As a parent, I have often wanted to find some kind of rating system for books to find out if I should let my kids read it. All I can find are websites that give reviews and rankings. Just about every book has someone that gives it a one star and someone else that gives it five. But that doesn't help me. I want to know how much language, sex, drugs and violence a book has. I finally gave up looking and decided to start my own. I've already put my rating for Dan Brown's Angels and Demons on my writing website (www.berinstephens.com). I'm still working on developing a list of rules so that I can get some consistency, but there are still a lot of things that are subject to interpretation. If this takes off, I hope to get help from others who are like-minded, since there is no way I can read enough books by myself.
I don't plan on giving reviews. All I want to do is give people an idea of what it has in it so that they can make informed decisions. Like me, for instance, I don't mind a little violence and gore, but I am sensitive to too much swearing and sexual scenes. Someone else may be exactly the opposite. I decided to not put a top end to the scale, like from 1 to 10, since there is no way I would ever read anything anywhere close to what would be considered a ten.
Anyway, we'll see what happens with this idea. I am currently working on The Candy Shop Wars by Brandon Mull, so that I can get an idea of how a young adult book compares to an adult. Then, I plan to read Fablehaven 4, also by Mull, and Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. It's not that I really want to read a book about vampires and romance, but I keep hearing so much positive and negative about the book that I feel I need to find out for myself. I guess then I need to reread the Harry Potter books, both to give ratings and to do an analysis from a writer's perspective.