The Silence of Bones

The Silence of Bones by June Hur

1800, Joseon (Korea). Homesick and orphaned sixteen-year-old Seol is living out the ancient curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Indentured to the police bureau, she’s been tasked with assisting a well-respected young inspector with the investigation into the politically charged murder of a noblewoman.

As they delve deeper into the dead woman’s secrets, Seol forms an unlikely bond of friendship with the inspector. But her loyalty is tested when he becomes the prime suspect, and Seol may be the only one capable of discovering what truly happened on the night of the murder.

But in a land where silence and obedience are valued above all else, curiosity can be deadly.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Religious persecution & hate crimes (central theme)
  • Misogyny and gendered slurs
  • Slut-shaming
  • Ableist language
  • Indentured servitude*
  • Sexual assault (unwanted touching) mentioned (chp 9)
  • Suicide, attempted suicide & suicidal ideation recounted and discussed (multiple times)
  • Suicide from a fall mentioned (chp 1)
  • Suicide from hanging mentioned (chp 16)
  • Alcohol consumption mentioned
  • Pregnancy & childbirth mentioned
  • Death of a baby and infanticide recounted
  • Graphic blood & gore depiction
  • Graphic dead bodies and autopsy scene
  • Graphic physical injuries, illness & wound descriptions
  • Mutilation**
  • Needles
  • Nonconsensual branding and resulting scars recounted
  • Grief & loss depiction
  • Death of a brother (on-page)
  • Death of a father recounted
  • Death of a mother recounted
  • Death of a sister recounted
  • Death from starvation & exposure to the cold mentioned
  • Murder and attempted murder
  • Regicide (off-page)
  • Torture (one on-page scene, otherwise discussed or recounted)
  • Kidnapping and hostage situation
  • Whipping mentioned (chp 3)
  • Police brutality and violence
  • Drowning mentioned and near-drowning incident
  • Animal attack (chp 2)
  • Animal injuries mentioned (chp 9)
  • Animal death, hunting, and animal butchering mentioned
  • Poverty themes

*The main character is an indentured servant to the police.

**The serial killer cuts the noses off their victims.

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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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The Candle and the Flame

The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad

Fatima lives in the city of Noor, a thriving stop along the Silk Road. There the music of myriad languages fills the air, and people of all faiths weave their lives together. However, the city bears scars of its recent past, when the chaotic tribe of Shayateen djinn slaughtered its entire population — except for Fatima and two other humans. Now ruled by a new maharajah, Noor is protected from the Shayateen by the Ifrit, djinn of order and reason, and by their commander, Zulfikar.

But when one of the most potent of the Ifrit dies, Fatima is changed in ways she cannot fathom, ways that scare even those who love her. Oud in hand, Fatima is drawn into the intrigues of the maharajah and his sister, the affairs of Zulfikar and the djinn, and the dangers of a magical battlefield.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Sexual harassment
  • Grief depiction
  • Death of a brother recounted
  • Death of a father recounted
  • Disappearance of a sibling
  • Murder & attempted murder
  • Massacre and genocide recounted
  • Knife violence & stabbing
  • Poisoning
  • Fire
  • War themes
  • Poverty themes

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A Curse so Dark and Lonely

A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year, Prince Rhen, the heir of Emberfall, thought he could be saved easily if a girl fell for him. But that was before he turned into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. Before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper learned to be tough enough to survive. When she tries to save a stranger on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s pulled into a magical world.

Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. A prince? A curse? A monster? As she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Ableism and ableist language
  • Sexism
  • Sexual assault (on-page) & rape threats
  • Cheating recounted
  • Nightmares
  • Suicide (multiple accounts recounted)
  • Suicide attempt (on-page, discussed & recounted)
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Blood and gore depiction, and dead bodies
  • Graphic physical injuries
  • Terminal cancer and death from cancer (protagonist’s mother)
  • Amputation recounted
  • Emesis
  • Grief & loss depiction
  • Death of a mother (op)
  • Death of a sister & father recounted
  • Murder and attempted murder
  • Physical assailt
  • Graphic torture (multiple scenes)
  • Gun violence
  • Knife violence & stabbing
  • Kidnapping & attempted kidnapping
  • Death from a fall recounted
  • Death from drowning recounted
  • War themes, including battle scenes
  • Attempted regicide
  • Poverty themes & debt collection discussed

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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and once girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weight survival against humanity and life against love.

Trigger Warnings

  • Ableism & ableist language
  • Alcohol consumption and alcohol abuse
  • Alcoholism
  • Animal death (graphic & repeated), hunting, and animal illness mentioned
  • Animal dead bodies and graphic description of skinning & butchering
  • Animal attack and death from animal attack (including death from a wasp attack and a graphic scene of a child being eaten alive by a wolf)
  • Attempted murder of a pet cat recounted
  • Attempted suicide and self-sacrifice ideation
  • Avalanche mentioned
  • Blood and gore depiction (graphic)
  • Cannibalism recounted & discussed
  • Classism
  • Dead bodies (graphic, multiple)
  • Death from exposure mentioned
  • Death of a child (op, multiple)
  • Death of a father recounted
  • Death of a friend (op)
  • Death of a husband recounted
  • Drugging w/o consent
  • Emesis (graphic, multiple op scenes)
  • Explosions (op & recounted)
  • Fire
  • Graphic physical injuries (including burns & loss of hearing) and illness
  • Grief depiction
  • Hallucinations
  • Hostage situation
  • Knife violence and stabbing
  • Non-consensual medical treatment and procedures (including amputation)
  • Murder and attempted murder
  • Needles
  • Poisoning
  • Police brutality mentioned
  • Poverty themes
  • Rebellion themes
  • Scars discussed
  • Serious illness of a loved one
  • Starvation & dehydration depiction (central theme) and death from starvation & dehydration mentioned
  • Strangulation
  • Whipping mentioned

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