Caste by Isabel Wilkerson

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.

Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people’s lives and behaviour and the nation’s fate. Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, stigma, and more.

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Trigger & Content Warnings

  • Racism
  • Murder
  • The Holocaust

The Vela by Various

The Vela by Yoon Ha Lee, Becky Chambers, Rivers Solomon & S.L. Huang

In the fading light of a dying star, a soldier for hire searches for a missing refugee ship and uncovers a universe-shattering secret.

Asala Sikou is used to looking after number one while crisis reigns in her dying planetary system. But when she’s hired to find a missing refugee ship, she discovers that this is no ordinary rescue mission, and she must play a role in deciding the fate of the whole universe.

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Trigger & Content Warnings

  • Racism
  • Genocide
  • Refugee crisis

The Galaxy, and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers

The Galaxy, and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers

With no water, no air, and no native life, the planet Gora is unremarkable. The only thing it has going for it is a chance proximity to more popular worlds, making it a decent stopover for ships travelling between the wormholes that keep the Galactic Commons connected. If deep space is a highway, Gora is just your average truck stop.

At the Five-Hop One-Stop, long-haul spacers can stretch their legs (if they have legs, that is), and get fuel, transit permits, and assorted supplies. The Five-Hop is run by an enterprising alien and her sometimes helpful child, who work hard to provide a little piece of home to everyone passing through… Read more.

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Trigger & Content Warnings

  • Chronic illness
  • Emesis
  • Grief & loss depiction
  • Genocide
  • Confinement

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Rosemary Harper doesn’t expect much when she joins the crew of the aging Wayfarer. While the patched-up ship has seen better days, it offers her a bed, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and most importantly, some distance from her past. An introspective young woman who learned early to keep to herself, she’s never met anyone remotely like the ship’s diverse crew, including Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot, chatty engineers Kizzy and Jenks who keep the ship running, and Ashby, their noble captain.

Life aboard the Wayfarer is chaotic and crazy—exactly what Rosemary wants. It’s also about to get extremely dangerous when the crew is offered the job of a lifetime. Tunnelling wormholes through space to a distant… Read more.

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Trigger & Content Warnings

  • Child abuse recounted
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Panic attacks
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Blood & physical injury depiction
  • Hospital
  • Needles
  • Terminal illness
  • Death of a parent
  • Murder
  • Gun violence
  • Torture
  • Genocide discussed
  • War themes

The Word for World Is Forest by Ursula Le Guin

The Word for World Is Forest by Ursula K. Le Guin

When the inhabitants of a peaceful world are conquered by the bloodthirsty yumens, their existence is irrevocably altered. Forced into servitude, the Athsheans find themselves at the mercy of their brutal masters.

Desperation causes the Athsheans, led by Selver, to retaliate against their captors, abandoning their strictures against violence. But in defending their lives, they have endangered the very foundations of their society. For every blow against the invaders is a blow to the humanity of the Athsheans. And once the killing starts, there is no turning back.

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Trigger & Content Warnings

  • Slavery
  • Racism
  • Graphic rape
  • Genocide

The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula Le Guin

The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin

In a future world racked by violence and environmental catastrophes, George Orr wakes up one day to discover that his dreams have the ability to alter reality. He seeks help from Dr. William Haber, a psychiatrist who immediately grasps the power George wields. Soon George must preserve reality itself as Dr. Haber becomes adept at manipulating George’s dreams for his own purposes.

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Trigger & Content Warnings

  • Drug dependency
  • Medical experimentation
  • Genocide

The Boy at the Top of the Mountain by John Boyne

The Boy at the Top of the Mountain by John Boyne

When Pierrot becomes an orphan, he must leave his home in Paris for a new life with his Aunt Beatrix, a servant in a wealthy household at the top of the German mountains. But this is no ordinary time, for it is 1935 and the Second World War is fast approaching; and this is no ordinary house, for this is the Berghof, the home of Adolf Hitler.

Quickly, Pierrot is taken under Hitler’s wing, and is thrown into an increasingly dangerous new world: a world of terror, secrets and betrayal, from which he may never be able to escape.

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Trigger & Content Warnings

  • Antisemitism
  • Attempted rape
  • Domestic violence
  • Parent with alcoholism & military-related PTSD
  • Death by train
  • World War One & Two
  • The Holocaust
  • Bullying

Dreamfall by Amy Plum

Dreamfall by Amy Plum

Dreamfall by Amy Plum

Cata Cordova suffers from such debilitating insomnia that she agreed to take part in an experimental new procedure. She thought things couldn’t get any worse…but she was terribly wrong.

Soon after the experiment begins, there’s a malfunction with the lab equipment, and Cata and six other teen patients are plunged into a shared dreamworld with no memory of how they got there. Even worse, they come to the chilling realization that they are trapped in a place where their worst nightmares have come to life. Hunted by creatures from their darkest imaginations and tormented by secrets they’d rather keep buried, Cata and the others will be forced to band together to face their biggest fears. And if they can’t find a way to defeat their dreams, they will never wake up.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Mental health stigmatization
  • Child abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Depression
  • Narcolepsy
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Psychosis
  • Suicidal tendencies
  • Self sacrifice
  • Sleep disorders, specifically chronic insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • Medical experimentation
  • Coma
  • Scars
  • Gore depiction
  • Genocide
  • War themes

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbr ck, the notorious women’s concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that’s in store for her?

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Rape mentioned
  • Torture
  • Explosions
  • Physical assault
  • Genocide
  • War themes & the Holocaust
  • Concentration camps

The Killing Moon by NK Jemisin

The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin

In the ancient city-state of Gujaareh, peace is the only law. Upon its rooftops and among the shadows of its cobbled streets wait the Gatherers – the keepers of this peace. Priests of the dream-goddess, their duty is to harvest the magic of the sleeping mind and use it to heal, soothe…and kill those judged corrupt.

But when a conspiracy blooms within Gujaareh’s great temple, the Gatherer Ehiru must question everything he knows. Someone, or something, is murdering innocent dreamers in the goddess’s name, and Ehiru must now protect the woman he was sent to kill – or watch the city be devoured by war and forbidden magic.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Rape
  • Attempted child sexual abuse
  • Genocide