All Boys Aren’t Blue

All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson

In a series of personal essays, prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson explores his childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. From the memories of getting his teeth kicked out by bullies at age five, to flea marketing with his loving grandmother, to his first sexual relationships, this young-adult memoir weaves together the trials and triumphs faced by Black queer boys.

Both a primer for teens eager to be allies as well as a reassuring testimony for young queer men of color, All Boys Aren’t Blue covers topics such as gender identity, toxic masculinity, brotherhood, family, structural marginalization, consent, and Black joy. Johnson’s emotionally frank style of writing will appeal directly to young adults.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Racism, racial slurs & anti-Blackness
  • Homomisia & homomisic slurs
  • Transmisia
  • Incestuous child molestation and sexual assault (described in detail (on-page)
  • Trauma
  • Physical assault
  • Blood depiction
  • Grief & loss depiction
  • Hospital
  • Cancer

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The Ten Thousand Doors of January

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Racism & racial slurs
  • Misogyny
  • Child abuse
  • Parental abandonment
  • Self-injury
  • Death of a mother recounted
  • Torture
  • Forced institutionalization and abuse by medical professionals
  • Animal cruelty & abuse (off-page)

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Hurricane Child

Hurricane Child by Kacen Callender

Caroline Murphy is a Hurricane Child.

Being born during a hurricane is unlucky, and 12-year-old Caroline has had her share of bad luck lately. She’s hated and bullied by everyone in her small school on St. Thomas of the US Virgin Islands, a spirit only she can see won’t stop following her, and — worst of all — Caroline’s mother left home one day and never came back.

But when a new student named Kalinda arrives, Caroline’s luck begins to turn around. Kalinda, a solemn girl from Barbados with a special smile for everyone, becomes Caroline’s first and only friend — and the person for whom Caroline has begun to develop a crush.

Now, Caroline must find the strength to confront her feelings for Kalinda, brave the spirit stalking her through the islands, and face the reason her mother abandoned her. Together, Caroline and Kalinda must set out in a hurricane to find Caroline’s missing mother — before Caroline loses her forever.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Racism
  • Lesbomisia
  • Ableism & ableist language
  • Parental abandonment (central theme)
  • Physical child abuse (one scene)
  • Bullying (on-page)
  • Near-drowning incident (chps. 1 & 11)
  • Hospitalisation (on-page & recounted)
  • Cheating recounted
  • Depression (sc)
  • Suicide attempt recounted (chp. 10)

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The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Terminal cancer (central theme)
  • Loss of vision (side character)
  • Medical treatments and procedures
  • Hospital
  • Death of a child
  • Death of a boyfriend

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The Accident Season

The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

It’s the accident season, the same time every year. Bones break, skin tears, bruises bloom.

The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara’s life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara’s family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items – but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear.

But why are they so cursed? And how can they break free? 

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Ableism & ableist language
  • Paedophilia & child sexual abuse
  • Parental abandonment & neglect
  • Child abuse
  • Intimate partner abuse (physical abuse on-page & emotional and verbal abuse)
  • Depression (sc)
  • Trauma-related amnesia
  • Attempted suicide recounted
  • Self-harm
  • Graphic blood depiction and physical injuries
  • Hospital
  • Grief & loss depiction
  • Death of an infant recounted
  • Death of a father recounted
  • Murder, and attempted murder recounted
  • Car accident
  • Fire

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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.

Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.

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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
  • Sexual assault
  • 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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Ironspark

Ironspark by C.M. McGuire

For the past nine years, ever since a bunch of those evil Tinkerbells abducted her mother, cursed her father, and forced her family into hiding, Bryn has devoted herself to learning everything she can about killing the Fae. Now it’s time to put those lessons to use.

Then the Court Fae finally show up, and Bryn realizes she can’t handle this on her own. Thankfully, three friends offer to help: Gwen, a kindhearted water witch; Dom, a new foster kid pulled into her world; and Jasika, a schoolmate with her own grudge against the Fae.

But trust is hard-won, and what little Bryn has gained is put to the test when she uncovers a book of Fae magic that belonged to her mother. With the Fae threat mounting every day, Bryn must choose between faith in her friends and power from a magic that could threaten her very humanity. 

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Ableism & ableist language
  • Amisia (challenged)
  • Coming out themes
  • Parental abandonment
  • PTSD
  • Panic & anxiety attacks
  • Nightmares
  • Parent w/ (implied) schizophrenia & hallucinations
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Blood & gore depiction
  • Physical injuries
  • Hospital
  • Comas (sc)
  • Scalpels mentioned
  • Murder & attempted murder
  • Kidnapping
  • House fire, fire, and loss of property
  • Bullying

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Cemetery Boys

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.

When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.

However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie up some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave. 

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Transmisia, deadnaming & misgendering
  • Gender dysphoria
  • Coming out themes
  • Parental abandonment recounted
  • Disownment and child homelessness (side characters)
  • Blood depiction & use of blood for magic and in rituals
  • Dead bodies
  • Serious injury of a loved one
  • Hospital (brief scene)
  • Grief & loss depiction
  • Death of a father recounted
  • Death of a mother recounted
  • Disappearance of a loved one
  • Murder & attempted murder
  • Knife violence & stabbing
  • Gun violence recounted
  • Police racial discrimination mentioned
  • Car accident mentioned
  • Smoking & alcohol consumption mentioned
  • Animal blood used for magic and in rituals

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I’ll Be the One

I’ll Be the One by Lyla Lee

Skye Shin has heard it all. Fat girls shouldn’t dance. Wear bright colors. Shouldn’t call attention to themselves. But Skye dreams of joining the glittering world of K-Pop, and to do that, she’s about to break all the rules that society, the media, and even her own mother, have set for girls like her.

She’ll challenge thousands of other performers in an internationally televised competition looking for the next K-pop star, and she’ll do it better than anyone else.

When Skye nails her audition, she’s immediately swept into a whirlwind of countless practices, shocking performances, and the drama that comes with reality TV. What she doesn’t count on are the highly fat-phobic beauty standards of the Korean pop entertainment industry, her sudden media fame and scrutiny, or the sparks that soon fly with her fellow competitor, Henry Cho.

But Skye has her sights on becoming the world’s first plus-sized K-pop star, and that means winning the competition—without losing herself.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Queermisia (nop) & queermisic parents mentioned*
  • Coming out themes recounted & on-page*
  • Fat-shaming & body shaming (central theme)
  • Unhealthy food & weight thoughts discussed, including forced dieting
  • Verbal & emotional parental abuse
  • Hospitalisation of a child due to malnutrition mentioned
  • Bullying
  • Cyberbullying and cyberharassment

*Context: The love interest comes out as bisexual to the main character and she comes out as bisexual to him. She is closeted from her family for the whole book. Her love interest recounts how his family bribed his ex-boyfriend to break up with him. Side f/f couple talk about being disowned and kicked out of their homes when they came out to their families.

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Wicked Fox

Gumiho: Wicked Fox by Kat Cho

Eighteen-year-old Gu Miyoung has a secret. She’s a gumiho–a nine-tailed fox who survives by consuming the energy of men. But she’s also half-human and has a soft spot for people. So she won’t kill indiscriminately. With the help of a shaman, Miyoung only takes the lives of men who have committed terrible crimes. Devouring their life force is a morbid kind of justice… or so she tells herself.

But killing men no one would ever miss in bustling modern-day Seoul also helps Miyoung keep a low profile. She and her mother protect themselves by hiding in plain sight. That is until Miyoung crosses paths with a handsome boy her age as he’s being attacked by a goblin in the woods. She breaks her mother’s cardinal rule–revealing herself and her nine tails–to save Jihoon from certain death. In the process, she loses her fox bead–her gumiho soul. Without it, she will die.

When Miyoung and Jihoon next meet, there’s no doubt they are drawn to each other. But their tenuous romance could be over before it even begins, as Miyoung’s efforts to restore her fox bead by the next full moon ensnares them in a generations-old feud, forcing Miyoung to choose between her immortal life and Jihoon’s.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Classism
  • Ableist language
  • Physical, emotional & verbal parental abuse
  • Parental neglect & abandonment
  • Nightmares
  • Suicide discussed and suicide attempt
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Pregnancy mentioned
  • Blood & gore depiction
  • Serious injury to a loved one
  • Seizures (on-page multiple scenes)
  • Coma (sc)
  • Hospital (setting)
  • Medical procedures, including blood tests & surgery mentioned
  • Grief & loss depiction
  • Death of a mother (on-page)
  • Death of a grandmother (on-page)
  • Murder & attempted murder
  • Physical assault
  • Attempted infanticide recounted
  • Hostage situation
  • Drowning recounted
  • Loss of autonomy (central theme)*
  • Bullying

*The main character is a gumiho and when someone possesses her fox bead, they can control her actions and force her to follow their instructions.

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