A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that kids don't need to register for this book-centric site, which means there's no way for them to communicate with each other. The content is intended for 12- to 17-year-olds, and some reviews deal with books that really aren't appropriate for younger kids (containing complex teen issues like sex, drug use, etc) so you may want to limit or supervise their site use.
What's it about?
Teens can search for young adult titles by author, genre, or date or browse hundreds of book reviews on Teenreads, published by The Book Report, which also runs book-centric sites for twentysomethings, graphic novel fans, and other audiences. A panel of 25 teens contribute reviews and blog posts during six-month appointments. Teens can also get career advice from book editors, art directors, and other behind-the-scenes publishing people. Additional site content includes author interviews, soon-to-be-released book information, and a monthly poll.
Is it any good?
Book enthusiasts will love TEENREADS, but the site has made an effort to include -- and inspire -- more reluctant readers, too. For example, the Ultimate Reading List, compiled from reader and staff input, offers a jazzier selection than most school-based summer reading lists. Its 400 titles are split into fun categories like Books to Read During the Day, With the Lights On (mystery and suspense novels) and Books to Furiously Chain Read (which includes the Twilight and Hunger Games series, of course). Teens can also find out about movies and TV shows that were based on novels; another section compares interviews from authors who write about similar themes.
Generally, recommendations involve modern fiction, although some classics also make an appearance on the site. Some reviews are so detailed that the book essentially has its own mini-website, featuring an excerpt, reading guide, discussion questions, and other items. It would be nice if there were a way for kids to interact more with Teenreads' vibrant content; there's no spot for comments or any forums.
Teenreads unfortunately seems to be having technical issues; some pages load slowly, and a "service unavailable" message appeared several times during a recent visit. Hopefully the issue is only temporary and kids will soon be able to browse the site's reading suggestions without any frustrating delays.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.