The Lost Sisters

The Lost Sisters by Holly Black

Sometimes the difference between a love story and a horror story is where the ending comes . . .

While Jude fought for power in the Court of Elfhame against the cruel Prince Cardan, her sister Taryn began to fall in love with the trickster, Locke.

Half-apology and half-explanation, it turns out that Taryn has some secrets of her own to reveal.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Cheating
  • Coerced marriage discussed
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Blood & gore depiction
  • Dead bodies & body parts
  • Murder discussed
  • Death of a mother & father recounted
  • Near-drowning incident
  • Bullying

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Damsel

Damsel by Elana K. Arnold

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 arms of Prince Emory, however, she knows none of this. She has no memory of what came before she was captured by the dragon, or what horrors she has faced in its lair. She knows only this handsome prince, the story he tells of her rescue, and her destiny to sit on the throne beside him. Ama comes with Emory back to the kingdom of Harding, hailed as the new princess, welcomed to the court.

However, as soon as her first night falls, she begins to realize that not all is as it seems, that there is more to the legends of the dragons and the damsels than anyone knows–and that the greatest threats to her life may not be behind her, but here, in front of her. 

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Misogyny
  • Graphic sexual assault
  • Graphic rape & rape threats
  • Bestiality
  • Physical & emotional abuse, including gaslighting
  • Suicide
  • Graphic self-harm
  • Grey-area cheating
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Imprisonment
  • Graphic animal abuse & animal cruelty

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Wicked Fox

Gumiho: Wicked Fox by Kat Cho

Eighteen-year-old Gu Miyoung has a secret. She’s a gumiho–a nine-tailed fox who survives by consuming the energy of men. But she’s also half-human and has a soft spot for people. So she won’t kill indiscriminately. With the help of a shaman, Miyoung only takes the lives of men who have committed terrible crimes. Devouring their life force is a morbid kind of justice… or so she tells herself.

But killing men no one would ever miss in bustling modern-day Seoul also helps Miyoung keep a low profile. She and her mother protect themselves by hiding in plain sight. That is until Miyoung crosses paths with a handsome boy her age as he’s being attacked by a goblin in the woods. She breaks her mother’s cardinal rule–revealing herself and her nine tails–to save Jihoon from certain death. In the process, she loses her fox bead–her gumiho soul. Without it, she will die.

When Miyoung and Jihoon next meet, there’s no doubt they are drawn to each other. But their tenuous romance could be over before it even begins, as Miyoung’s efforts to restore her fox bead by the next full moon ensnares them in a generations-old feud, forcing Miyoung to choose between her immortal life and Jihoon’s.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Classism
  • Ableist language
  • Physical, emotional & verbal parental abuse
  • Parental neglect & abandonment
  • Nightmares
  • Suicide discussed and suicide attempt
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Pregnancy mentioned
  • Blood & gore depiction
  • Serious injury to a loved one
  • Seizures (on-page multiple scenes)
  • Coma (sc)
  • Hospital (setting)
  • Medical procedures, including blood tests & surgery mentioned
  • Grief & loss depiction
  • Death of a mother (on-page)
  • Death of a grandmother (on-page)
  • Murder & attempted murder
  • Physical assault
  • Attempted infanticide recounted
  • Hostage situation
  • Drowning recounted
  • Loss of autonomy (central theme)*
  • Bullying

*The main character is a gumiho and when someone possesses her fox bead, they can control her actions and force her to follow their instructions.

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Clap When You Land

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…

In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.

Separated by distance – and Papi’s secrets – the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.

Papi’s death uncovers all the painful truths he kept hidden, and the love he divided across an ocean. And now, Camino and Yahaira are both left to grapple with what this new sister means to them, and what it will now take to keep their dreams alive.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Depictions of rape & sexual assault
  • Sexual harassment
  • Stalking
  • Cheating mentioned
  • Pregnancy, childbirth (labour) & premature birth
  • Grief depiction
  • Death of a father
  • Plane crash (off-page)

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A Song of Wraiths and Ruin

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts Malik’s younger sister, Nadia, as payment into the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal—kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom.

But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic . . . requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition.

When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death?

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Ableism and ableist language
  • Racism and racial slurs (fictional race)
  • Colonialism themes
  • Refugee experiences
  • Riots and stampede
  • Police brutality
  • Emotional child abuse
  • Physical child & parental abuse
  • Cheating mentioned
  • Anxiety (mc)
  • Panic attacks (multiple, described in detail op)
  • Hallucinations
  • Depersonalisation and derealization
  • Self-harm and self-harm ideation
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Emesis (multiple)
  • Blood depiction
  • Grief depiction (central theme)
  • Death of a father recounted
  • Death of a mother (op)
  • Death of a sister recounted
  • Death in a fire recounted
  • Hostage situation
  • Kidnapping and attempted kidnapping
  • Knife violence & stabbing
  • Murder and attempted murder
  • Regicide
  • Whipping (of feet) mentioned
  • Animal cruelty
  • Animal death (including animal sacrifice)

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Mexican Gothic

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find—her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.

Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.

Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.

And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Racism and white supremacy, including discussion of eugenics
  • Attempted rape
  • Incest
  • Suicide discussed
  • Miscarriage and stillbirths
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Recreational drug use (smoking)
  • Hallucinations
  • Cannibalism
  • Gore depiction and body horror
  • Murder
  • Death of a child
  • Death of a parent and family members discussed

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All That Impossible Space

All That Impossible Space by Anna Morgan

15-year-old Lara Laylor feels like supporting character in her own life. She’s Ashley’s best friend, she’s Hannah’s sister-she’s never just Lara.

When new history teacher Mr. Grant gives her an unusual assignment: investigating the mystery of the Somerton Man. Found dead in on an Adelaide beach in 1948, a half-smoked cigarette still in his mouth and the labels cut out of his clothes, the Somerton Man has intrigued people for years. Was he a spy? A criminal? Year 10 has plenty of mysteries of its own: boys, drama queen friends, and enigmatic new students. When they seem just as unsolvable as a 60-year-old cold case, Lara finds herself spending more and more time on the assignment.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Ableist language
  • Teacher-student relationship discussed
  • Grooming
  • Toxic friendship (central theme)
  • Abandonment discussed
  • Suicide mentioned
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Asthma attacks (on-page)
  • Murder and dead bodies discussed
  • Drowning recounted
  • War themes mentioned
  • Bullying (rumour spreading)

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The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins

The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins by Clint McElroy, Griffin McElroy, Justin McElroy, Travis McElroy & Carey Pietsch

EJoin Taako the elf wizard, Merle the dwarf cleric, and Magnus the human warrior for an adventure they are poorly equipped to handle AT BEST, guided (“guided”) by their snarky DM, in a graphic novel that, like the smash-hit podcast it’s based on, will tickle your funny bone, tug your heartstrings, and probably pants you if you give it half a chance.

With endearingly off-kilter storytelling from master goofballs Clint McElroy and the McElroy brothers, and vivid, adorable art by Carey Pietsch, The Adventure Zone: Here There be Gerblins is the comics equivalent of role-playing in your friend’s basement at 2am, eating Cheetos and laughing your ass off as she rolls critical failure after critical failure

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Self-sacrifice
  • Self-inflicted wounds
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Blood & gore depiction
  • Physical injuries
  • Death of a cousin
  • Death of a father
  • Death of an uncle
  • Murder & attempted murder
  • Explosion
  • Fire
  • Kidnapping & hostage situation
  • Graphic animal dead bodies

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Abroad

Abroad by Liz Jacobs

Nick Melnikov doesn’t know where he belongs. He was just a kid when his Russian-Jewish family immigrated to Michigan. Now he’s in London for university, overwhelmed by unexpected memories. Socially anxious, intensely private, and closeted, Nick doesn’t expect to fall in so quickly with a tight-knit group of students from his college, and it’s both exhilarating and scary. Hanging out with them is a roller coaster of serious awkward and incredible longing, especially when the most intimidating of the group, Dex, looks his way.

Dex Cartwell knows exactly who he is: a black queer guy who doesn’t give a toss what anybody thinks of him. He is absolutely, one-hundred-percent, totally in control of his life. Apart, maybe, from the stress of his family’s abrupt move to an affluent, largely white town. And worrying about his younger brother feeling increasingly isolated as a result. And the persistent broken heart he’s been nursing for a while . . .

When Nick and Dex meet, both find themselves intrigued. Countless late-night conversations only sharpen their attraction. But the last thing Nick wants is to face his deepest secret, and the last thing Dex needs is another heartache. Dex has had to fight too hard for his right to be where he is. Nick isn’t even sure where he’s from. So how can either of them tell where this is going?

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Coming out themes
  • Internalised homomisia
  • Transmisia
  • Anxiety
  • Agoraphobia
  • Alcohol consumption

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A Curse so Dark and Lonely

A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year, Prince Rhen, the heir of Emberfall, thought he could be saved easily if a girl fell for him. But that was before he turned into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. Before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper learned to be tough enough to survive. When she tries to save a stranger on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s pulled into a magical world.

Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. A prince? A curse? A monster? As she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Ableism and ableist language
  • Sexism
  • Sexual assault (on-page) & rape threats
  • Cheating recounted
  • Nightmares
  • Suicide (multiple accounts recounted)
  • Suicide attempt (on-page, discussed & recounted)
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Blood and gore depiction, and dead bodies
  • Graphic physical injuries
  • Terminal cancer and death from cancer (protagonist’s mother)
  • Amputation recounted
  • Emesis
  • Grief & loss depiction
  • Death of a mother (op)
  • Death of a sister & father recounted
  • Murder and attempted murder
  • Physical assailt
  • Graphic torture (multiple scenes)
  • Gun violence
  • Knife violence & stabbing
  • Kidnapping & attempted kidnapping
  • Death from a fall recounted
  • Death from drowning recounted
  • War themes, including battle scenes
  • Attempted regicide
  • Poverty themes & debt collection discussed

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