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parenting teens

Trashy Teen Novels: What are Your Kids Reading?

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CBN.comWhat are your kids reading? What you don’t know may shock you. Book publishers trying to keep young people’s attention are taking cues from the sex-charged playbook of today’s media-saturated society.

Some books for young people are full of not-so-innocent material while making their way on to bestsellers lists and into your child’s hands.

Several books in the Gossip Girls series hit number one on the New York Times children’s book list. Intended for young girls, the series has been likened to “Sex and the City” for the younger generation. It details teen characters’ exploits in sex, money, drugs, alcohol, and other dramas of high society teenage living. Young readers are eating it up.

Another book, Rainbow Party, made waves among critics when it debuted earlier this year. The plot deals with the subject of oral sex and how a group of girls’ plans to host an oral sex party. Paul Ruditis, the writer of the book, states, “We just wanted to present an issue kids are dealing with.”

Is this a good way to engage teens in a conversation about oral sex? Not everyone agrees. One eighteen year old reader comments, “Not only is this book devoid of any literary merit, it is an extremely unrealistic look at the adolescent world. I realize that oral sex is rampant among young teens, but to have an ‘issue that needs to be confronted,’ as some reviewers have referred to it, presented in such a substandard way is doing a disservice to our teens.”

Other more critically acclaimed books dive into issues sure to raise eyebrows among parents. Teach Me takes a look into the relationship between a high school senior and her English teacher; he also happens to be her lover. Claiming Georgia Tate tells the story of a girl trapped in the home of an abusive and incestuous father.

Russell Nelson, author of Teach Me, defends current trends of teen books by saying, “I feel like it fills an important niche in moving the readers to a higher level of maturity.”

Though girl-oriented works dominate the young adult genre, books geared towards guys have their share of questionable material. Following the gore and guts themes of popular video games, books like Cirque du Freak and Demonata attract boys with morbid tales of vampires, demons, and other supernatural matters.

Young adult books are geared towards young people eighth grade and older, and some are written for kids as young as nine, yet many seem more appropriate for adults.

Are kids ready to read this material? Adolescent psychiatrist Dr. John Sargent doesn’t think so. “They [parents] buy it, thinking they are doing something nice for their kid, when, in fact, they have no clue what it is they’re exposing their kid to.”

Take Action

Be a protective filter for your kids. In a world of technology and media excess, it may be good for kids and teenagers to be exposed to a variety of writing, but not at the expense of their innocence. Try reading books they want to read first or find reviews for them online. Ask yourself, “Does this book reflect the values I am raising my children to live by?”

Can’t find a suitable alternative for them to read? We recommend these Christian books your teens will enjoy.

MSNBC, Wall Street Journal, USA Today,,,, The Register-Guard, PluggedIn,

Read youth culture news, youth ministry articles, and join the fight for America’s young people at Article reprinted with permission.

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