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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All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Marie-Laure lives in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, Werner Pfennig, an orphan, grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find that brings them news and stories from places they have never seen or imagined. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments and is enlisted to use his talent to track down the resistance. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. 

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Anti-Semitism & Nazism
  • Rape
  • Murder
  • Torture
  • Bullying
  • War themes*

*The book is set in France during World War 2.

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Clap When You Land

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…

In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.

Separated by distance – and Papi’s secrets – the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.

Papi’s death uncovers all the painful truths he kept hidden, and the love he divided across an ocean. And now, Camino and Yahaira are both left to grapple with what this new sister means to them, and what it will now take to keep their dreams alive.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Depictions of rape & sexual assault
  • Sexual harassment
  • Stalking
  • Cheating mentioned
  • Pregnancy, childbirth (labour) & premature birth
  • Grief depiction
  • Death of a father
  • Plane crash (off-page)

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Mexican Gothic

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find—her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.

Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.

Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.

And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Racism and white supremacy, including discussion of eugenics
  • Attempted rape
  • Incest
  • Suicide discussed
  • Miscarriage and stillbirths
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Recreational drug use (smoking)
  • Hallucinations
  • Cannibalism
  • Gore depiction and body horror
  • Murder
  • Death of a child
  • Death of a parent and family members discussed

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All That Impossible Space

All That Impossible Space by Anna Morgan

15-year-old Lara Laylor feels like supporting character in her own life. She’s Ashley’s best friend, she’s Hannah’s sister-she’s never just Lara.

When new history teacher Mr. Grant gives her an unusual assignment: investigating the mystery of the Somerton Man. Found dead in on an Adelaide beach in 1948, a half-smoked cigarette still in his mouth and the labels cut out of his clothes, the Somerton Man has intrigued people for years. Was he a spy? A criminal? Year 10 has plenty of mysteries of its own: boys, drama queen friends, and enigmatic new students. When they seem just as unsolvable as a 60-year-old cold case, Lara finds herself spending more and more time on the assignment.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Ableist language
  • Teacher-student relationship discussed
  • Grooming
  • Toxic friendship (central theme)
  • Abandonment discussed
  • Suicide mentioned
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Asthma attacks (on-page)
  • Murder and dead bodies discussed
  • Drowning recounted
  • War themes mentioned
  • Bullying (rumour spreading)

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Alex and Eliza

Alex and Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz

1777. Albany, New York.

As battle cries of the American Revolution echo in the distance, servants flutter about preparing for one of New York society’s biggest events: the Schuylers’ grand ball. Descended from two of the oldest and most distinguished bloodlines in New York, the Schuylers are proud to be one of their fledgling country’s founding families, and even prouder still of their three daughters—Angelica, with her razor-sharp wit; Peggy, with her dazzling looks; and Eliza, whose beauty and charm rival that of both her sisters, though she’d rather be aiding the colonists’ cause than dressing up for some silly ball.

Still, she can barely contain her excitement when she hears of the arrival of one Alexander Hamilton, a mysterious, rakish young colonel and General George Washington’s right-hand man. Though Alex has arrived as the bearer of bad news for the Schuylers, he can’t believe his luck—as an orphan, and a bastard one at that—to be in such esteemed company. And when Alex and Eliza meet that fateful night, so begins an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Attempted rape
  • Victim blaming
  • Forced marriage
  • Medical procedures
  • War themes

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A Curse so Dark and Lonely

A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year, Prince Rhen, the heir of Emberfall, thought he could be saved easily if a girl fell for him. But that was before he turned into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. Before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper learned to be tough enough to survive. When she tries to save a stranger on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s pulled into a magical world.

Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. A prince? A curse? A monster? As she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Ableism and ableist language
  • Sexism
  • Sexual assault (on-page) & rape threats
  • Cheating recounted
  • Nightmares
  • Suicide (multiple accounts recounted)
  • Suicide attempt (on-page, discussed & recounted)
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Blood and gore depiction, and dead bodies
  • Graphic physical injuries
  • Terminal cancer and death from cancer (protagonist’s mother)
  • Amputation recounted
  • Emesis
  • Grief & loss depiction
  • Death of a mother (op)
  • Death of a sister & father recounted
  • Murder and attempted murder
  • Physical assailt
  • Graphic torture (multiple scenes)
  • Gun violence
  • Knife violence & stabbing
  • Kidnapping & attempted kidnapping
  • Death from a fall recounted
  • Death from drowning recounted
  • War themes, including battle scenes
  • Attempted regicide
  • Poverty themes & debt collection discussed

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All the Stars and Teeth

All the Stars and the Teeth by Adalyn Grace

As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer — the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic.

When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic.

But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder — and more peril — than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Arranged marriage
  • Physical and emotional domestic abuse recounted (chapter 29)
  • Cheating discussed
  • Attempted sexual assault recounted (in chapter 19)
  • Forced sex work recounted
  • Hallucinations
  • Suicide (on-page)
  • Self-harm and self-injury
  • Grief & loss depiction
  • Death of a father (on-page)
  • Graphic blood & gore depiction
  • Graphic dead bodies & body parts
  • Graphic autopsy
  • Dismemberment and amputation
  • Graphic dental torture and general teeth-related warning
  • Physical injuries
  • Emesis
  • Cannibalism
  • Murder (on-page) and attempted murder
  • Torture (on-page)
  • Poisoning
  • Imprisonment
  • Drowning
  • War & rebellion themes
  • Animal abuse/torture (brief scene in chapter 29)
  • Alcohol consumption

The author, Adalyn Grace, provided a detailed breakdown of content warnings here.

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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