Ambassador by William Alexander

Ambassador by William Alexander

Gabe Fuentes is reading under the covers one summer night when he is interrupted by a creature who looks like a purple sock puppet. The sock puppet introduces himself as the Envoy and asks if Gabe wants to be Earth’s ambassador to the galaxy. What sane eleven-year-old could refuse?

Some ingenious tinkering with the washing machine sends Gabe’s “entangled” self out to the center of the galaxy. There he finds that Earth is in the path of a destructive alien force—and Gabe himself is the target of an assassination plot. Exactly who wants him out of the way? And why?

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Explosion
  • Deportation
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Indivisible by Daniel Aleman

Indivisible by Daniel Aleman

Mateo Garcia and his younger sister, Sophie, have been taught to fear one word for as long as they can remember: deportation. Over the past few years, however, the fear that their undocumented immigrant parents could be sent back to Mexico has started to fade. Ma and Pa have been in the United States for so long, they have American-born children, and they’re hard workers and good neighbors. When Mateo returns from school one day to find that his parents have been taken by ICE, he realizes that his family’s worst nightmare has become a reality. With his parents’ fate and his own future hanging in the balance, Mateo must figure out who he is and what he is capable of, even as he’s forced to question what it means to be an American.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Homomisia
  • Racism
  • Panic attacks
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Deportation (theme)
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Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they’ve known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin’s orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously—and at great risk—documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father’s prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. 

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Sexual assault
  • Forced sex work
  • Starvation
  • Dead bodies
  • Recreational drug use (smoking)
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Gun violence
  • Deportation
  • Forced labour in work camps
  • World War Two (theme)
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Skyhunter by Marie Lu

Skyhunter by Marie Lu

The Karensa Federation has conquered a dozen countries, leaving Mara as one of the last free nations in the world. Refugees flee to its borders to escape a fate worse than death—transformation into mutant war beasts known as Ghosts, creatures the Federation then sends to attack Mara.

The legendary Strikers, Mara’s elite fighting force, are trained to stop them. But as the number of Ghosts grows and Karensa closes in, defeat seems inevitable.

Still, one Striker refuses to give up hope… Read more.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Medical experimentation
  • Murder
  • Gun violence
  • Knife violence & stabbing
  • Refugee experiences & displacement
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Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin

Illegal by Eoin Colfer & Andrew Donkin and illustrated by Giovanni Rigano

Ebo: alone.

His sister left months ago. Now his brother has disappeared too, and Ebo knows it can only be to make the hazardous journey to Europe.

Ebo’s epic journey takes him across the Sahara Desert to the dangerous streets of Tripoli, and finally out to the merciless sea. But with every step he holds on to his hope for a new life, and a reunion with his sister.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Death of a friend
  • Drowning
  • Refugee experiences
  • Disappearance of a sibling
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This Dark Endeavour by Kenneth Oppel

This Dark Endeavour by Kenneth Oppel

Victor and Konrad are the twin brothers Frankenstein. They are nearly inseparable. Growing up, their lives are filled with imaginary adventures… until the day their adventures turn all too real.

They stumble upon the Dark Library and discover secret books of alchemy and ancient remedies. Father forbids them from ever entering the room again, but when Konrad falls gravely ill, Victor is drawn back to the Dark Library where he uncovers an ancient formula for the Elixir of Life.

Determined to save Konrad, Victor, along with his beautiful cousin Elizabeth and friend Henry, scale the highest trees in Strumwald, dive into the deepest lakes, and even make an unthinkable sacrifice in their quest for the elixir’s ingredients. And as if their task was not complicated enough, a new realm of danger—that of illicit love—threatens to end the ordeal in tragedy.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Misogyny
  • Ableism, including the Disabled Villain trope
  • Sexual assault*
  • Incest*
  • Parental abandonment & child neglect mentioned
  • Serious illness of a child
  • Medical treatment & procedures, including consensual amputation
  • Needles
  • Emesis
  • Death of a brother
  • Animal death
  • Animal attack

*Note: There are two on-page sexual assault scenes, including one where the main character pretends to be his identical twin to trick his brother’s girlfriend into kissing him, and another where he forces a kiss on her. The romance subplot involves a love triangle between the two Frankenstein twins and their cousin.

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Alice Payne Arrives by Kate Heartfield

Alice Payne Arrives by Kate Heartfield

It’s 1788 and Alice Payne is the notorious highway robber, the Holy Ghost. Aided by her trusty automaton, Laverna, the Holy Ghost is feared by all who own a heavy purse.

It’s 1889 and Major Prudence Zuniga is once again attempting to change history―to save history―but seventy attempts later she’s still no closer to her goal.

But in 2020 the Farmers and the Guides are locked in battle; time is their battleground, and the world is their prize. Only something new can change the course of the war. Or someone new.

Little did they know, but they’ve all been waiting until Alice Payne arrives.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Misogyny
  • Sexual assault of a minor
  • Statutory rape mentioned*
  • Depression mentioned
  • Suicide, suicidal ideation & suicide pacts discussed
  • Minor blood & gore depiction, including dead bodies
  • Gun violence
  • War themes, including refugee experiences & displacement

*Note: Mentions of sex between a seventeen-year-old girl and an adult man.

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Heart and Seoul by Erin Kinsella

Heart & Seoul by Erin Kinsella

Beside herself with excitement, best-selling author Tessa Hale flies to the vibrant city of Seoul, where she’s meeting the cast of the film adaptation of her book. The thrill shifts to star-struck panic when she discovers the actor cast as the lead is the idol she’s been high-key crushing on for years.

Baek Eun Gi is part of one of the biggest K-pop groups in the business. Music has lost its lustre, and he’s hoping a shift in focus will bring back that connection he craves. Although he’s estranged from his family, he has his friends, and a healthy respect for the dating restrictions imposed upon him.

When their paths collide in the most unexpected—and embarrassing— of ways, they try to put it behind them. Too bad there are photos. The music company is irate and offers them a way out of the scandal—a marriage of convenience. Their lives are about to turn upside down, but it just might be the best thing that’s ever happened to them.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Child abuse mentioned
  • Anxiety & panic attacks
  • PTSD
  • Detention
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Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

It all starts when six kids have to meet for a weekly chat—by themselves, with no adults to listen in. There, in the room they soon dub the ARTT Room (short for “A Room to Talk”), they discover it’s safe to talk about what’s bothering them—everything from Esteban’s father’s deportation and Haley’s father’s incarceration to Amari’s fears of racial profiling and Ashton’s adjustment to his changing family fortunes. When the six are together, they can express the feelings and fears they have to hide from the rest of the world. And together, they can grow braver and more ready for the rest of their lives.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Racism
  • Death of a parent
  • Incarceration for vehicular manslaughter
  • Deportation
  • Bullying
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The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Racism
  • Misogyny
  • Cheating
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Deportation (theme)
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