The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor

The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor

Phoenix was grown and raised among other genetic experiments in New York’s Tower 7. She is an “accelerated woman”—only two years old but with the body and mind of an adult, Phoenix’s abilities far exceed those of a normal human. Still innocent and inexperienced in the ways of the world, she is content living in her room speed reading e-books, running on her treadmill, and basking in the love of Saeed, another biologically altered human of Tower 7.

Then one evening, Saeed witnesses something so terrible that he takes his own life. Devastated by his death and Tower 7’s refusal to answer her questions, Phoenix finally begins to realize that her home is really her prison, and she becomes desperate to escape.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Self-harm
  • Suicide
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Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

In a post-apocalyptic Africa, the world has changed in many ways; yet in one region genocide between tribes still bloodies the land. A woman who has survived the annihilation of her village and a terrible rape by an enemy general wanders into the desert, hoping to die. Instead, she gives birth to an angry baby girl with hair and skin the colour of sand. Gripped by the certainty that her daughter is different – special – she names her Onyesonwu, which means ‘Who fears death?’ in an ancient language.

It doesn’t take long for Onye to understand that she is physically and socially marked by the circumstances of her conception. She is expected to live a life of violence, a half-breed rejected by her community. But Onye is not the average Ewu. Even as a child, she manifests the beginnings of a remarkable and unique magic. As she grows, so do her abilities, and during an inadvertent visit to the spirit realm, she learns something terrifying: someone powerful is trying to kill her.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Slavery
  • Gang rape (recounted & discussed)
  • Pregnancy from rape recounted
  • Genocide & mass murder
  • Genital mutilation
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In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

Nora hasn’t seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back.

Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen do arrives. Is this a chance for Nora to finally put her past behind her?

But something goes wrong. Very wrong.

Some things can’t stay secret for ever.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Suicide & attempted suicide
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Recreational drug use
  • Overdose
  • Nonconsensual drugging
  • Teen pregnancy recounted
  • Abortion recounted
  • Hospital
  • Blood depiction & physical injuries
  • Serious injury to a loved one
  • Forced hospitalisation
  • Scars
  • Grief & loss depiction
  • Death of a friend
  • Death of a fiancé
  • Murder
  • Gun violence
  • Car accident
  • Animal hunting mentioned

*Note: Adult-minor relationship & statutory rape briefly mentioned.

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The Black Key by Amy Ewing

The Black Key by Amy Ewing

For too long, Violet and the people of the outer circles of the Lone City have lived a life of servitude, controlled and manipulated by the royalty of the Jewel. But now, the secret society known as the Black Key is preparing to seize power and knock down the walls dividing each circle.

And while Violet knows she is at the center of this rebellion, she has a more personal stake in it—for her sister, Hazel, has been taken by the Duchess of the Lake. Now, after fighting so hard to escape the Jewel, Violet must do everything in her power to return, to save not only Hazel, but the future of the Lone City.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Child abuse
  • Forced child sex work
  • Self-harm
  • Suicide mentioned
  • Forced child & teenage pregnancy (theme)
  • Miscarriage & abortion
  • Blood depiction & physical injuries
  • Needles
  • Murder
  • Torture recounted
  • War & rebellion themes
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The White Rose by Amy Ewing

The White Rose by Amy Ewing

Violet is on the run. After the Duchess of the Lake catches Violet with Ash, the hired companion at the Palace of the Lake, Violet has no choice but to escape the Jewel or face certain death. So along with Ash and her best friend, Raven, Violet runs away from her unbearable life of servitude.

But no one said leaving the Jewel would be easy. As they make their way through the circles of the Lone City, Regimentals track their every move, and the trio barely manages to make it out unscathed and into the safe haven they were promised—a mysterious house in the Farm.

But there’s a rebellion brewing, and Violet has found herself in the middle of it. Alongside a new ally, Violet discovers her Auguries are much more powerful than she ever imagined. But is she strong enough to rise up against the Jewel and everything she has ever known?

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Sexual assault & rape
  • Forced child sex work
  • Suicide & self-harm mentioned
  • Drug use & addiction
  • Forced child & teenage pregnancy (theme)
  • Miscarriage
  • Non-consensual medical procedures
  • Needles
  • Torture
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The Jewel by Amy Ewing

The Jewel by Amy Ewing

Today is my last day as Violet Lasting. Tomorrow I become Lot 197.

Sold for six million diamantes, Violet is now Surrogate of the House of the Lake in the centre of the Lone City, the Jewel. Her sole purpose is to produce a healthy heir for the Duchess – a woman Violet fears and despises.

Violet is trapped in a living death, her name and body no longer her own. She fights to hold on to her own identity and sanity, uncertain of the fate of her friends, isolated and at the mercy of the Duchess.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Misogyny (theme)
  • Child abuse
  • Forced child sex work
  • Suicide
  • Forced child & teenage pregnancy (theme)
  • Death of a friend
  • Non-consensual medical procedures
  • Needles
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The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas book cover

There are no more cheerleaders in the town of Sunnybrook.

First there was the car accident—two girls gone after hitting a tree on a rainy night. Not long after, the murders happened. Those two girls were killed by the man next door. The police shot him, so no one will ever know why he did it. Monica’s sister was the last cheerleader to die. After her suicide, Sunnybrook High disbanded the cheer squad. No one wanted to be reminded of the girls they lost.

That was five years ago. Now the faculty and students at Sunnybrook High want to remember the lost cheerleaders. But for Monica, it’s not that easy. She just wants to forget. Only, Monica’s world is starting to unravel. There are the letters in her stepdad’s desk, an unearthed, years-old cell phone, a strange new friend at school. . . . Whatever happened five years ago isn’t over. Some people in town know more than they’re saying. And somehow Monica is at the center of it all.

There are no more cheerleaders in Sunnybrook, but that doesn’t mean anyone else is safe.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Victim blaming
  • Statutory rape
  • Paedophilia
  • Domestic violence
  • Adult-minor relationship/s
  • Depression
  • Suicide, mentioned
  • Abortion
  • Teenage pregnancy
  • Pregnancy from rape
  • Mild gore depiction
  • Emesis
  • Death of a parent
  • Death of a sibling
  • Murder
  • Gun violence
  • Car accident
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Parable of the Talents by Octavia E. Butler

Parable of the Talents by Octavia E. Butler

Parable of the Talents by Octavia E. Butler book cover

This Nebula Award-winning sequel to Parable of the Sower continues the story of Lauren Olamina in socially and economically depressed California in the 2030s. Convinced that her community should colonize the stars, Lauren and her followers make preparations. But the collapse of society and rise of fanatics result in Lauren’s followers being enslaved, and her daughter stolen from her. Now, Lauren must fight back to save the new world order.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Classism
  • Hate crimes
  • Victim blaming
  • Misogyny, sexism and gendered slurs
  • Racism and racial slurs
  • White supremacy and the Ku Klux Klan (KKK)
  • Child sexual assault and rape
  • Grooming behaviour and paedophilia
  • Rape and rape by coercion
  • Sex trafficking and sex slavery
  • Abuse, neglect and abandonment
  • Child abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Verbal abuse
  • Family estrangement
  • Adult-minor relationships
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Suicide and attempted suicide
  • Infertility themes
  • Pregnancy
  • Non-consensual pregnancy
  • Teenage and child pregnancy
  • Amnesia
  • Blood and gore depiction
  • Body horror
  • Emesis
  • Physical injuries and wounds
  • Scars
  • Starvation and dehydration depiction
  • Dead bodies and body parts
  • Death of a child
  • Death of a friend
  • Death of a parent/guardians
  • Death of a sibling
  • Death of a partner/spouse
  • Disappearance of a loved one
  • Grief and loss depiction
  • Flogging and whippings
  • Gun violence
  • Hanging and lynching
  • Murder and attempted murder
  • Torture
  • Avalanche
  • Chemical gassing and warfare
  • Cults
  • Home invasion
  • Exile
  • Indentured servitude
  • Imprisonment, incarceration and captivity
  • Kidnapping
  • Persecution for witchcraft
  • Police brutality and violence
  • Religious persecution
  • Terrorism
  • War and military themes
  • Homelessness
  • Poverty themes

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The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood book cover

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now . . .

Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid’s Tale is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Queermisia
  • Misogyny (central theme)
  • Slavery
  • Racism and anti-semitism
  • Rape, sexual assault and non-consensual polygamy
  • Domestic abuse
  • Depression and suicide
  • Forced pregnancy and miscarriage
  • Death of a child
  • Murder
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Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power

Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power

Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power book cover

Ever since Margot was born, it’s been just her and her mother. No answers to Margot’s questions about what came before. No history to hold on to. No relative to speak of. Just the two of them, stuck in their run-down apartment, struggling to get along.

But that’s not enough for Margot. She wants family. She wants a past. And she just found the key she needs to get it: A photograph, pointing her to a town called Phalene. Pointing her home. Only, when Margot gets there, it’s not what she bargained for.

Margot’s mother left for a reason. But was it to hide her past? Or was it to protect Margot from what’s still there?

The only thing Margot knows for sure is there’s poison in their family tree, and their roots are dug so deeply into Phalene that now that she’s there, she might never escape. 

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Emotional parental abuse, gaslighting and generational abuse
  • Nonconsensual pregnancy
  • Blood and gore depiction, body horror, dead body, emesis (mentioned)
  • Death of an infant (off-page)
  • Gun violence (off-page)
  • Fire
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