The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling

The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling

When Gyre Price lied her way into this expedition, she thought she’d be mapping mineral deposits, and that her biggest problems would be cave collapses and gear malfunctions. She also thought that the fat paycheck—enough to get her off-planet and on the trail of her mother—meant she’d get a skilled surface team, monitoring her suit and environment, keeping her safe. Keeping her sane.

Instead, she got Em.

Em sees nothing wrong with controlling Gyre’s body with drugs or withholding critical information to “ensure the smooth operation” of her expedition. Em knows all about Gyre’s falsified credentials, and has no qualms using them as a leash—and a lash. And Em has secrets, too… Read more.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Child neglect & abandonment
  • Claustrophobia
  • Hallucinations & delusions
  • Nonconsensual administrations of drugs & medical treatment
  • Blood & gore depiction
  • Physical injury & illness
  • Dead bodies
  • Emesis
  • Needles
  • Surgery
  • Hospital mentioned
  • Death from starvation
  • Amputation & loss of limb
  • Grief & loss depiction
  • Death of a mother & father recounted
  • Death from a fall
  • Drowning
  • Cave disasters
  • Loss of bodily autonomy
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Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they’ve known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin’s orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously—and at great risk—documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father’s prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. 

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Sexual assault
  • Forced sex work
  • Starvation
  • Dead bodies
  • Recreational drug use (smoking)
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Gun violence
  • Deportation
  • Forced labour in work camps
  • World War Two (theme)
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Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here — it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Blood depiction
  • Starvation
  • Death of a friend
  • Death of a parent
  • Murder
  • Bullying
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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, everybody is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life. Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath just can’t let go. Now that they’re in college, Cath must decide if she’s ready to start living her own life. But does she even want to if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Cath doesn’t need friends IRL. She has her twin sister, Wren, and she’s a popular fanfic writer in the Simon Snow community with thousands of fans online.  But now that she’s in college, Cath is completely outside of her comfort zone. There are suddenly all these new people in her life. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming boyfriend, a writing professor who thinks fanfiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome new writing partner … And she’s barely heard from Wren all semester!

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Fatmisia & body shaming
  • Antisemitism
  • Starvation
  • Death of a child
  • Murder & mass murder
  • Chemical gassing
  • Concentration camp (setting)
  • The Holocaust & World War Two
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Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and her longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol—a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest that she’s afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she’s not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol’s cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can’t prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Classism
  • Forced sex work
  • Child abuse
  • Substance addiction
  • Trauma & nightmares
  • Alcohol consumption & abuse
  • Blood & gore depiction
  • Graphic physical injuries, including burns
  • Needles
  • Starvation & dehydration
  • Emesis (off-page)
  • Grief & loss depiction
  • Death of a child recounted
  • Death of a father & husband recounted
  • Death of a friend (on-page)
  • Murder & attempted murder
  • Knife violence and stabbing
  • Gun violence
  • Explosions
  • Drowning
  • Whipping mentioned
  • Blackmail
  • War & rebellion themes, including riots
  • Animal death
  • Hunting
  • Poverty themes
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The Deep by Rivers Solomon

The Deep by Rivers Solomon with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson & Jonathan Snipes

Yetu holds the memories for her people—water-dwelling descendants of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard by slave owners—who live idyllic lives in the deep. Their past, too traumatic to be remembered regularly, is forgotten by everyone, save one—the historian. This demanding role has been bestowed on Yetu.

Yetu remembers for everyone, and the memories, painful and wonderful, traumatic and terrible and miraculous, are destroying her. And so, she flees to the surface, escaping the memories, the expectations, and the responsibilities—and discovers a world her people left behind long ago. Yetu will learn more than she ever expected to about her own past—and about the future of her people. If they are all to survive, they’ll need to reclaim the memories, reclaim their identity—and own who they really are.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Slavery
  • Attempted suicide
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Self harm
  • PTSD & trauma
  • Physical injuries & illness
  • Blood depiction
  • Emesis
  • Pregnancy mentioned
  • Starvation
  • Drowning
  • War themes
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As Far As You’ll Take Me by Phil Stamper

As Far As You’ll Take Me by Phil Stamper

Marty arrives in London with nothing but his oboe and some savings from his summer job, but he’s excited to start his new life–where he’s no longer the closeted, shy kid who slips under the radar and is free to explore his sexuality without his parents’ disapproval.

From the outside, Marty’s life looks like a perfect fantasy: in the span of a few weeks, he’s made new friends, he’s getting closer with his first ever boyfriend, and he’s even traveling around Europe. But Marty knows he can’t keep up the facade. He hasn’t spoken to his parents since he arrived, he’s tearing through his meager savings, his homesickness and anxiety are getting worse and worse, and he hasn’t even come close to landing the job of his dreams. Will Marty be able to find a place that feels like home?

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Coming out themes
  • Nonconsensual outing
  • Homomisia
  • Religious bigotry
  • Anxiety & anxiety attacks
  • Body dysmorphia
  • Disordered food & weight thoughts (including on-page crash dieting, food-shaming, calorie counting & self-imposed starvation)
  • Alcohol consumption
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One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London

One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London

Bea Schumacher is a devastatingly stylish plus-size fashion blogger who has amazing friends, a devoted family, legions of Insta followers–and a massively broken heart. Like the rest of America, Bea indulges in her weekly obsession: the hit reality show Main Squeeze. The fantasy dates! The kiss-off rejections! The surprising amount of guys named Chad! But Bea is sick and tired of the lack of body diversity on the show. Since when is being a size zero a prerequisite for getting engaged on television?

Just when Bea has sworn off dating altogether, she gets an intriguing call: Main Squeeze wants her to be its next star, surrounded by men vying for her affections… Read more.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Fatmisia & body shaming (theme)
  • Misogyny
  • Threats of rape
  • Cheating
  • Cyberbullying & doxxing
  • Dieting & starvation mentioned
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The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression chronicles the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and tells the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads—driven from their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California.

Out of their trials and their repeated collisions against the hard realities of an America divided into Haves and Have-Nots evolves a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, elemental yet plainspoken, tragic but ultimately stirring in its human dignity.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Domestic & child physical abuse
  • Stillbirth
  • Starvation
  • Death of a parent
  • Death of a child mentioned
  • Murder
  • Imprisonment
  • Graphic animal death
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The Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

The Mermaid, the Witch & the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

Aboard the pirate ship Dove, Flora the girl takes on the identity of Florian the man to earn the respect and protection of the crew. For Flora, former starving urchin, the brutal life of a pirate is about survival: don’t trust, don’t stick out, and don’t feel. But on this voyage, as the pirates prepare to sell their unsuspecting passengers into slavery, Flora is drawn to the Lady Evelyn Hasegawa, who is en route to a dreaded arranged marriage with her own casket in tow. Flora doesn’t expect to be taken under Evelyn’s wing, and Evelyn doesn’t expect to find such a deep bond with the pirate Florian.

Soon the unlikely pair set in motion a wild escape that will free a captured mermaid (coveted for her blood, which causes men to have visions and lose memories) and involve the mysterious Pirate Supreme, an opportunistic witch, and the all-encompassing Sea itself.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Homomisia
  • Slavery & human trafficking
  • Misogyny
  • Rape & sexual assault mentioned
  • Child abuse & neglect
  • Forced arranged marriage
  • Alcoholism & alcohol abuse
  • Starvation
  • Blood depiction & physical injury
  • Emesis
  • Murder
  • Graphic torture (on-page)
  • Whipping
  • Hanging mentioned
  • Imprisonment
  • Poverty themes
  • Homelessness
  • War & colonialism themes
  • Animal abuse & death