The weather is cooling, the leaves are turning, and something is in the air. Halloween is creeping closer, and if you’re anything like me this means you want to curl up under a blanket with a mug of tea and a good book. Today, I’m sharing four books that are perfect for the occasion! And if you need more recs, you can head over to Saima’s post because evidently we have same brain on post topics, and they have even more Fall recommendations!
If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio
Did someone say dark academia? As one of seven senior college students in an elite Shakespearian theatre program, Oliver Marks plays the extra onstage and off. But when things go awry, Oliver and his friends must convince the police that they are not responsible for the death of one of their classmates. Filled with Shakespeare references and set on a gothic college campus, it has the perfect dark vibes for your Halloween reading.
Trigger Warnings: blood, death, depression, drug overdose, drug and alcohol use, eating disorder, homophobia, injury, murder, physical abuse, partner abuse, PTSD, racial slur, self harm, slut shaming, substance abuse, mentions of suicide, transphobic comment, violence
The Witch Haven by Sasha Peyton Smith
It’s 1911 New York and Frances Hallowell is barely making it by as a seamstress, spending all her free time trying to get the police to investigate her brother’s death. When she’s attacked by a man and a mysterious force sends her scissors into his neck, Frances is whisked off by two strange women to Haxahaven Academy: a school for young witches. But there is more to the magical world than meets the eye, and Frances and her new friends will encounter more than they bargained for. I admittedly had some issues with the places the plot went, but I did absolutely love the writing and the worldbuilding. So I think it is an excellent choice for a magical October read.
Trigger warnings: grief, death of a close family member, death, attempted sexual assault, blood, death, murder, stabbing, vomiting, drowning, mentions of drowning, absentee parents, mentions of asylums, mutilation of corpses, allusions to child abuse, discussions of Native American boarding schools, underage drinking and smoking, violence
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
When Noemí’s father receives a frantic letter from her recently-married cousin, he sends Noemí to check on her. What she finds is her very unwell cousin held hostage by her new husband and his questionable family in their creepy house. Set in the 1950s in a classically gothic manor house, “Mexican Gothic” is sure to send a shiver down your spine and leave you thinking about it for days.
Trigger warnings: attempted rape, cannibalism, child birth, drugging, eugenics, fire, forced marriage, violence and gore, hallucinations, incest, mind control, mentions of miscarriage, murder, racism, suicide, live burial, gaslighting
Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
Wait, you wanted more dark academia? Devon is just a regular kid, trying to make it through the highly selective Niveus Private Academy without causing any waves, and get into Juilliard where he can do what he does best: music. Chiamaka rules the school as Head Girl, and is right on track toward her dream of getting into Yale to become a doctor. But when the anonymous entity only known as “Aces” starts sending text messages revealing their deepest secrets, they must team up to stop them. Much like Mexican Gothic, Ace of Spades focuses on the horror of white supremacy, and will definitely make you think about the deeper concepts at play.
Trigger warnings: racism, homophobia, bullying, car crash, blood, underage drinking, racist slurs, stalking, emotional abuse, panic attacks, anxiety, forced outing, suicide ideation, suicide attempt, death of parent, gun violence, murder, toxic relationship, sexism, forced institutionalism, incarceration, mentions of death penalty, revenge porn
Thanks for reading! What is your favorite book to read during the Fall season? Is it a scary book, or something that gives you cozy vibes? Let me know!