In An Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire

In An Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire

In An Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire book cover

This fourth entry and prequel tells the story of Lundy, a very serious young girl who would rather study and dream than become a respectable housewife and live up to the expectations of the world around her. As well she should.

When she finds a doorway to a world founded on logic and reason, riddles and lies, she thinks she’s found her paradise. Alas, everything costs at the goblin market, and when her time there is drawing to a close, she makes the kind of bargain that never plays out well. 

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Misogyny
  • Domestic abuse
  • Psychological abuse
  • Nonconsensual abortion
  • Child pregnancy implied
  • Death of a loved one
  • Battle scenes mentioned
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The Color Purple by Alice Walker

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Celie is a poor black woman whose letters tell the story of 20 years of her life, beginning at age 14 when she is being abused and raped by her father and attempting to protect her sister from the same fate, and continuing over the course of her marriage to Mister, a brutal man who terrorizes her. Celie eventually learns that her abusive husband has been keeping her sister’s letters from her and the rage she feels, combined with an example of love and independence provided by her close friend Shug, pushes her finally toward an awakening of her creative and loving self.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Racism & racial slurs
  • Cultural appropriation, specifically Native American culture
  • Domestic violence
  • Physical, verbal & emotional abuse, including gaslighting
  • Rape, statutory rape & rape of a child
  • Incest (father-daughter)
  • Pregnancy, result of rape & incest
  • Forced estrangement
  • Cheating
  • Self-harm
  • Disordered eating (bingeing)
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Female genital mutilation mentioned
  • Emesis
  • Lynching recounted
  • Murder
  • Gun violence mentioned
  • Death of a mother
  • Death of an infant

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

A hurricane is building over the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the coastal town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, and Esch’s father is growing concerned. A hard drinker, largely absent, he doesn’t show concern for much else. Esch and her three brothers are stocking food, but there isn’t much to save.

Lately, Esch can’t keep down what food she gets; she’s fourteen and pregnant. Her brother Skeetah is sneaking scraps for his prized pitbull’s new litter, dying one by one in the dirt. While brothers Randall and Junior try to stake their claim in a family long on child’s play and short on parenting. As the twelve days that comprise the novel’s framework yield to the final day and Hurricane Katrina, the unforgettable family at the novel’s heart—motherless children sacrificing for each other as they can, protecting and nurturing where love is scarce—pulls itself up to struggle for another day.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Alcoholism
  • Child sexual assault
  • Child pregnancy
  • Hurricane Katrina
  • Animal cruelty (dog fighting)
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The Death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware

The Death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware

On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.

Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the centre of it.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Homomisia
  • Sex work discussed
  • Child abuse recounted
  • Disownment & familial estrangement
  • Cheating
  • Anxiety & panic attacks
  • PTSD
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Alcohol abuse recounted
  • Dubious consent to medication
  • Teen pregnancy
  • Miscarriage & abortion mentioned
  • Infertility mentioned
  • Emesis
  • Hospital
  • Minor blood & gore depiction and physical injuries
  • Grief & loss depiction
  • Death of a mother & father
  • Death of a grandmother
  • Death of a sister
  • Murder & attempted murder
  • Strangulation
  • Car accident
  • Disappearance of a loved one
  • Blackmail
  • Captivity recounted
  • Poverty themes & eviction
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The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir

The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir

Esther Ann Hicks—Essie—is the youngest child on Six for Hicks, a reality television phenomenon. She’s grown up in the spotlight, both idolized and despised for her family’s fire-and-brimstone brand of faith. When Essie’s mother, Celia, discovers that Essie is pregnant, she arranges an emergency meeting with the show’s producers: Do they sneak Essie out of the country for an abortion? Do they pass the child off as Celia’s? Or do they try to arrange a marriage—and a ratings-blockbuster wedding?

Meanwhile, Essie is quietly pairing herself up with Roarke Richards, a senior at her school with a secret of his own to protect. As the newly formed couple attempt to sell their fabricated love story to the media—through exclusive interviews with an infamously conservative reporter named Liberty Bell—Essie finds she has questions of her own: What was the real reason for her older sister leaving home? Who can she trust with the truth about her family? And how much is she willing to sacrifice to win her own freedom? 

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Homomisia mentioned
  • Racism mentioned
  • Child sexual assault
  • Incest
  • Teen pregnancy
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The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she’s beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Teen pregnancy recounted
  • Disownment
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Bright We Burn by Kiersten White

Bright We Burn by Kiersten White

Haunted by the sacrifices he made in Constantinople, Radu is called back to the new capital. Mehmed is building an empire, becoming the sultan his people need. But Mehmed has a secret: as emperor, he is more powerful than ever . . . and desperately lonely. Does this mean Radu can finally have more with Mehmed . . . and would he even want it?

Lada’s rule of absolute justice has created a Wallachia free of crime. But Lada won’t rest until everyone knows that her country’s borders are inviolable. Determined to send a message of defiance, she has the bodies of Mehmed’s peace envoy delivered to him, leaving Radu and Mehmed with no choice. If Lada is allowed to continue, only death will prosper. They must go to war against the girl prince.

But Mehmed knows that he loves her. He understands her. She must lose to him so he can keep her safe. Radu alone fears that they are underestimating his sister’s indomitable will. Only by destroying everything that came before–including her relationships–can Lada truly build the country she wants.

Claim the throne. Demand the crown. Rule the world.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Pregnancy & implied childbirth
  • Murder
  • War themes, including graphic battle scenes
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Giant Days, Vol 3 by John Allison, Lissa Treiman & Max Sarin

Giant Days, Vol 3 by John Allison, Lissa Treiman & Max Sarin

Giant Days, Vol 3 by John Allison, Lissa Trieman and Max Sarin book cover

Best friends Susan, Esther, and Daisy are rounding out their first semester at university. The girls, along with their male hall-mates Ed and McGraw, find that college is more than academics and bad microwavable meals. Add some pub-hopping, hookups, breakups, and political scandal and this might just be the most eventful first semester ever.

Collecting issues 9-12 of the critically acclaimed series, Giant Days, vol. 3 gives us another comedic slice of life from creator John Allison (Bad Machinery, Scary Go Round), and fantastic newcomer, Max Sarin.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Anxiety
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Recreational drug use, specifically smoking
  • Teenage pregnancy, recounted
  • Dead bodies
  • Scalpels
  • Fire
  • Bullying, specifically the spreading of rumours
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The Black Key by Amy Ewing

The Black Key by Amy Ewing

For too long, Violet and the people of the outer circles of the Lone City have lived a life of servitude, controlled and manipulated by the royalty of the Jewel. But now, the secret society known as the Black Key is preparing to seize power and knock down the walls dividing each circle.

And while Violet knows she is at the center of this rebellion, she has a more personal stake in it—for her sister, Hazel, has been taken by the Duchess of the Lake. Now, after fighting so hard to escape the Jewel, Violet must do everything in her power to return, to save not only Hazel, but the future of the Lone City.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Child abuse
  • Forced child sex work
  • Self-harm
  • Suicide mentioned
  • Forced child & teenage pregnancy (theme)
  • Miscarriage & abortion
  • Blood depiction & physical injuries
  • Needles
  • Murder
  • Torture recounted
  • War & rebellion themes
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The White Rose by Amy Ewing

The White Rose by Amy Ewing

Violet is on the run. After the Duchess of the Lake catches Violet with Ash, the hired companion at the Palace of the Lake, Violet has no choice but to escape the Jewel or face certain death. So along with Ash and her best friend, Raven, Violet runs away from her unbearable life of servitude.

But no one said leaving the Jewel would be easy. As they make their way through the circles of the Lone City, Regimentals track their every move, and the trio barely manages to make it out unscathed and into the safe haven they were promised—a mysterious house in the Farm.

But there’s a rebellion brewing, and Violet has found herself in the middle of it. Alongside a new ally, Violet discovers her Auguries are much more powerful than she ever imagined. But is she strong enough to rise up against the Jewel and everything she has ever known?

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Sexual assault & rape
  • Forced child sex work
  • Suicide & self-harm mentioned
  • Drug use & addiction
  • Forced child & teenage pregnancy (theme)
  • Miscarriage
  • Non-consensual medical procedures
  • Needles
  • Torture
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