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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Little Creeping Things

Little Creeping Things by Chelsea Ichaso

When she was a child, Cassidy Pratt accidentally started a fire that killed her neighbor. She’s pretty sure she didn’t mean to do it, and she’d give anything to forget that awful day. But her town’s bullies, particularly the cruel and beautiful Melody Davenport, have never let her live it down. In Melody’s eyes, Cassidy is a murderer and always will be.

Then Melody goes missing, and Cassidy thinks she may have information about what happened. She knows she should go to the cops, but she recently joked about how much she’d like to get rid of Melody. She even planned the perfect way to do it. And then she gets a chilling text from an unknown number: I’m so glad we’re in this together.

Now it’s up to Cassidy to figure out what’s really going on before the truth behind Melody’s disappearance sets the whole town ablaze.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Alleged sexual harassment
  • Bullying
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Fire recounted
  • Death of a friend & neighbour recounted

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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.