Asylum by Patrick McGrath

Asylum by Patrick McGrath

In the summer of 1959 Stella Raphael joins her psychiatrist husband, Max, at his new posting–a maximum-security hospital for the criminally insane. Beautiful and headstrong, Stella soon falls under the spell of Edgar Stark, a brilliant and magnetic sculptor who has been confined to the hospital for murdering his wife in a psychotic rage.

But Stella’s knowledge of Edgar’s crime is no hindrance to the volcanic attraction that ensues–a passion that will consume Stella’s sanity and destroy her and the lives of those around her.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Cheating
  • Psychosis
  • Psychiatric hospitalisation
  • Death of a wife
  • Murder
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The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo

The Empress of Salt & Fortune by Nghi Vo

A young royal from the far north is sent south for a political marriage. Alone and sometimes reviled, she has only her servants on her side. This evocative debut chronicles her rise to power through the eyes of her handmaiden, at once feminist high fantasy and a thrilling indictment of monarchy.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Body shaming
  • Misogyny
  • Parental abandonment
  • Arranged marriage
  • Suicide discussed
  • Pregnancy & childbirth mentioned
  • Nonconsensual & consensual adoption
  • Emesis mentioned
  • Grief & loss depiction
  • Death of a partner & wife mentioned
  • Murder
  • Exile
  • War themes, including rebellion & a political coup

Toffee by Sarah Crossan

Toffee by Sarah Crossan

Also known as Being Toffee.

One is trying to forget. The other is trying to remember.

After running away from an abusive home, Allison finds herself taking shelter in a shed behind an abandoned house. But the house isn’t empty after all; an elderly woman named Marla, who suffers from dementia, lives there. And rather than turn her away, Marla welcomes her – she mistakes Allison for an old friend from her past named Toffee.

Allison is used to hiding who she really is, and trying to be what other people want her to be, so she decides to play along. But as their bond grows, and Allison discovers how much Marla needs a real companion, Allison begins to waver. They both deserve a home, a safe place, and a family – but at what cost?

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Sexism
  • Slut shaming
  • Sexual harassment
  • Physical, verbal & emotional child abuse (theme)
  • Domestic violence and physical & emotional abuse
  • Elder abuse
  • Cheating mentioned
  • Depersonalisation
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Self-harm
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Recreational drug use (smoking)
  • Death from childbirth & traumatic childbirth mentioned
  • Dementia (theme)
  • Minor blood depiction & physical injuries, including burns
  • Emesis
  • Hospital
  • Grief & loss depiction
  • Death of a mother & wife recounted
  • Homelessness
  • Animal death
  • Death of a pet dog mentioned
  • Animal attack mentioned
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Would Like to Meet by Rachel Winters

Would Like to Meet by Rachel Winters

After seven years as an assistant, 29-year-old Evie Summers is ready to finally get the promotion she deserves. But now the TV and film agency she’s been running behind the scenes is in trouble, and Evie will lose her job unless she can convince the agency’s biggest and most arrogant client, Ezra Chester, to finish writing the script for a Hollywood romantic comedy.

The catch? Ezra is suffering from writer’s block–and he’ll only put pen to paper if singleton Evie can prove to him that you can fall in love like they do in the movies. With the future of the agency in jeopardy, Evie embarks on a mission to meet a man the way Sally met Harry or Hugh Grant met Julia Roberts.

But in the course of testing out the meet-cute scenes from classic romantic comedies IRL, not only will Evie encounter one humiliating situation after another, but she’ll have to confront the romantic past that soured her on love.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Misogyny
  • Ableism
  • Nonconsensual (“surprise”) kiss
  • Abusive relationship recounted
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Emesis
  • Death of a father recounted
  • Death of a wife recounted
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The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare

The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare

Callum Hunt’s summer break isn’t like other kids’. His closest companion is a Chaos-ridden wolf, Havoc. His father suspects him of being secretly evil. And, of course, most kids aren’t heading back to the magical world of the Magisterium in the fall.

It’s not easy for Call . . . and it gets even harder after he checks out his basement and discovers that his dad might be trying to destroy both him and Havoc.

Call escapes to the Magisterium — but things only intensify there. The Alkahest — a copper gauntlet capable of separating certain magicians from their magic — has been stolen. And in their search to discover the culprit, Call and his friends Aaron and Tamara awaken the attention of some very dangerous foes — and get closer to an even more dangerous truth.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Ableism, internalised ableism & ableist language
  • Child abuse
  • Physical injuries, scars & surgery mentioned
  • Grief & loss depiction
  • Death of a mother & wife recounted
  • Murder & mass murder (off-page)
  • Fire
  • Kidnapping
  • War themes
  • Animal experiments mentioned
  • Bullying
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The Iron Trial by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare

The Iron Trial by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare

Most people would do anything to get into the Magisterium and pass the Iron Trial. Not Callum Hunt.

Call has been told his whole life that he should never trust a magician. And so he tries his best to do his worst — but fails at failing. Now he must enter the Magisterium. It’s a place that’s both sensational and sinister. And Call realizes it has dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future.

The Iron Trial is just the beginning, for the biggest test is still to come . . . 

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Ableism, internalised ableism & ableist language
  • Physical injuries, scars & surgery mentioned
  • Grief & loss depiction
  • Death of a mother & wife recounted
  • Murder & mass murder (off-page)
  • Near-drowning incident
  • Kidnapping
  • Animal death and animal attack
  • Bullying
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Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

The breathtaking story of five brothers who bring each other up in a world run by their own rules. As the Dunbar boys love and fight and learn to reckon with the adult world, they discover the moving secret behind their father’s disappearance.

At the center of the Dunbar family is Clay, a boy who will build a bridge—for his family, for his past, for greatness, for his sins, for a miracle.

The question is, how far is Clay willing to go? And how much can he overcome?

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Parental abandonment
  • Suicidal ideation, and assisted suicide (euthanasia) by asphyxiation by carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Terminal cancer
  • Death of a mother & wife
  • Death of a pet dog (off-page) recounted
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The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Misogyny (theme)
  • Religious persecution (theme)
  • Ableism & ableist language
  • Rape (multiple, off-page), martial rape & sexual assault
  • Adult-minor relationship and forced arranged marriage
  • Physical child abuse
  • Suicide (self-sacrifice)
  • Pregnancy & death from childbirth
  • Abortion discussed
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Grief & loss depiction
  • Death of a wife & mother
  • Death of a father
  • Graphic animal death & hunting
  • War themes mentioned
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