Generally most book reviews found in professional library and book trade publications comment on excessive use of profanity and vulgar language, but those standards have changed significantly through the years. Words once considered by publishers as objectionable, such as “shit,” “fuck,” “dick,” “cunt” and “douchebag” (with all their variations), are no longer considered so. Likewise, disparaging references to deities (“Jesus Christ,” in particular) are becoming more commonplace. You have to look long and hard to find a YA novel with none of these words in it. We illustrate the frequency of such in the books we review.
Likewise, we provide information about the extent and frequency of sexual content, controversial societal issues, violence, and significant literary themes that concern school librarians working with small budgets in more conservative communities. Censorship is not our guiding concern but rather judicious book selection to maximize book use. Maximizing the budget so that purchased books stay in circulation without being removed because of challenges is our goal.
Our colored tab system provides visual clues to book contents that aid in decision-making. The likelihood of a book challenge in your particular library situation may be gauged with a quick glance at the tabs.