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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Running With Lions by Julian Winters

Running With Lions by Julian Winters

Bloomington High School Lions’ star goalie, Sebastian Hughes, should be excited about his senior year: His teammates are amazing and he’s got a coach who doesn’t ask anyone to hide their sexuality. But when his estranged childhood best friend Emir Shah shows up to summer training camp, Sebastian realizes the team’s success may end up in the hands of the one guy who hates him. Determined to reconnect with Emir for the sake of the Lions, he sets out to regain Emir’s trust. But to Sebastian’s surprise, sweaty days on the pitch, wandering the town’s streets, and bonding on the weekends sparks more than just friendship between them.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Homomisia & homomisic slurs
  • Islamophobia
  • Coming out themes
  • Fat-shaming & internalised body-image issues
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Bullying
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Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett book cover

Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best friends-turned-best enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern-day Californian version of the Montagues and Capulets. But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together. What could go wrong?

With no one but each other for company, Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to hash out their issues via witty jabs and insults as they try to make their way to safety. But fighting each other while also fighting off the forces of nature makes getting out of the woods in one piece less and less likely.

And as the two travel deeper into Northern California’s rugged backcountry, secrets and hidden feelings surface. But can Zorie and Lennon’s rekindled connection survive out in the real world? Or was it just a result of the fresh forest air and the magic of the twinkling stars?

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Ableist language
  • Lesbomisia
  • Racism and islamophobia
  • Emotional manipulation and cheating
  • Anxiety attacks (on-page) and depression (mentioned)
  • Suicide of a parent
  • Blood depiction, physical injury, chronic illness (main character, specifically hives) and hospitalisation (mentioned)
  • Grief depiction and death of a father/mother (recounted)
  • Physical assault
  • Plane crash (mentioned)
  • Animal attacks, specifically snack and bear attacks
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Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini

Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini

A short, powerful, illustrated book written by Khaled Hosseini in response to the current refugee crisis, Sea Prayer is composed in the form of a letter, from a father to his son, on the eve of their journey. Watching over his sleeping son, the father reflects on the dangerous sea-crossing that lies before them. It is also a vivid portrait of their life in Homs, Syria, before the war, and of that city’s swift transformation from a home into a deadly war zone.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Islamophobia
  • Blood depiction
  • Grief & loss depiction
  • Death of a child
  • Explosions and bombings
  • Shipwreck
  • Drowning
  • War themes
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A Meeting of Two Prophets by Judah Tasa

A Meeting of Two Prophets by Judah Tasa

Moishe, an eighteen-year-old Chasidic Jew from London, has always known where his life will lead. As he studies religious texts in Jerusalem, he eagerly awaits the day he will marry and start a family, but tough questions force him to confront what’s he’s long ignored and to consider an alternative path in life.

When a chance meeting introduces Mo and Moishe, their separate journeys to self-discovery collide in unimaginable ways and with unavoidable consequences that force them to traverse political, religious, and social barriers.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Islamophobia
  • Homomisia & internalised homomisia
  • Depression
  • Cancer
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Love From A to Z by S. K. Ali

Love From A to Z by S. K. Ali

Love From A to Z by S. K. Ali book cover

marvel: something you find amazing. Even ordinary-amazing. Like potatoes—because they make French fries happen. Like the perfect fries Adam and his mom used to make together.
An oddity: whatever gives you pause. Like the fact that there are hateful people in the world. Like Zayneb’s teacher, who won’t stop reminding the class how “bad” Muslims are.

But Zayneb, the only Muslim in class, isn’t bad. She’s angry. When she gets suspended for confronting her teacher, and he begins investigating her activist friends, Zayneb heads to her aunt’s house in Doha, Qatar, for an early start to spring break. Fueled by the guilt of getting her friends in trouble, she resolves to try out a newer, “nicer” version of herself in a place where no one knows her. Then her path crosses with Adam’s. Since he got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November, Adam’s stopped going to classes, intent, instead, on perfecting the making of things. Intent on keeping the memory of his mom alive for his little sister. Adam’s also intent on keeping his diagnosis a secret from his grieving father. Alone, Adam and Zayneb are playing roles for others, keeping their real thoughts locked away in their journals. Until a marvel and an oddity occurs…

Marvel: Adam and Zayneb meeting.
Oddity: Adam and Zayneb meeting.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Islamophobia
  • Death of a parent and grandparent (recounted)
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Internment by Samira Ahmed

Internment by Samira Ahmed

Internment by Samira Ahmed book cover

Rebellions are built on hope.

Set in a horrifying near-future United States, seventeen-year-old Layla Amin and her parents are forced into an internment camp for Muslim American citizens.

With the help of newly made friends also trapped within the internment camp, her boyfriend on the outside, and an unexpected alliance, Layla begins a journey to fight for freedom, leading a revolution against the internment camp’s Director and his guards.

Heart-racing and emotional, Internment challenges readers to fight complicit silence that exists in our society today.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Islamophobia, displacement and internment camps
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Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli & Aisha Saeed

Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli & Aisha Saeed

Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed book cover

YES
Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state senate candidate—as long as he’s behind the scenes. When it comes to speaking to strangers (or, let’s face it, speaking at all to almost anyone), Jamie’s a choke artist. There’s no way he’d ever knock on doors to ask people for their votes…until he meets Maya.

NO
Maya Rehman’s having the worst Ramadan ever. Her best friend is too busy to hang out, her summer trip is canceled, and now her parents are separating. Why her mother thinks the solution to her problems is political canvassing—with some awkward dude she hardly knows—is beyond her.

MAYBE SO
Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybeit’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer—and so are Maya and Jamie. Mastering local activism is one thing. Navigating the cross-cultural romance of the century is another thing entirely.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Racism, misogyny, islamophobia, anti-semitism and hate crimes (off-page)
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Emesis recounted
  • Minor grief depiction and death of a grandfather recounted
  • Cyberharassment

*A major plot point involves characters taking pictures of the main characters almost kissing and posting them online without their consent (discussed in-depth)

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Aftermath

Aftermath by Kelley Armstrong

Three years after losing her brother Luka in a school shooting, Skye Gilchrist is moving home. But there’s no sympathy for Skye and her family because Luka wasn’t a victim; he was a shooter.

Jesse Mandal knows all too well that the scars of the past don’t heal easily. The shooting cost Jesse his brother and his best friend–Skye.

Ripped apart by tragedy, Jesse and Skye can’t resist reopening the mysteries of their past. But old wounds hide darker secrets. And the closer Skye and Jesse get to the truth of what happened that day, the closer they get to a new killer.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Racism & Islamophobia
  • Drugging
  • Blood depiction
  • Death of a brother recounted
  • School shooting (central theme)
  • Gun violence
  • Kidnapping
  • Stalking
  • Fire
  • Bullying
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You Must Be Layla by Yassmin Abdel-Megied

You Must be Layla by Yassmin Abdel-Magied

Layla’s mind goes a million miles a minute, so does her mouth – unfortunately her better judgement can take a while to catch up! Although she believes she was justified for doing what she did, a suspension certainly isn’t the way she would have wished to begin her time at her fancy new high school. Despite the setback, Layla’s determined to show everyone that she does deserve her scholarship and sets her sights on winning a big invention competition. But where to begin?

Looking outside and in, Layla will need to come to terms with who she is and who she wants to be if she has any chance of succeeding.

Goodreads The Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Islamophobia
  • Racism
  • Bullying
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