Should books come with ratings?

I had a discussion the other day with my ten-year old. To save you some time, I’ll summarize a bit: she really wants to read my new upcoming book, but I told her it wasn’t made for her age group and she asked me, ‘Well, what’s it rated? Because you’ve let me watch some PG13 stuff.’ After I stared at her long enough to make us both feel weird, I answered, ‘You know…I’m not sure.’

And it got me thinking. I know that all books have genres and some sales outlets require a warning if your book is inappropriate for minors…but would a rating system actually work? The more I thought about this, the more I kind of liked it as a reader – and a parent. You see, my ten-year old is very aware that the Hunger Games trilogy is technically a YA book…but she is not allowed to read it yet. Can a YA book have a rating of PG13 or even R? I think it could. The Hunger Games is definitely not a PG rated story.

So I took a glance at my bookshelf and loosely labeled each book with a ‘rating’. No surprise to me, most were rated R. That’s what I read, I suppose. Aside from the books I have from my childhood, the majority are riddled with violence, gore, bad language and yes, sex. In fact, my entire Find Me series would most definitely qualify an R rating, I’m sure. My Station series – hmmm…PG13?

What is your take on the subject? If books had ratings – do you think it would make picking the right titles for you and your children easier…or more time-consuming? Or, when it comes to books, do you simply not care what it would be rated? While you chew on those questions for a bit, I have to add something – I don’t think a system like this would be implemented any time soon. It would be a massive challenge for book distributors to ensure each book was under the proper rating. But hey, the idea itself (though not unique, I know it’s been talked about before) is slightly cool to me.

Happy reading, friends!