Young Adult Books and Book Reviews

Our students are inundated with myriads of messages from movies, books, games, and the internet.  Some messages are harmless and appropriate for their age, and many are not.  In an effort to help parents have a better understanding of the content of books in middle school libraries in Shelby County Schools, we have begun labeling books that are considered YOUNG ADULT literature with a sticker on the spine of the book.  Although YA books are considered to be appropriate for students 7th grade (or age 12) and up, we will not prevent a 6th grader from checking out a Young Adult book. The sticker on the book and the links to review websites below are tools you as the parent can use to determine whether or not a particular book is right for your child.

Editorial reviews are used to determine if a book is considered YA. Reviews sometimes differ based on the opinion of the reviewing organization.  Common book review sources that we use are School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, and more.  To find these reviews, parents can use these common book retailer sites (not every book will have reviews listed):

Barnes and Noble – ( – search for book title and click on Editorial Reviews.

Amazon – ( – search for book title and click on Editorial Reviews.

Alabama Virtual Library – ( – click on View All Resources, select EBSCOhost Search, click Limit Your Results: Publication: School Library Journal (or Kirkus, etc.), search the title of the book for which you are seeking a review.

Common Sense Media – ( – This site does not provide Editorial Reviews, but provides parent and student reviews of the titles.