Against the Odds

Against All Odds by Danielle Steel

Kate Madison’s stylish boutique has been a big success in New York, supporting her and her four kids since her husband’s untimely death. Now, her children have grown up and are ready to forge lives of their own.

Isabelle, a dedicated attorney, falls for a client in a criminal case. She tells herself she can make a life with him – but can she? Julie, a young designer, meets a man who seems too good to be true. She gives up her job and moves to LA to be at his side, ignoring the danger signs. Justin is a struggling writer who pushes his partner for children before they’re financially or emotionally ready. And Willie, the youngest, makes a choice that shocks them all . . .

For Kate – loving, supportive and outspoken – the hardest lesson will be that she can’t protect her children from their choices, but can only love them as they make them.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Drug use
  • Spousal abuse
  • Death of a husband recounted
  • Rape
  • Cheating

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After the Fire

After the Fire by Will Hill

The things I’ve seen are burned into me, like scars that refuse to fade.

Before, she lived inside the fence. Before, she was never allowed to leave the property, never allowed to talk to Outsiders, never allowed to speak her mind. Because Father John controlled everything—and Father John liked rules. Disobeying Father John came with terrible consequences.

But there are lies behind Father John’s words. Outside, there are different truths.

Then came the fire.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Slut shaming
  • Misogyny
  • Child abuse & psychological abuse
  • Suicide
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Drug abuse
  • Murder
  • Gun violence
  • Fire

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After the Eclipse

After the Eclipse by Fran Dorricott

Two solar eclipses. Two missing girls.

Sixteen years ago a little girl was abducted during the darkness of a solar eclipse while her older sister Cassie was supposed to be watching her. She was never seen again. When a local girl goes missing just before the next big eclipse, Cassie – who has returned to her home town to care for her ailing grandmother – suspects the disappearance is connected to her sister: that whoever took Olive is still out there. But she needs to find a way to prove it, and time is running out.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Child sexual abuse
  • Suicide
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Drug abuse

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Fingersmith

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

No one and nothing is as it seems in this Dickensian novel of thrills and reversals. Sue Trinder is an orphan, left as an infant in the care of Mrs. Sucksby, a “baby farmer.” Mrs. Sucksby’s household also hosts a transient family of petty thieves—fingersmiths—for whom this house in the heart of a mean London slum is home.

One day, the most beloved thief of all arrives—Gentleman, an elegant con man, who carries with him an enticing proposition for Sue: If she wins a position as the maid to Maud Lilly, a naïve gentlewoman, and aids Gentleman in her seduction, they all will share in Maud’s vast inheritance.

With dreams of paying back the kindness of her adopted family, Sue agrees to the plan. Once in, however, Sue begins to regret her decision.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Sexual assault
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Blood depiction
  • Death of a parent
  • Murder & execution
  • Torture
  • Wrongful incarceration
  • Kidnapping
  • Animal cruelty
  • Bullying

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Affinity

Affinity by Sarah Waters

An upper-class woman recovering from a suicide attempt, Margaret Prior has begun visiting the women’s ward of Millbank prison, Victorian London’s grimmest jail, as part of her rehabilitative charity work. Amongst Millbank’s murderers and common thieves, Margaret finds herself increasingly fascinated by an apparently innocent inmate, the enigmatic spiritualist Selina Dawes. Selina was imprisoned after a séance she was conducting went horribly awry, leaving an elderly matron dead and a young woman deeply disturbed. Although initially skeptical of Selina’s gifts, Margaret is soon drawn into a twilight world of ghosts and shadows, unruly spirits and unseemly passions, until she is at last driven to concoct a desperate plot to secure Selina’s freedom, and her own. 

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Queermisia
  • Suicide implied and attempted suicide recounted
  • Incarceration discussed
  • Drowning implied
  • Recreational drug use

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Adrian and the Tree of Secrets

Adrian and the Tree of Secrets written by Hubert, illustrated by Marie Caillou and translated by David Homel

Adrian isn’t very happy these days. He lives in a small town and goes to a Catholic high school. He wears glasses, secretly reads philosophy books, and wishes he had more muscles. He’s dogged by a strict mother, bullied by fellow players on the soccer field, and chastised by the school principal, who considers gay rumors about Adrian as a sign that he is “ill.” But Jeremy, the coolest kid at school, thinks otherwise; he takes Adrian on scooter trips, where they end up in Jeremy’s secret treehouse stealing kisses. Adrian finds himself falling in love, until Jeremy’s girlfriend rats them out, sending Jeremy into a tailspin of embarrassment for being different than the rest. What will become of him?

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Homomisia & homomisic slurs
  • Suicide
  • Drowning implied
  • Bullying

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Absent

Absent by Katie Williams

When seventeen-year-old Paige dies in a freak fall from the roof during Physics class, her spirit is bound to the grounds of her high school. At least she has company: her fellow ghosts Evan and Brooke, who also died there. But when Paige hears the rumor that her death wasn’t an accident–that she supposedly jumped on purpose–she can’t bear it. Then Paige discovers something amazing. She can possess living people when they think of her, and she can make them do almost anything. Maybe, just maybe, she can get to the most popular girl in school and stop the rumors once and for all.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Suicide
  • Recreational drug use
  • Death by a fall
  • Murder
  • Bullying

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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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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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