy a story. While the above book would have been rated PG-13 in the past, I don’t know many 13 or 14 year olds who would get much out of this story. There isn’t sex or violence that would have me giving it an R rating, but there’s nothing in the old rating system I used to reflect the in between stories.
You may have also noticed another change I made recently. I’ve always tried to put content warnings within my reviews. I realized that some people don’t want to read anything about a book that they ultimately know they will not be able to read. I’ve taken to putting my content warnings in the same area I put all the other basic information on a book.
I’m hoping these changes will help anyone who visits my blog to find what they’re looking while being able to weed out the things they aren’t.
I’d love any feedback you have on this issue. I’m always open to anything that will help me improve as a person and as a blogger.