What is Clean YA Fiction? A Quick Guide

The cover image for the blog post What is Clean YA Fiction. It shows Grandfather, Power Panther, Sword Master and Tiger-eye

Written by Alisa Beagley

Alisa is the author of The Origin of Sword Master series. Her hobbies include writing and illustrating superhero stories, playing film score music on the piano, running her YouTube channel, making comics and graphic novels, composing dramatic music, reading, photography and videography.

October 26, 2023

Clean YA Fiction

I recently discovered the category/genre of my books… Clean YA Fiction! So what does that mean? And why did I choose to write these kind of books? Read on to find out more.

First, let’s define what Clean YA Fiction is. ‘Clean’ determines the kind of content (which I’ll explain in detail below). ‘YA’ stands for Young Adults. ‘Fiction’ is when the stories are not based on true events.


Clean YA fiction is not restricted to certain genres. It can be anything from sci-fi to romance or suspense, but it’s most often applied to fantasy.

What it avoids

It cuts out swearing, drinking, sexual scenes beyond kissing and excessive violence. The swearing isn’t just replaced by asterisks; the sentences are written to intentionally avoid the words in the first place. The violence factor isn’t so important to this genre, as there is quite a bit of leeway as to how much is acceptable.

What it includes

This category may leave out a few topics, but that doesn’t mean the stories are found wanting. They often include authentic characters, imperfect protagonists and relatable teenage characters. Along with these, Clean YA Fiction frequently brings up real life issues (as well as your genre-related issues. It’s going to be a bit difficult to keep all issues normal while your character lives in a world where humans can develop powers from lightning strikes and supervillains lurk in every corner!)

Who it’s for

I already touched on this earlier, but Clean YA Fiction is, as the name suggests, for young adults. This age group is generally considered to be 13-18 year olds. I like to write for a slightly lower age range, ages 9 and up (only limited by whoever is interested).

Why I chose it

I’ve never liked reading swear words in books. Some sexual scenes can be waaaay over the top considering they’re written for teens. And some of the violence in superhero books for this age is horrifying.

I discovered this the hard way when I reached the age where I felt the kids’ books were too young for me. I ventured into the young adults area of the library. I didn’t find the small selection of good books there past the overwhelming number of evil books there. When I eventually found a book I thought I might like, the sprinkling of swear words that peppered the characters’ speech turned me off it.

It was at this point that I realised I could very well write my own books. I didn’t think I would ever publish them at the time; I just wrote them for my own enjoyment. I created Sword Master and a whole host of other characters for his world, and I began to write books the way I wanted them to be. I never realised until recently that I was writing in the category called Clean YA Fiction. 

As you can probably imagine, I was amazed to discover that the way I’d been writing since 2017 was already an existing category.

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