Hiya bookish people!

Is this another list? Yes.
Am I obsessed with lists? Yes.
Are spreadsheets just fancier and more informative lists? Frick yeah!

I started reading YA at a very young age. I started reading books categorised as ‘Young Adult’ at about age 10 – 11. Now, this may be the same as everyone else or not, I don’t know, but my reason for saying that I started early is that the Young Adult genre is defined as being for readers ages 12 to 18 on Wikipedia. Yes, Wikipedia isn’t a majorly reliable source, but I am not your English teacher so I am gonna go with it.

With social media now, whether it be blogging or Tiktok or Instagram, we see a lot of the really popular YA books, and that’s okay. However, I am worried that this means that young YA readers or new YA readers will be exposed to some pretty explicit stuff at a way too young age. So here is a list of ✨ s p i c y ✨ YA books and NA books that are often mistaken as YA books that are way too ✨ s p i c y ✨ for new YA readers ( in my opinion ).


A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Why? I am a lover of this series, but I have to admit that younger readers should not be going into this book as an introduction to the YA genre. It’s extremely sexual, and does have a lot of romanticised abuse and a little conditioning that we witness throughout the series.

Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the . . .

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Why? Again, I am a lover of this series, but for the exact same reasons as ‘ACOTAR’, I have to flag Throne of Glass. This book is not appropriate for younger YA readers, it’s extremely sexual, and does have a lot of romanticised abuse and a lot and lot of violence, some quite detailed and drawn out.

Meet Celaena Sardothien.
Beautiful. Deadly. Destined for greatness.
In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake: she got caught.
Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her . . .

After by Anna Todd

Why? This book is a drawn out experience of a highly toxic relationship written in a romantic way. There is a lot of alcohol and sex abuse that could wrongly influence younger readers. This is also technically a NA book but as it was written on Wattpad, it is often mistaken as a YA book.

Tessa is a good girl with a sweet, reliable boyfriend back home. She’s got direction, ambition, and a mother who’s intent on keeping her that way.
But she’s barely moved into her freshman dorm when she runs into Hardin. With his tousled brown hair, cocky British accent, tattoos, and lip . . .

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

Why? So while this series sounds like a good mindless read, there are so many better Shadowhunter books to read when starting out in YA. The Mortal Instruments has incestual ideas and graphic sex that expose young readers way too early with a relatively toxic online community that was established when these books where first published.

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police . . .

Damsel by Elana K. Arnold

Why? This book was amazing. But so freaking dark. With heavy mentions of rape, sexual violence, animal abuse and psychological manipualtion, this book is definitely for more mature readers and even then, not for the faint of heart. This is also a book where the lines between NA and YA blur yet again, leaning heavily to NA.

The rite has existed for as long as anyone can remember: when the prince-who-will-be-king comes of age, he must venture out into the gray lands, slay a fierce dragon, and rescue a damsel to be his bride. This is the way things have always been. When Ama wakes in the . . .

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Why? Yet another dark book involving PTSD, rape, drugs, and psychological implications that are too much for younger readers to be able to understand for what they are. This is a book that is often taken in small doses, and definitely not for new YA readers.

The critically acclaimed debut novel from Stephen Chbosky, Perks follows observant “wallflower” Charlie as he charts a course through the strange world between adolescence and adulthood. First dates, family drama, and new friends. Sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Devastating loss, young love, and life on the fringes . . .

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

Why? This is my favourite book ever, but I will not preach this to tiny ones. This book, although amazing, is filled to the brim with horror, gore, psychological manipulation that is too complicated, dark and intense for younger readers to be able to fully understand and view analytically when they need to.

In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.
Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short . . .


What books would you add to this list?

Emma xx

17 thoughts on “Books that are too ✨ s p i c y ✨ for new YA readers

  1. I love lists too, so we definitely have that in common. *lol*
    And yes to the Sarah J. Maas books! I wouldn’t recommend younger readers to read them either. I don’t remember enough of TMI to say if it would be bad for young readers to read it. I read it when I was about 16 or so and it was okay for me. Mhmm… guess it depends on the age here because I definitely wouldn’t recommend it to a 12 yo. XD

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t read a lot of the books on this list but I can definitely agree with The Mortal Instruments! I haven’t got to the demon cave spice (but I’ve read about it) because I stopped at the fifth one. But I remember this scene in City of Fallen Angels when Jace and Clary were making out in an alley and he literally ripped her pants with his fingers. And I was like, excuse me, wtf???
    Honestly, YA is really getting spicier. I’m not complaining but you are 100% right. It might be too much for people trasitioning from middle grade to ya.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know!! It was so weird and kinda out of place??
      You’re right, no complaints, but definitely needs to have better warnings, or change the YA demographic to older kids.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yess I love a list.
    I read throne of glass when I was about 12 I think but definitely agree that there should be distinctions in YA of beginner and non-beginner! I remember being so grossed out by the violence which was definitely graphic for someone used to Divergent and The Hunger Games (and I even found the latter quite violent).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. oops! I’m 12 but I’m completely OBSESSED with the throne of glass, court of thorns and roses, and mortal instrument series. I also really liked the perks of being a wallflower. i also started reading really early, like I read harry potter when I was 6, and really got into ya when I was 9. I haven’t read any others on the list, though some are on my tbr

    Liked by 1 person

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