Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy, young girls are raised to be killers. In some few children the old bloods show, gifting rare talents that can be honed to deadly or mystic effect. But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls.

A bloodstained child of nine falsely accused of murder, guilty of worse, Nona is stolen from the shadow of the noose. It takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist, but under Abbess Glass’s care there is much more to learn than the arts of death. Among her class Nona finds a new family—and new enemies.

Despite the security and isolation of the convent, Nona’s secret and violent past finds her out, drawing with it the tangled politics of a crumbling empire. Her arrival sparks old feuds to life, igniting vicious struggles within the church and even drawing the eye of the emperor himself.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Child abuse
  • Parental abandonment
  • Death
  • Torture
  • Graphic animal abuse
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Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Under the streets of London there’s a place most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, knights in armour and pale girls in black velvet. This is the city of the people who have fallen between the cracks.

Richard Mayhew, a young businessman, is going to find out more than enough about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his workday existence and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and utterly bizarre. And a strange destiny awaits him down here, beneath his native city: Neverwhere.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Body horror
  • Animal abuse
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Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.

Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return… Read more.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Rape
  • Teacher-student relationship
  • Domestic violence
  • Suicide
  • Murder
  • Animal abuse
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Charlotte Says by Alex Bell

Charlotte Says by Alex Bell

Following the death of her mother in a terrible fire, Jemima flees to the remote Isle of Skye, to take up a job at a school for girls. There she finds herself tormented by the mystery of what really happened that night.

Then Jemima receives a box of Frozen Charlotte dolls from a mystery sender and she begins to remember – a séance with the dolls, a violent argument with her step-father and the inferno that destroyed their home. And when it seems that the dolls are triggering a series of accidents at the school, Jemima realizes she must stop the demonic spirits possessing the dolls – whatever it takes.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Physical abuse
  • Animal abuse
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Runt by Nora Raleigh Baskin

Runt by Nora Raleigh Baskin

Elizabeth Moon grew up around dogs. Her mom runs a boarding kennel out of their home, so she’s seen how dogs behave to determine pack order. Her experience in middle school is uncomfortably similar.

Maggie hates how Elizabeth acts so much better than everyone else. Besides, she’s always covered in dog hair. And she smells. So Maggie creates a fake profile on a popular social networking site to teach Elizabeth a lesson.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Animal abuse
  • Animal death
  • Animal injury
  • Bullying
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Tales of the Madman Underground by John Barnes

Tales of the Madman Underground by John Barnes

September 1973: The beginning of Karl Shoemaker’s senior year in stifling Lightsburg, Ohio. For years, Karl’s been part of “the Madman Underground”- kids forced to attend group therapy during school. Karl has decided that he is going to get out of the Madman Underground for good. He is going to act-and be-Normal. But Normal, of course, is relative. Karl has two after-school jobs, one dead father, one seriously unhinged drunk mother . . . and a huge attitude. Welcome to a gritty, uncensored rollercoaster ride, narrated by the singular Karl Shoemaker.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Homomisia & homomisic slurs
  • Racism & racial slurs
  • Hate crimes
  • Child sexual abuse
  • Underage sex work
  • Physical & verbal abuse
  • Alcoholism
  • Alcohol consumption & abuse
  • Recreational drug use
  • Medical treatment
  • Needles
  • Physical assault
  • Animal death & death of a pet
  • Animal abuse
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Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart

Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart

In a world where women have no rights, sisters Serina and Nomi face two very different fates: one in the palace, the other on an island prison where women must fight to survive.

Serina has spent her whole life preparing to become a Grace – selected to stand by the heir to the throne as a shining example of the perfect woman.

But her headstrong and rebellious younger sister has a dangerous secret, and one wrong move could cost both sisters everything. Can Serina fight? And will Nomi win? 

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Misogyny
  • Attempted rape
  • Physical & emotional abuse
  • Needles
  • Murder
  • Animal abuse
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Detention by Tristan Bancks

Detention by Tristan Bancks

Sima and her family are pressed to the rough, cold ground among fifty others. They lie next to the tall fence designed to keep them in. The wires are cut one by one.

When they make their escape, a guard raises the alarm. Shouting, smoke bombs, people tackled to the ground. In the chaos Sima loses her parents.

Dad told her to run, so she does, hiding in a school and triggering a lockdown. A boy, Dan, finds her hiding in the toilet block.

What should he do? Help her? Dob her in? She’s breaking the law, but is it right to lock kids up? And if he helps, should Sima trust him? Or run?

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Blood depiction
  • Refugee experiences
  • Detention centres
  • Animal cruelty
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Two Wolves by Tristan Bancks

Two Wolves by Tristan Bancks

One afternoon, police officers show up at Ben Silver’s front door. Minutes after they leave, his parents arrive home. Ben and his little sister Olive are bundled into the car and told they’re going on a holiday. But are they?

It doesn’t take long for Ben to realise that his parents are in trouble. Ben’s always dreamt of becoming a detective – his dad even calls him ‘Cop’. Now Ben gathers evidence and tries to uncover what his parents have done.

The problem is, if he figures it out, what does he do? Tell someone? Or keep the secret and live life on the run?

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Fatmisia & body shaming
  • Parental abuse
  • Abusive relationship, implied
  • Emesis
  • Animal cruelty
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Conjure Women by Afia Atakora

Conjure Women by Afia Atakora

After unwillingly inheriting all of the Night Witch’s Conjure Women is a sweeping story that brings the world of the South before and after the Civil War vividly to life. Spanning eras and generations, it tells of the lives of three unforgettable women: Miss May Belle, a wise healing woman; her precocious and observant daughter Rue, who is reluctant to follow in her mother’s footsteps as a midwife; and their master’s daughter Varina. The secrets and bonds among these women and their community come to a head at the beginning of a war and at the birth of an accursed child, who sets the townspeople alight with fear and a spreading superstition that threatens their newly won, tenuous freedom.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Rape
  • Death of an infant
  • Lynching
  • Whipping
  • Animal torture
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