Cruel Summer

Cruel Summer by James Dawson

A year after Janey’s suicide, her friends reunite at a remote Spanish villa, desperate to put the past behind them. However, an unwelcome guest arrives claiming to have evidence that Janey was murdered. When she is found floating in the pool, it becomes clear one of them is a killer. Only one thing is for certain, surviving this holiday is going to be murder…

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Bimisia (unchallenged)
  • Suicide
  • Death of a friend
  • Murder

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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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Hurricane Child

Hurricane Child by Kacen Callender

Caroline Murphy is a Hurricane Child.

Being born during a hurricane is unlucky, and 12-year-old Caroline has had her share of bad luck lately. She’s hated and bullied by everyone in her small school on St. Thomas of the US Virgin Islands, a spirit only she can see won’t stop following her, and — worst of all — Caroline’s mother left home one day and never came back.

But when a new student named Kalinda arrives, Caroline’s luck begins to turn around. Kalinda, a solemn girl from Barbados with a special smile for everyone, becomes Caroline’s first and only friend — and the person for whom Caroline has begun to develop a crush.

Now, Caroline must find the strength to confront her feelings for Kalinda, brave the spirit stalking her through the islands, and face the reason her mother abandoned her. Together, Caroline and Kalinda must set out in a hurricane to find Caroline’s missing mother — before Caroline loses her forever.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Racism
  • Lesbomisia
  • Ableism & ableist language
  • Parental abandonment (central theme)
  • Physical child abuse (one scene)
  • Bullying (on-page)
  • Near-drowning incident (chps. 1 & 11)
  • Hospitalisation (on-page & recounted)
  • Cheating recounted
  • Depression (sc)
  • Suicide attempt recounted (chp. 10)

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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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The Accident Season

The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

It’s the accident season, the same time every year. Bones break, skin tears, bruises bloom.

The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara’s life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara’s family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items – but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear.

But why are they so cursed? And how can they break free? 

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Ableism & ableist language
  • Paedophilia & child sexual abuse
  • Parental abandonment & neglect
  • Child abuse
  • Intimate partner abuse (physical abuse on-page & emotional and verbal abuse)
  • Depression (sc)
  • Trauma-related amnesia
  • Attempted suicide recounted
  • Self-harm
  • Graphic blood depiction and physical injuries
  • Hospital
  • Grief & loss depiction
  • Death of an infant recounted
  • Death of a father recounted
  • Murder, and attempted murder recounted
  • Car accident
  • 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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