Akata Witch

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

Born in New York, but living in Aba, Nigeria, twelve-year old Sunny is understandably a little lost. She is albino and thus, incredibly sensitive to the sun. All Sunny wants to do is be able to play football and get through another day of school without being bullied. But once she befriends Orlu and Chichi, Sunny is plunged in to the world of the Leopard People, where your worst defect becomes your greatest asset.

Together, Sunny, Orlu, Chichi and Sasha form the youngest ever Oha Coven. Their mission is to track down Black Hat Otokoto, the man responsible for kidnapping and maiming children. Will Sunny be able to overcome the killer with powers stronger than her own, or will the future she saw in the flames become reality?

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Ableism & ableist slurs
  • Misogyny
  • Slavery
  • Child mutilation
  • Murder (multiple, on-page)
  • Bullying

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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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Love, Hate & Other Filters

Love, Hate, & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

American-born seventeen-year-old Maya Aziz is torn between worlds. There’s the proper one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter: attending a college close to their suburban Chicago home, and being paired off with an older Muslim boy her mom deems “suitable.” And then there is the world of her dreams: going to film school and living in New York City—and maybe (just maybe) pursuing a boy she’s known from afar since grade school, a boy who’s finally falling into her orbit at school.

There’s also the real world, beyond Maya’s control. In the aftermath of a horrific crime perpetrated hundreds of miles away, her life is turned upside down. The community she’s known since birth becomes unrecognizable; neighbors and classmates alike are consumed with fear, bigotry, and hatred. Ultimately, Maya must find the strength within to determine where she truly belongs.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Blood depiction
  • Bullying
  • Disownment
  • Hate crimes
  • Hospitalisation due to physical injuries, the result of a physical assault
  • Islamophobia
  • Suicide bombing & self-immolation mentioned
  • Racism

A General Theory of Oblivion

A General Theory of Oblivion by José Eduardo Agualusa

On the eve of Angolan independence an agoraphobic woman named Ludo bricks herself into her apartment for 30 years, living off vegetables and the pigeons she lures in with diamonds, burning her furniture and books to stay alive and writing her story on the apartment’s walls.

Almost as if we’re eavesdropping, the history of Angola unfolds through the stories of those she sees from her window. As the country goes through various political upheavals from colony to socialist republic to civil war to peace and capitalism, the world outside seeps into Ludo’s life through snippets on the radio, voices from next door, glimpses of someone peeing on a balcony, or a man fleeing his pursuers.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Agoraphobia
  • Burns
  • Murder & mass murder
  • Pregnancy from rape
  • Rape
  • Slavery
  • Torture mentioned
  • War themes