Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

Green Light YA Reads: A Flowchart

Kelly Jensen


Kelly is a former librarian and a long-time blogger at STACKED. She's the editor/author of (DON'T) CALL ME CRAZY: 33 VOICES START THE CONVERSATION ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH and the editor/author of HERE WE ARE: FEMINISM FOR THE REAL WORLD. Her next book, BODY TALK, will publish in Fall 2020. Follow her on Instagram @heykellyjensen.

One of the most popular requests I get in the library is for YA books that are appropriate for virtually any YA reader, from those who are 11 or 12 and just starting to dip their toes into the YA waters or those who just prefer to read a book that doesn’t contain a lot of swearing, gory violence, partying, or sensitive content. It’s not like any of those things are bad in YA books (they’re not, and frankly, dark, edgy YA is my favorite kind of YA), but there’s something to be said about having a ready list of books that would go over with little objection to almost any reader.

Rather than share a standard booklist of “green light reads,” I thought it would be much more interesting to create a flowchart to help readers looking for these sorts of books find something perfect for them. Why “green light reads?” Because I think using terms like “clean reads” or “books that won’t make you blush” suggests that books which fall outside the designation are problematic, dirty, or should embarrass you as a reader for what they contain.

Although the content in the books here should be suitable for almost any reader, do keep in mind that sometimes the intellectual content within the books makes them less-than-ideal for younger readers. Likewise, a handful of these books do contain occasional profanity, violence, or other sensitive content, but it’s mild and situationally-warranted. A few titles may also lean more middle grade than YA, but they’re books YA readers would heartily enjoy.

And with that, here’s your flowchart to “green light reads.” Right click the image and open in a new tab to magnify it, and if you want to download the flowchart as a .pdf, you can do that here.


Green Light YA Reads for All Ages


Sign up for our newsletter to have the best of Book Riot delivered straight to your inbox every two weeks. No spam. We promise.

To keep up with Book Riot on a daily basis, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, , and subscribe to the Book Riot podcast in iTunes or via RSS. So much bookish goodness–all day, every day.