Personally, I want to know what to expect when I read books...just the same as wanting to know what to expect when I go to the movies. However, some book reviews - and I'm sure we've all heard them (maybe even written some ourselves) - sound a little too much like ringing endorsements and less like personal reviews. And even less have content information. We typically write reviews based on how we feel, which can be different from how someone else feels. And if we don't think something is that big of a deal (to us), we may not include it in reviews. For example, I'm unfortunately really uptight about sexual content and really lax about language and violence. One of my goodreads friends pointed out that unless a book has the F-word in it, I won't say anything about language. So I'll try to be more factual in that department... :)
And for a little shout-out within a shout-out: to Juju @ Tales of Whimsy... her reviews were really the first (not the last, but the first) that I saw that actually gave me a good indication of what to expect when reading. If you haven't been to her site, she has different "meters" that gauge content and give age-appropriate suggestions, which is brilliant. So thank you, Juju!
But anyway, on to the sites: These are two of the best sites that I know of for 1) parents and 2) readers who like to know what to expect when going into a book. All of my aunts and several of my other parent-friends know about these sites and use them routinely.
My favorite is Reading Teen: Parental Book Reviews. This site is just like Screenit (the best movie review site on the internet!) only for books. It breaks down topics by content and gives quotes from the book you're reviewing. They update their site often and feature reviews for very popular and new teen books... they're my favorite! I don't know if it's one mom or a team of moms, but I love their little commentaries at the bottom - they're cute! And most importantly, they're effective. In fact, their ratings have a link that takes you to actual passages from the book. In a situation like this, I really don't care about spoilers, but some of you might, so that link is optional.
Another good site is Common Sense Media - Books. This site is definitely more "professional" looking and they have way more titles to search. Personally, I ignore their age categories, because some of the 12-14 books I would consider better suited for 15-17...and a few of their reviews (for books that I've read myself) have left out content, plus obviously different interpretations on what is and is not "graphic." But again, they have more titles to choose from.
Okay, so I don't know how many parents may read this, or how many of you find book reviews like these useful. But I've been meaning to do a post like this for awhile, so here it is. :)
My recommendation? Bookmark these sites!