There has been some discussion in the library world and media lately about whether or not YA Fiction should be rated, in a similar way to how movies and video games are. This is in part due to a study that came out in May that found that YA characters that swear tend to be more popular.
Whether or not that ever happens, it can be difficult to find YA books with minimal swearing, violence and/or sexuality. If you are looking for "clean" reads (for all age groups) for your library, there are a couple of resources to help you out:
Library of Clean Reads: a Canadian blog self described as "Review of adult, YA and children's books that are free of explicit sex, profanity, graphic violence and paranormal themes". And the blogger describes their rating system in the following way:
This blog reviews books that are rated according to my personal rating system. This system is simply to assist readers and is not meant to discriminate.
You will see a letter and perhaps a note next to the book title or at the end of the review.
The letters reflect the subjects being rated:
C = clean
S = sex
V = violence
P = profanity
PA = Paranormal
A book may be rated as (P mild) for a few vulgar words.
Rated Reads: According to the website, "The basic goal, or mission, of Rated Reads is to review newer books and rate them for content to give you an idea of what kinds of offensive material might be in them." The website groups its reviews first into age category (i.e. Young Adult, Adult) and then by the level of offensive material (none, mild, moderate, high and "dirt").
NoveList: Don't forget about NoveList Plus! It has a great feature that allows you to search for books by "tone", for example you can search for books that are "heartwarming," "moving," "upbeat," or "homespun" and avoid books that are "steamy," "violent," "gruesome" or "disturbing." Reviews are read-a-likes are also provided.
Please keep in mind when using these websites that they are very subjective to the reviewer's own feelings on what is appropriate or not. They are not meant to be ultimate guides, because no official rating system exists. Also the titles that have reviews are selected titles - not every book you're trying to find will be available. However, if you are looking to find 'gentle' or 'clean' reads, they may be helpful for you and your patrons.