I didn’t know how to respond.
A mom asked me how to help her daughter choose “safe” books for her ten-year old to take on vacation. The mom said book covers were no help. “Sometimes they show a scary scene or sexy character on the cover, but the story is fine. Other books look OK, but they have drug use or language I don’t want her reading.”
It’s a problem.
In addition to asking librarians and booksellers, and following the summer reading list sent home from school, I suggested the student and her mom check online reviews and talk to friends. After all, we depend on trusted recommendations for so many things, we might as well ask the same sources to identify good books to read.