On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family’s history that began before he was born — a history whose epicenter is rooted in Vietnam — and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity. Asking questions central to our American moment, immersed as we are in addiction, violence, and trauma, but undergirded by compassion and tenderness, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is as much about the power of telling one’s own story as it is about the obliterating silence of not being heard.

With stunning urgency and grace, Ocean Vuong writes of people caught between disparate worlds, and asks how we heal and rescue one another without forsaking who we are. The question of how to survive, and how to make of it a kind of joy, powers the most important debut novel of many years.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Racism & racial slurs
  • Homomisia, including internalised homomisia & homomisic slurs
  • Rape recounted
  • Parental abuse
  • Domestic abuse mentioned
  • Substance addiction
  • Recreational drug use & abuse
  • Cancer
  • Death of a grandparent
  • Vietnam War discussed
  • Animal abuse
  • Bullying
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The Mismatch by Sara Jafari

The Mismatch by Sara Jafari

For a young woman who just wants to get her first kiss out of the way, a rugby player seems like the perfect mismatch. But a kiss is never just a kiss. . . .

Now that Soraya Nazari has graduated from university, she thinks it’s time she get some of the life experience that she feels she’s still lacking, partly due to her upbringing–and Magnus Evans seems like the perfect way to get it.

Whereas she’s the somewhat timid, artistic daughter of Iranian immigrants, Magnus is the quintessential British lad. Because they have so little in common, Soraya knows there’s no way she could ever fall for him, so what’s the harm in having a little fun as she navigates her postgrad life? … Read more.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Racism
  • Cheating
  • Attempted rape & date rape
  • Physical & emotional parental abuse
  • Parent with a substance addiction
  • Parent with depression & suicidal ideation
  • Attempted kidnapping
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Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn

Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn

Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn

Capturing the distinct rhythms of Jamaican life and dialect, Nicole Dennis-Benn pens a tender hymn to a world hidden among pristine beaches and the wide expanse of turquoise seas. At an opulent resort in Montego Bay, Margot hustles to send her younger sister, Thandi, to school. Taught as a girl to trade her sexuality for survival, Margot is ruthlessly determined to shield Thandi from the same fate. When plans for a new hotel threaten their village, Margot sees not only an opportunity for her own financial independence but also perhaps a chance to admit a shocking secret: her forbidden love for another woman. As they face the impending destruction of their community, each woman fighting to balance the burdens she shoulders with the freedom she craves must confront long-hidden scars. From a much-heralded new writer, Here Comes the Sun offers a dramatic glimpse into a vibrant, passionate world most outsiders see simply as paradise.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Ableism & ableist language
  • Body shaming & fatmisia
  • Classism
  • Colourism
  • Lesbomisia
  • Homomisia
  • Sexism & misogyny
  • Racism & racial slurs, including misogynoir
  • Sex worker shaming & slurs
  • Slut-shaming
  • Transmisia
  • Victim blaming
  • Rape, including by coercion, statutory & gang rape
  • Sexual abuse & assault, including child sexual assault
  • Sexual harassment, including in the workplace
  • Incest
  • Paedophilia & grooming
  • Child abuse
  • Domestic abuse & violence
  • Emotional abuse
  • Verbal abuse
  • Parental abuse, neglect & abandonement
  • Estrangement & disownment
  • Disordered weight & body thoughts
  • Disfigurmisia
  • Anxiety disorder & anxiety attacks
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Memory disorder, specifically dementia
  • Self harm, including self-immolation
  • Drug use
  • Hospitals & hospitalisation
  • Physical assault
  • Sex work & trafficking
  • Drowning
  • Outing
  • Gentrification
  • Displacement
  • Animal death
  • Blackmail
  • Gaslighting
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Stay Gold by Tobly McSmith

Stay Gold by Tobly McSmith

Stay Gold by Toby McSmith

Pony just wants to fly under the radar during senior year. Tired from all the attention he got at his old school after coming out as transgender, he’s looking for a fresh start at Hillcrest High. But it’s hard to live your best life when the threat of exposure lurks down every hallway and in every bathroom.

Georgia is beginning to think there’s more to life than cheerleading. She plans on keeping a low profile until graduation…which is why she promised herself that dating was officially a no-go this year.

Then, on the very first day of school, the new guy and the cheerleader lock eyes. How is Pony supposed to stay stealth when he wants to get close to a girl like Georgia? How is Georgia supposed to keep her promise when sparks start flying with a boy like Pony?

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Acemisia
  • Homomisia
  • Lesbomisia, including slurs and internalised
  • Transmisia, including slurs and internalised
  • Deadnaming
  • Misgendering
  • Graphic assault against trans character, including physical assault
  • Parental abuse
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Forced and pressured outing
  • Hate crime
  • Bullying
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The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road… Read more.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Parental abuse
  • Cheating
  • Suicide
  • Attempted murder
  • Animal death
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A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Attempted rape
  • Attempted prostitution of a child, recounted
  • Parental abuse discussed
  • Self mutilation for use of magic
  • Torture
  • Death, on-page
  • Slavery
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Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki

Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki

Shizuka Satomi made a deal with the devil: to escape damnation, she must entice seven other violin prodigies to trade their souls for success. She has already delivered six. When Katrina Nguyen, a young transgender runaway, catches Shizuka’s ear with her wild talent, Shizuka can almost feel the curse lifting. She’s found her final candidate.

But in a donut shop off a bustling highway in the San Gabriel Valley, Shizuka meets Lan Tran, retired starship captain, interstellar refugee, and mother of four. Shizuka doesn’t have time for crushes or coffee dates, what with her very soul on the line, but Lan’s kind smile and eyes like stars might just redefine a soul’s worth. And maybe something as small as a warm donut is powerful enough to break a curse as vast as the California coastline.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Transmisia
  • Deadnaming
  • Racism
  • Parental physical abuse
  • War themes
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Bad Blood by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Bad Blood by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

When Cassie Hobbes joined the FBI’s Naturals program, she had one goal: uncover the truth about her mother’s murder. But now, everything Cassie thought she knew about what happened that night has been called into question. Her mother is alive, and the people holding her captive are more powerful—and dangerous—than anything the Naturals have faced so far. As Cassie and the team work to uncover the secrets of a group that has been killing in secret for generations, they find themselves racing a ticking clock.

The bodies begin piling up, the deaths hit closer and closer to home, and it soon becomes apparent that this time, the Naturals aren’t just hunting serial killers.

They’re being hunted themselves.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Parental abuse
  • Murder
  • Knife violence & stabbing
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Fierce Fragile Hearts by Sara Barnard

Fierce Fragile Hearts by Sara Barnard

‘This time around, I’m going to be so much better. I’m going to prove to them that it was worth waiting on me.’

Two years after a downward spiral took her as low as you can possibly go, Suzanne is starting again. Again. She’s back in Brighton, the only place she felt she belonged, back with her best friends Caddy and Rosie. But they’re about to leave for university. When your friends have been your light in the darkness, what happens when you’re the one left behind?

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Slut shaming
  • Physical & emotional parental abuse
  • Attempted suicide mentioned
  • Depression
  • Hospitals
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Two Wolves by Tristan Bancks

Two Wolves by Tristan Bancks

One afternoon, police officers show up at Ben Silver’s front door. Minutes after they leave, his parents arrive home. Ben and his little sister Olive are bundled into the car and told they’re going on a holiday. But are they?

It doesn’t take long for Ben to realise that his parents are in trouble. Ben’s always dreamt of becoming a detective – his dad even calls him ‘Cop’. Now Ben gathers evidence and tries to uncover what his parents have done.

The problem is, if he figures it out, what does he do? Tell someone? Or keep the secret and live life on the run?

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Fatmisia & body shaming
  • Parental abuse
  • Abusive relationship, implied
  • Emesis
  • Animal cruelty
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