Clean Score Definitions

Since “clean read” means something different for everyone according to their own moral and/or religious preferences, I’ve decided to define mine below so you can make an accurate assessment of my score when deciding whether or not to read a book I have recommended. Note that I do this as part of my recommendation process so you can be sure you’ll enjoy the book, not as a form of censorship! I celebrate Banned Book Week every year 🙂


0 – No language, or rare uses of mild language
1 – Some rare uses of four letter words
2 – Frequent language in dialogue, but it is in keeping with the character.
3 – Excessive language


0 – No violence or gore described
1 – Violent scenes occur, but summarized rather than described in detail (eg. “So it was that they did not see the last stand, when Uglúk was overtaken and brought to bay at the very edge of Fangorn. There he was slain at last by Éomer, the Third Marshal of the Mark, who dismounted and fought him sword to sword.” – The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers, chapter 3)
2 – Violence and gore described in detail as experienced/seen by the characters.
3 – Violence and gore described gratuitously.


0 – No romance or nudity
1 – Sweet romance present (eg. blushing, kissing, holding hands), and/or nudity described non-sexually
2 – Mature romance present but sexual scenes kept vague, emotional, and/or “behind closed doors”
3 – Hot and heavy intimate sex scenes and/or rape described

*Disclaimer: I rank same-gender sex scenes the same as male-female sex scenes. For me, it’s the heat and/or violence, not the nature of the relationship, that determines my comfort level.

All for a grand total of 0 being “cleanest” and 9 being “dirtiest”. I will explain on each review individually what content I encountered, but in general my rankings go as follows:

Total Clean Scores

0 – 1 = Squeaky Clean

2 – 4 = Clean Enough

5 – 9 = Less Than Clean

Let’s Discuss

What’s YOUR definition of a clean read? Do you always finish the book no matter what, or are certain things dealbreakers for you? Let’s discuss in the comments below!

Civility Reminder – Meadowlarkin’ promotes discussion and healthy disagreement! I believe there is beauty in different people having different voices and opinions; it’s hard to paint a picture with just one shade of one colour! Please respect others, even if they disagree with you. All comments will be moderated.

1 thought on “Clean Score Definitions”

  1. So, for me personally, there are deal breakers. If content is used in character (ie. a drunken sailor’s gonna cuss, man, it’d be weird if he didn’t…) I’m generally okay with it. If I feel like language, violence, sex ect. is being described in an over-the-top fashion or specifically to get a rise out of me as the reader, I probably won’t finish the book. What about you?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *