Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Yeongdo, Korea 1911. A club-footed, cleft-lipped man marries a fifteen-year-old girl. The couple have one child, their beloved daughter Sunja. When Sunja falls pregnant by a married yakuza, the family face ruin. But then a Christian minister offers a chance of salvation: a new life in Japan as his wife.

Following a man he barely knows to a hostile country where she has no friends and no home, Sunja’s salvation is just the beginning of her story.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Racism
  • Misogyny
  • Physical & emotional abuse
  • Suicide
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Starvation
  • Death of a parent
  • Colonialism
  • Korean War & World War two
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The Revenant by Michael Punke

The Revenant by Michael Punke

The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge by Michael Punke

Rocky Mountains, 1823. The trappers of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company live a brutal frontier life. Hugh Glass is one of the most respected men in the company, an experienced frontiersman and an expert tracker.But when a scouting mission puts Glass face-to-face with a grizzly bear, he is viciously mauled and not expected to survive. Two men from the company are ordered to remain with him until his inevitable death. But, fearing an imminent attack, they abandon Glass, stripping him of his prized rifle and hatchet.

As Glass watches the men flee, he is driven to survive by one all-consuming desire: revenge. With shocking grit and determination, he sets out on a three-thousand-mile journey across the harsh American frontier, to seek revenge on the men who betrayed him.

The Revenant is a remarkable tale of obsession and the lengths that one man will go to for retribution.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Misogyny and sexism
  • Racism and racial slurs
  • Sex worker shaming and slurs
  • Abuse, neglect and abandonment
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Blood and gore depiction
  • Body horror
  • Dead bodies and body parts
  • Decapitation
  • Physical injury and wounds
  • Medical treatment, including surgery
  • Death of a friend
  • Murder
  • Knife violence
  • Gun violence
  • Scars
  • Imprisonment and captivity
  • Starvation and dehydration depiction
  • Blizzard
  • Animal death
  • Hunting
  • Colonialism themes
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To Stand in the Light by Kayla Bashe

To Stand in the Light by Kayla Bashe

Answering a distress call in the farthest reaches of the galaxy, teenage half-demon Shadow finds a scene of carnage where their superheroine foster parents once lived. Only one thing holds them back from seeking death: the unexpected discovery of a small, scruffy girl. Bean, an acid-green-haired high school dropout, is feral and whimsical by turns. As they travel home, she slowly grows to trust Shadow, and wriggles into their closed-off heart.

Dangerous secrets and painful memories drive Shadow away from New York again and again, but their friendship with Bean only grows. When they return home, though, it’s to a grown-up Bean who finds herself falling for her former mentor — and tumbling headlong into much bigger trouble than anyone suspects…

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Ableism
  • Parental abandonment
  • Child abuse
  • Forced starvation
  • Self harm
  • Murder
  • Kidnapping
  • Homelessness
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The Whatnot by Stefan Bachmann

The Whatnot by Stefan Bachmann

Pikey Thomas doesn’t know how or why he can see the changeling girl. But there she is. Not in the cold, muddy London neighborhood where Pikey lives. Instead, she’s walking through the trees and snow of the enchanted Old Country or, later, racing through an opulent hall. She’s pale and small, and she has branches growing out of her head. Her name is Henrietta Kettle.

Pikey’s vision, it turns out, is worth something. Worth something to Hettie’s brother—a brave adventurer named Bartholomew Kettle. Worth something to the nobleman who protects him. And Pikey is not above bartering—Pikey will do almost anything to escape his past; he’ll do almost anything for a life worth living… Read more.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Starvation mentioned
  • Eyeball trauma
  • Battle scenes
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Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones

Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones

Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Flacones book cover

XIV century. The city of Barcelona is at its moment of greatest prosperity; has grown towards the Ribera, the humble neighborhood of fishermen, whose inhabitants decide to build, with the money of some and the effort of others, the largest Maria cathedral ever known.
A construction that moves parallel to the hazardous story of Arnau, son of a peasant serf, who flees from the abuses of his feudal lord and takes refuge in Barcelona, ​​where he becomes a citizen and, with it, a free man.
While his best friend and adopted brother Joan studies to become a priest, young Arnau becomes a member of the guild of the stone-workers, soldier and moneychanger. A strenuous life which leads him from the misery of the fugitive to nobility and wealth. But with this privileged position he also gets the envy of his peers, who devise a sordid plot that puts his life in the hands of the Inquisition. He finds himself face-to-face with his own brother. Will he lose his life just as his beloved Cathedral of the Sea is finally completed?

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Sexual assault
  • Starvation
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The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capital, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.

The odds are against him. He’s been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined — every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute… and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Sexual assault, implied
  • Child abuse & neglect
  • Emotional abuse
  • Drug use
  • Beheading
  • Cannibalism mentioned
  • Starvation
  • Death of a parent
  • Murder
  • Physical & psychological torture
  • Hanging
  • Poverty themes
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Vagrant Queen Vol. 1 by Magdalene Visaggio

Vagrant Queen Vol. 1 by Magdalene Visaggio and illustrated by Jason Smith

Former child queen Elida was driven from her throne at age ten and forced to wander the galaxy, evading the revolutionary forces that wanted her dead. When an old frenemy claims to know the whereabouts of Elida’s long-lost mother, she is forced to return to her former kingdom and stage a rescue.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Alcohol consumption
  • Blood & gore depiction
  • Beheading
  • Starvation & food scarcity mentioned
  • Death of a mother, off-page
  • Murder
  • Gun violence
  • Sword violence
  • Physical assault
  • Kidnapping
  • Loss of autonomy (mind control)
  • Royal coup & rebellion themes
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The Warsaw Orphan by Kelly Rimmer

The Warsaw Orphan by Kelly Rimmer

In the spring of 1942, young Elzbieta Rabinek is aware of the swiftly growing discord just beyond the courtyard of her comfortable Warsaw home. She has no fondness for the Germans who patrol her streets and impose their curfews, but has never given much thought to what goes on behind the walls that contain her Jewish neighbors. She knows all too well about German brutality–and that it’s the reason she must conceal her true identity. But in befriending Sara, a nurse who shares her apartment floor, Elzbieta makes a discovery that propels her into a dangerous world of deception and heroism.

Using Sara’s credentials to smuggle children out of the ghetto brings Elzbieta face-to-face with the reality of the war behind its walls, and to the… Read more.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Antisemitism
  • Rape
  • Sexual assault mentioned
  • Pregnancy
  • Starvation
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Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There’s no more money for rent. And not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Again.

Crenshaw is a cat. He’s large, he’s outspoken, and he’s imaginary. He has come back into Jackson’s life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything?

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Starvation
  • Homelessness discussed
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Fragile Remedy by Maria Ingrande Mora

Fragile Remedy by Maria Ingrande Mora

Ren Kolins is a silver wielder—a dangerous thing to be in the kingdom of Erdis, where magic has been outlawed for a Sixteen-year-old Nate is a GEM—Genetically Engineered Medi-tissue created by the scientists of Gathos City as a cure for the elite from the fatal lung rot ravaging the population. As a child, he was smuggled out of the laboratory where he was held captive and into the Withers—a quarantined, lawless region. Nate manages to survive by using his engineering skills to become a Tinker, fixing broken tech in exchange for food or a safe place to sleep. When he meets Reed, a kind and fiercely protective boy that makes his heart race, and his misfit gang of scavengers, Nate finds the family he’s always longed for—even if he can’t risk telling them what he is… Read more.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Human medical experimentation, implied
  • Substance addiction
  • Drug abuse
  • Blood & gore depiction
  • Starvation
  • Torture
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