A Song of Wraiths and Ruin

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts Malik’s younger sister, Nadia, as payment into the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal—kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom.

But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic . . . requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition.

When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death?

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Ableism and ableist language
  • Racism and racial slurs (fictional race)
  • Colonialism themes
  • Refugee experiences
  • Riots and stampede
  • Police brutality
  • Emotional child abuse
  • Physical child & parental abuse
  • Cheating mentioned
  • Anxiety (mc)
  • Panic attacks (multiple, described in detail op)
  • Hallucinations
  • Depersonalisation and derealization
  • Self-harm and self-harm ideation
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Emesis (multiple)
  • Blood depiction
  • Grief depiction (central theme)
  • Death of a father recounted
  • Death of a mother (op)
  • Death of a sister recounted
  • Death in a fire recounted
  • Hostage situation
  • Kidnapping and attempted kidnapping
  • Knife violence & stabbing
  • Murder and attempted murder
  • Regicide
  • Whipping (of feet) mentioned
  • Animal cruelty
  • Animal death (including animal sacrifice)

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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.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Racism & Islamphobia
  • Drugging
  • Blood depiction
  • Death of a brother recounted
  • School shooting (central theme)
  • Gun violence
  • Kidnapping
  • Stalking
  • Fire
  • Bullying

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All of Us With Wings

All Of Us With Wings by Michelle Ruiz Keil

Seventeen-year-old Xochi is alone in San Francisco, running from her painful past: the mother who abandoned her, the man who betrayed her. Then one day, she meets Pallas, a precocious twelve-year-old who lives with her rock-star family in one of the city’s storybook Victorians. Xochi accepts a position as Pallas’s live-in governess and quickly finds her place in their household, which is relaxed and happy despite the band’s larger-than-life fame.

But on the night of the Vernal Equinox, as a concert afterparty rages in the house below, Xochi and Pallas accidentally summon a pair of ancient creatures devoted to avenging the wrongs of Xochi’s adolescence. She would do anything to preserve her new life, but with the creatures determined to exact vengeance on those who’ve hurt her, no one is safe—not the family she’s chosen, nor the one she left behind. 

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Racism
  • Sexism
  • Rape recounted
  • Sexual assault
  • Child sex trafficking implied
  • Romanticised adult-minor relationship*
  • Child abuse and neglect
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Recreational drug use

*The main characters is a seventeen-year-old girl whose love interest is her twenty-eight-year-old male employer.

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All American Boys

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds

That’s the sidewalk graffiti that started it all…

Well, no, actually, a lady tripping over Rashad at the store, making him drop a bag of chips, was what started it all. Because it didn’t matter what Rashad said next—that it was an accident, that he wasn’t stealing—the cop just kept pounding him. Over and over, pummeling him into the pavement. So then Rashad, an ROTC kid with mad art skills, was absent again…and again…stuck in a hospital room. Why? Because it looked like he was stealing. And he was a black kid in baggy clothes. So he must have been stealing.

And that’s how it started.

And that’s what Quinn, a white kid, saw. He saw his best friend’s older brother beating the daylights out of a classmate. At first Quinn doesn’t tell a soul…He’s not even sure he understands it. And does it matter? The whole thing was caught on camera, anyway. But when the school—and nation—start to divide on what happens, blame spreads like wildfire fed by ugly words like “racism” and “police brutality.” Quinn realizes he’s got to understand it, because, bystander or not, he’s a part of history. He just has to figure out what side of history that will be.

Rashad and Quinn—one black, one white, both American—face the unspeakable truth that racism and prejudice didn’t die after the civil rights movement. There’s a future at stake, a future where no one else will have to be absent because of police brutality. They just have to risk everything to change the world.

Cuz that’s how it can end.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Racism & racial profiling
  • Police brutality (police shooting)
  • Gun violence

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Undercover Bromance

Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams

Liv Papandreas has a dream job as a sous chef at Nashville’s hottest restaurant. Too bad the celebrity chef owner is less than charming behind kitchen doors. After she catches him harassing a young hostess, she confronts him and gets fired. Liv vows revenge, but she’ll need assistance to take on the powerful chef.

Unfortunately, that means turning to Braden Mack. When Liv’s blackballed from the restaurant scene, the charismatic nightclub entrepreneur offers to help expose her ex-boss, but she is suspicious of his motives. He’ll need to call in reinforcements: the Bromance Book Club.

Inspired by the romantic suspense novel they’re reading, the book club assists Liv in setting up a sting operation to take down the chef. But they’re just as eager to help Mack figure out the way to Liv’s heart… even though she’s determined to squelch the sparks between them before she gets burned.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Domestic abuse recounted
  • Gaslighting
  • Murder mentioned
  • Sexual harassment
  • Stalking
  • Victim blaming
  • Workplace harassment

With the Fire on High

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain — and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life — and all the rules everyone expects her to play by — once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Alcohol consumption
  • Childbirth mentioned
  • Colourism
  • Coming out themes recounted (sc)
  • Bullying recounted
  • Death of a mother recounted
  • Death of a husband recounted
  • Death of a grandfather recounted
  • Dubious consent scene discussed
  • G slur
  • Hurricanes & storms discussed
  • Racism
  • Sexist comments
  • Sexual harassment recounted
  • Teen pregnancy & motherhood (central theme)

The Poet X

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems. Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Alcohol abuse recounted
  • Cheating
  • Body shaming
  • Bullying
  • Difficult childbirth mentioned
  • Infertility themes
  • Panic attacks
  • Parental abandonment mentioned
  • Parental abuse
  • Physical injuries (minor)
  • Racism
  • Recreational drug use
  • Sexism & misogyny
  • Sexual harassment & unwanted touching
  • Slut shaming

*Religion is used to justify abusive behaviour.

King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender

Twelve-year-old Kingston James is sure his brother Khalid has turned into a dragonfly. When Khalid unexpectedly passed away, he shed what was his first skin for another to live down by the bayou in their small Louisiana town. Khalid still visits in dreams, and King must keep these secrets to himself as he watches grief transform his family.

It would be easier if King could talk with his best friend, Sandy Sanders. But just days before he died, Khalid told King to end their friendship, after overhearing a secret about Sandy-that he thinks he might be gay. “You don’t want anyone to think you’re gay too, do you?”

But when Sandy goes missing, sparking a town-wide search, and King finds his former best friend hiding in a tent in his backyard, he agrees to help Sandy escape from his abusive father, and the two begin an adventure as they build their own private paradise down by the bayou and among the dragonflies. As King’s friendship with Sandy is reignited, he’s forced to confront questions about himself and the reality of his brother’s death.

Trigger Warnings

  • Animal death
  • Child abuse
  • Coming out themes
  • Death from a heart attack mentioned
  • Death of a brother recounted
  • Death of a child recounted
  • Death of a son recounted
  • Domestic abuse mentioned
  • Emotional child abuse
  • Grief depiction (central theme)
  • Hate crimes mentioned
  • Homomisia & internalised homomisia (central theme)
  • Homomisic language and homomisic slurs
  • Murder mentioned
  • Parental abandonment recounted
  • Police brutality mentioned
  • Physical child abuse (sc)
  • Racism, racist language, and racial slurs
  • Recreational drug use mentioned
  • Toxic masculinity discussed
  • White supremacy discussed

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You Must Be Layla by Yassmin Abdel-Megied

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.

Trigger Warnings

  • Bullying
  • Islamophobia
  • Racism

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Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

Felix Love has never been in love—and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many—Black, queer, and transgender—to ever get his own happily-ever-after.

When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages—after publicly posting Felix’s deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned—Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn’t count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi–love triangle….

But as he navigates his complicated feelings, Felix begins a journey of questioning and self-discovery that helps redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself.

Trigger Warnings

  • Alcohol consumption
  • Bullying
  • Cyberbullying and cyberharassment
  • Coming out themes
  • Deadnaming
  • Disownment due to sexuality discussed
  • Doxxing
  • Emotional parental abuse
  • Emotional domestic abuse mentioned
  • Homomisia
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy
  • Internalised bismisia discussed
  • Misgendering
  • Needles and injection (op)
  • Queermisic parents
  • Parental abandonment
  • Racist microaggresions
  • Recreational drug use
  • Scars
  • Surgery (top surgery) recounted
  • Transmisia and transmisia language

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