The Removed by Brandon Hobson

The Removed by Brandon Hobson

The Removed by Brandon Hobson

In the fifteen years since their teenage son, Ray-Ray, was killed in a police shooting, the Echota family has been suspended in private grief. The mother, Maria, increasingly struggles to manage the onset of Alzheimer’s in her husband, Ernest. Their adult daughter, Sonja, leads a life of solitude, punctuated only by spells of dizzying romantic obsession. And their son, Edgar, fled home long ago, turning to drugs to mute his feelings of alienation.

With the family’s annual bonfire approaching—an occasion marking both the Cherokee National Holiday and Ray-Ray’s death, and a rare moment in which they openly talk about his memory—Maria attempts to call the family together from their physical and emotional distances once more. But as the bonfire draws near, each of them feels a strange blurring of the boundary between normal life and the spirit world. Maria and Ernest take in a foster child who seems to almost miraculously keep Ernest’s mental fog at bay. Sonja becomes dangerously fixated on a man named Vin, despite—or perhaps because of—his ties to tragedy in her lifetime and lifetimes before. And in the wake of a suicide attempt, Edgar finds himself in the mysterious Darkening Land: a place between the living and the dead, where old atrocities echo.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Racism
  • Suicide attempt
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Dementia
  • Child death
  • Police brutality
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Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enriquez

Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enriquez

Things We Lost in the Fire: Stories by Mariana Enriquez

In these wildly imaginative, devilishly daring tales of the macabre, internationally bestselling author Mariana Enriquez brings contemporary Argentina to vibrant life as a place where shocking inequality, violence, and corruption are the law of the land, while military dictatorship and legions of desaparecidos loom large in the collective memory. In these stories, reminiscent of Shirley Jackson and Julio Cortázar, three young friends distract themselves with drugs and pain in the midst a government-enforced blackout; a girl with nothing to lose steps into an abandoned house and never comes back out; to protest a viral form of domestic violence, a group of women set themselves on fire.

But alongside the black magic and disturbing disappearances, these stories are fueled by compassion for the frightened and the lost, ultimately bringing these characters—mothers and daughters, husbands and wives—into a surprisingly familiar reality. Written in hypnotic prose that gives grace to the grotesque, Things We Lost in the Fire is a powerful exploration of what happens when our darkest desires are left to roam unchecked, and signals the arrival of an astonishing and necessary voice in contemporary fiction

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Fatmisia
  • Child abuse
  • Eating disorder
  • Disordered food & weight thoughts
  • Substance abuse
  • Police brutality
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The Wolf at the Door by Charlie Adhara

The Wolf at the Door by Charlie Adhara

Hunting for big bad wolves was never part of Agent Cooper Dayton’s plan, but a werewolf attack lands him in the carefully guarded Bureau of Special Investigations. A new case comes with a new partner: ruggedly sexy werewolf Oliver Park.

Park is an agent of The Trust, a werewolf oversight organization working to ease escalating tensions with the BSI. But as far as Cooper’s concerned, it’s failing. As they investigate a series of mysterious deaths unlike anything they’ve seen, every bone in Cooper’s body is suspicious of his new partner—even when Park proves himself as competent as he is utterly captivating… Read more.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Alcohol consumption
  • Murder & attempted murder
  • Police brutality mentioned
  • Kidnapping mentioned
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The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders

The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders

Humanity clings to life on January–a colonized planet divided between permanently frozen darkness on one side, and blazing endless sunshine on the other.

Two cities, built long ago in the meager temperate zone, serve as the last bastions of civilization–but life inside them is just as dangerous as the uninhabitable wastelands outside.

Sophie, a young student from the wrong side of Xiosphant city, is exiled into the dark after being part of a failed revolution. But she survives–with the help of a mysterious savior from beneath the ice… Read more.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Toxic friendships
  • Body horror
  • Police brutality
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This Train Is Being Held by Ismée Amiel Williams

This Train Is Being Held by Ismée Amiel Williams

When private school student Isabelle Warren first meets Dominican-American Alex Rosario on the downtown 1 train, she remembers his green eyes and his gentlemanly behavior. He remembers her untroubled happiness, something he feels all rich kids must possess. That, and her long dancer legs. Over the course of multiple subway encounters spanning the next three years, Isabelle learns of Alex’s struggle with his father, who is hell-bent on Alex being a contender for the major leagues, despite Alex’s desire to go to college and become a poet. Alex learns about Isabelle’s unstable mother, a woman with a prejudice against Latino men. But fate—and the 1 train—throw them together when Isabelle needs Alex most.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Racism & racial profiling
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Attempted suicide off-page
  • Depression
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Overdose
  • Police brutality
  • Gang violence
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To Love While Black Is to Riot by Regina Williams

To Love While Black Is to Riot by Regina Williams

Fire is unstoppable. It is raw, godly in power, and spreads to everything it touches. It is inherently dangerous.

Fire lines the pages of this book like the road to perdition. It is lingering on every word, every phrase, every mention

of love or love lost. It is inescapable and raging.
It is the screaming call of a nation that has been beaten and abused. It is the swaying flame of a people with love flowing through their veins who have remained silent in the face of injustice. The Liberty Bell has gone up in flames and the world is watching. The matches have been lit and the fire is spreading. Are you ready to face the fire?

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Racism
  • Cancer mentioned
  • Police violence
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Viral Airwaves by Claudie Arseneault

Viral Airwaves by Claudie Arseneault

Henry Schmitt wants nothing more than a quiet life and a daily ration of instant noodles. At least until he learns the terrible secret that drove his father away—the Plague that killed his mother and ravaged his country was created by those now in power. He has one chance to help expose the conspiracy: a ragtag band of rebels needs a pilot for their hot air balloon, where they can launch a broadcast revealing the truth. If Henry accepts, he can experience his dream of flight. But he would have to leave his safe, tranquil life behind … and bring the wrath of a corrupt government upon his head.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Homomisia
  • Suicide
  • Plague
  • Murder
  • Torture
  • Gun violence
  • Explosion
  • Police brutality
  • War & rebellion themes
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City of Strife by Claudie Arseneault

City of Strife by Claudie Arseneault

A hundred and thirty years have passed since Arathiel last set foot in his home city. Isandor hasn’t changed—bickering merchant families still vie for power through eccentric shows of wealth—but he has. His family is long dead, a magical trap has dulled his senses, and he returns seeking a sense of belonging now long lost.

Arathiel hides in the Lower City, piecing together a new life among in a shelter dedicated to the homeless and the poor, befriending an uncommon trio: the Shelter’s rageful owner, Larryn, his dark elven friend Hasryan, and Cal the cheese-loving halfling. When Hasryan is accused of Isandor’s most infamous assassination of the last decade, what little… Read more.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Racism
  • Parental abandonment
  • Physical & emotional abuse
  • Memory loss
  • Torture
  • Police brutality
  • Hanging
  • Death by fire mentioned
  • Homelessness
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One of the Good Ones by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite

One of the Good Ones by Maika Moulite & Maritza Moulite

When teen social activist and history buff Kezi Smith is killed under mysterious circumstances after attending a social justice rally, her devastated sister Happi and their family are left reeling in the aftermath. As Kezi becomes another immortalized victim in the fight against police brutality, Happi begins to question the idealized way her sister is remembered. One of the good ones.

Even as the phrase rings wrong in her mind—why are only certain people deemed worthy to be missed?—Happi and her sister Genny embark on a journey to honor Kezi in their own way, using an heirloom copy of The Negro Motorist Green Book as their guide. But there’s a twist to Kezi’s story that no one could’ve ever expected—one that will change everything all over again.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Coming out themes
  • Racism
  • Queermisia
  • Nonconsensual drugging
  • Grief & loss depiction
  • Murder
  • Police brutality & violence
  • Hanging & lynching
  • Fire & arson
  • Kidnapping & confinement
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The Awakening of Malcolm X by Ilyasah Shabazz and Tiffany D Jackson

The Awakening of Malcolm X by Ilyasah Shabazz & Tiffany D. Jackson

No one can be at peace until he has his freedom.

In Charlestown Prison, Malcolm Little struggles with the weight of his past. Plagued by nightmares, Malcolm drifts through days unsure of his future. Slowly, he befriends other prisoners and writes to his family. He reads all the books in the prison library, joins the debate team and the Nation of Islam. Malcolm grapples with race, politics, religion, and justice in the 1940s. And as his time in jail comes to an end, he begins to awaken — emerging from prison more than just Malcolm Little: Now, he is Malcolm X.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Racism & white supremacy
  • Suicide mentioned
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Recreational drug use
  • Police brutality
  • Death row executions mentioned
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