Wednesday, August 1, 2018

#ReadCleanYA - Guest Post by Teen Author, Taylor Bennett

I’ve read books before that I love—like, really, really love. Books like The Kite Runner, that introduce me to an entirely new culture. Books like The Book Thief, that make me laugh and cry and—oh, did I mention?—bawl my eyes out. Books like…


That didn’t come out right.

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While I love books like those mentioned above, I rarely never endorse them because…there’s some seriously bad stuff in them. Not that I’d know what, exactly (I’ve read copies that have the inappropriate scenes/words blacked out 😉) but I know it’s nothing very good.
The few times I’ve had the audacity to pick a book off the YA shelf at a bookstore, I’ve been gravely disappointed. I once had the immense displeasure of having to throw a brand-new hardback in the garbage after reading the first chapter.

And yes.

I know what you’re thinking.

Did I really have to throw it in the trash?


Yes, I did.

Honestly, you couldn’t have paid me to get me to give that book to anyone else. It was that bad—and I’m not just talking about the plot and prose.

Sooo…what’s a girl with a heart for the Lord and strong convictions to do? I certainly can’t give up reading altogether, and, sadly, the contemporary YA genre (my favorite!) is filled with stories that leave a reader feeling scummy. It isn’t unusual for me to leave a bookstore in a sour mood after paging through several of beautiful new YA releases, only to have my innocence affected in the process.

The Narrow Shelf

You know that shelf—the tiny one at the back of the store? The one that’s so easy to overlook? Yes, I’m talking about the Christian fiction shelf.

Somehow, in our age of acceptance and inclusivity, bookstores have decided to nearly obliterate their selections of clean and Christian reads in the name of carrying books that appeal to a more progressive audience.

So, in their effort to reach more people, they’re actually turning away some of their most faithful readers.

And that makes me…


As Christians, we are called to be set apart, to not let the sin of the world seep in around the edges of our holy and sanctified lives. And that is why my heart breaks every time I hear about the “newest and coolest” book, song, or TV show. Because, more often than not, it’s not something the Lord would want me to be a part of.

But then…if we are to be in the world but not of it, how do we, as obsessive bookworms, find enough books to satisfy both our unique thirst for story and our desire to stay pure in mind, body, and spirit?

That is why I challenge you


Did you know that the #ReadDiverse has more than fifty thousand posts across Instagram? #ReadCleanYA has…four.

But what if this wasn’t the case?

What if we—as word-loving, heart-guarding children of God—began to raise awareness for the books we love. The ones that don’t harm our souls or lead us down a narrow path. The ones that speak to our heart, encourage us when we’re weak, and put a smile on our face. The books that deserve to be recognized as the pure, lovely stories that they are.

It can be done.

I know it can.

So let’s try it—you and me and all of the other amazing, clean-reading bookworms out there today. Let’s #ReadCleanYA, and let’s make sure the whole world knows. Use the hashtag, spread it around like sunshine and sparkles. Showcase your favorite books and talk about how they touch your heart and your soul for the better.

Share books that point to Jesus, and books that are just good, clean fun. Let’s help each other out by showcasing the books that speak to our hearts in this way.

(Because, let’s face it—we always want to add to our TBR, and what better way to do that than to fill our to-be-read stack with beautiful, pure, and wholesome books?)

Who’s with me?

If you’d like to join me in my quest to raise awareness for these kinds of books, chime in with a comment below or post to your social media accounts using the hashtag #ReadCleanYa.

Let’s start a clean-read revolution!!

PS—Here’s a list of some of my favorite clean YA reads, in case you could use some inspiration:

About Taylor:

Homeschooled since kindergarten, Taylor Bennett is the seventeen-year-old author of Porch Swing Girl, which will be released by Mountain Brook Ink on May 1st. When she’s not reading or writing, Taylor can be found playing her violin or taking walks in the beautiful Oregon countryside. She loves to connect with readers via her author website, as well as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (her favorite!), Pinterest, and Goodreads.


Porch Swing Girl back cover copy:

What if friendship cost you everything?

Stranded in Hawaii after the death of her mother, sixteen-year-old Olive Galloway is desperate to escape. She has to get back to Boston before her dad loses all common sense and sells the family house. But plane tickets cost money—something Olive gravely lacks.

With the help of Brander, the fussy youth group worship leader, and Jazz, a mysterious girl with a passion for all things Hawaiian, Olive lands a summer job at the Shave Ice Shack and launches a scheme to buy a plane ticket home before the end of the summer.

But when Jazz reveals a painful secret, Olive’s plans are challenged. Jazz needs money. A lot of it. Olive and Brander are determined to help their friend but, when their fundraising efforts are thwarted, Olive is caught in the middle. To help Jazz means giving up her ticket home. And time is running out.



  1. Yesss, Taylor! This is such a good post, and so terribly true! It is SO HARD to find an engaging YA read that I don’t feel like I have to compromise in order to read it. Will definitely be tweeting as I find more clean reads!

  2. Thanks so much for bringing up a problem I have come across when I read reviews of YA novels.

  3. Taylor, thank you for this article and the book suggestions! I find it difficult when choosing books to read, because I usually don't know much about them until I'm reading them. I appreciate suggestions from other Christians who are looking to read clean YA fiction. :)


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