The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan

The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan

The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan book cover

Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali tries her hardest to live up to her conservative Muslim parents’ expectations, but lately she’s finding that harder and harder to do. She rolls her eyes instead of screaming when they blatantly favor her brother and she dresses conservatively at home, saving her crop tops and makeup for parties her parents don’t know about. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life in Seattle and her new life at Caltech, where she can pursue her dream of becoming an engineer.

But when her parents catch her kissing her girlfriend Ariana, all of Rukhsana’s plans fall apart. Her parents are devastated; being gay may as well be a death sentence in the Bengali community. They immediately whisk Rukhsana off to Bangladesh, where she is thrown headfirst into a world of arranged marriages and tradition. Only through reading her grandmother’s old diary is Rukhsana able to gain some much needed perspective.

Rukhsana realizes she must find the courage to fight for her love, but can she do so without losing everyone and everything in her life?

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Homomisia
  • Racism
  • Colourism
  • Conversion therapy
  • Islamophobia
  • Rape
  • Sexual assault
  • Domestic abuse
  • Verbal abuse, towards queer characters
  • Physical abuse, towards queer characters
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First in Line by Annabeth Albert

First in Line by Annabeth Albert

First in Line by Annabeth Albert book cover

Ethaniel’s first few days at college are challenging and are complicated by a sudden attraction to Nesto. Will he find the courage to be his true self?

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Coming out themes
  • Homomisia
  • Conversion therapy, mentioned
  • Racist language
  • Miscarriage, mentioned
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Ziggy, Stardust and Me by James Brandon

Ziggy, Stardust and Me by James Brandon

ZIggy, Stardust and Me by James Brandon book cover

The year is 1973. The Watergate hearings are in full swing. The Vietnam War is still raging. And homosexuality is still officially considered a mental illness. In the midst of these trying times is sixteen-year-old Jonathan Collins, a bullied, anxious, asthmatic kid, who aside from an alcoholic father and his sympathetic neighbor and friend Starla, is completely alone. To cope, Jonathan escapes to the safe haven of his imagination, where his hero David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and dead relatives, including his mother, guide him through the rough terrain of his life. In his alternate reality, Jonathan can be anything: a superhero, an astronaut, Ziggy Stardust, himself, or completely “normal” and not a boy who likes other boys. When he completes his treatments, he will be normal—at least he hopes. But before that can happen, Web stumbles into his life. Web is everything Jonathan wishes he could be: fearless, fearsome and, most importantly, not ashamed of being gay.

Jonathan doesn’t want to like brooding Web, who has secrets all his own. Jonathan wants nothing more than to be “fixed” once and for all. But he’s drawn to Web anyway. Web is the first person in the real world to see Jonathan completely and think he’s perfect. Web is a kind of escape Jonathan has never known. For the first time in his life, he may finally feel free enough to love and accept himself as he is.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Homomisia and homomisic slurs
  • Conversion therapy
  • Racism and racist slurs
  • Hate crimes
  • Sexual assault
  • Alcoholism
  • Anxiety
  • Suicide, mentioned
  • Death of a parent, recounted
  • Police brutality
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Peter Darling

Peter Darling by Austin Chant

Ten years ago, Peter Pan left Neverland to grow up, leaving behind his adolescent dreams of boyhood and resigning himself to life as Wendy Darling. Growing up, however, has only made him realize how inescapable his identity as a man is.

But when he returns to Neverland, everything has changed: the Lost Boys have become men, and the war games they once played are now real and deadly. Even more shocking is the attraction Peter never knew he could feel for his old rival, Captain Hook—and the realization that he no longer knows which of them is the real villain.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Transmisia
  • Deadnaming & misgendering
  • Conversion therapy mentioned
  • Suicidal ideation briefly recounted
  • Blood & mild gore depiction, and physical injury
  • Murder
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Just Mercy

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice—from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time.

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Racism, racial discrimination, & use of the n word
  • Ableism & r slur
  • Classism
  • Conversion therapy
  • Graphic domestic & parental abuse
  • Slavery and forced labour
  • Graphic rape & prison rape
  • Paedophilia & child sexual assault
  • Incest
  • Alcoholism & substance addiction
  • PTSD
  • Depression
  • Suicide & self-harm
  • Miscarriage & infertility themes
  • Blood & gore depiction, and graphic physical injuries
  • Starvation
  • Nonconsensual psychiatric hospitalisation
  • Death of a parent
  • Death of a sibling
  • Death of an infant
  • Police brutality & violence
  • Murder & executions, including the execution of a child
  • Death in police custody and in prison
  • Graphic animal abuse
  • Homelessness
  • Poverty themes
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All Eyes on Us

All Eyes on Us by Kit Frick

The daughter of small town social climbers, Amanda Kelly is deeply invested in her boyfriend, real estate heir Carter Shaw. He’s kind, ambitious, the town golden boy—but he’s far from perfect. Because behind Amanda’s back, Carter is also dating Rosalie.

Rosalie Bell is fighting to remain true to herself and her girlfriend—while concealing her identity from her Christian fundamentalist parents. After years spent in and out of conversion “therapy,” her own safety is her top priority. But maintaining a fake, straight relationship is killing her from the inside.

When an anonymous texter ropes Amanda and Rosalie into a bid to take Carter down, the girls become collateral damage—and unlikely allies in a fight to unmask their stalker before Private uproots their lives.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Queermisia and queermisic parents
  • Parental abuse & gaslighting
  • Conversion therapy
  • Religion used to justify queermisia and abuse is a central theme
  • Cheating
  • Parental alcoholism
  • Gun violence
  • Bullying
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