Hi, lovelies! How are you doing?
It’s cold and wet out today, and since Autumn is finally here I thought I’d share some of my favourite spooky, atmospheric or in any other way autumny reads. These are in no particular order of my enjoyment.
Let’s ease into the list with a fun, witchy Middle Grade. The Witches of Willow Cove follows two friends, Abby and Robby, who on Halloween night sneak out to snoop around an abandoned mental hospital to find out anything they can about Robby’s mom, who went missing, but instead get into some trouble and discover that witches might actually exist and that Abby is one. As you can see, it’s a perfect autumn read and definitely one for people who enjoy Halloween, but not the scary and gory aspects of it.
On a similar note… City of Ghosts, the first book in Victoria Schwab’s Cassidy Blake Middle Grade series follows Cassidy as she ventures to Europe with her parents, who are TV show hosts and are recording a programme about haunted cities. What they don’t know is that Casssidy can peel the veil between the living and the dead and see ghosts. The first book takes place in Edinbrugh, it’s a really fun and only slightly spooky read and it’s perfect for this season.
To any mystery and paranormal fans… Jackaby is your series. I think it’s the most underrated one in the YA genre. Set in the late 1800s it follows Abigail Rook, who in desperate need of a new job, apprentices with a most unusual detective. It’s a Sherlock Holmesesque series full of paranormal creatures, each book featuring a different mystery, which are all linked together. It’s honestly one of my favourite series ever and I would highly recommend it.
Repping a local author here (Deirdre is from Galway, which is 107km from where I live) with Perfectly Preventable Deaths. If the cover doesn’t give you autumny and Halloweeny vibes, I don’t know what will… It’s about twins Madeline and Catlin who move to a remote village in Co. Galway where for the last 60 years teenage girls have been mysteriously disappearing. It’s a slow burn kind of a book, spooky, extremely atmospheric and also quite Irish, that took me by surprise. If you like witchy reads with queer rep – pick this up.
I remember when this came out and people had such mixed opinions on it. I feel like the hype died down pretty fast, but I’m here to reignite it. The Hazel Wood is a sort of a dark fairytale and after reading the sequel this year I am obsessed with this series, Alice, Finch and the Hinterland. Everything about it is great and bizarre. I’m not going to tell you what it is about. I feel the less you know, the better. If you haven’t read it yet and trust my opinion even a tiny bit, do yourself a favour and buy this or borrow it and read it.
This cover gives me the hibbie jibbies. Don’t ask me why… Staying in the YA genre I thought I’d mention The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein. It’s a retelling of (yes, you guessed it, well done) Frankenstein and follows the main character (again, you’re a genius) Elizabeth. She’s an orphan taken in by the Frankenstein family to keep company to Victor – a strange and solitary child. It’s a quick read, just short of 300 pages, but it has all the spookiness and disturbingness you would want from a Frankenstein retelling. Big thumbs up from me.
If you’ve noticed a theme here of witchy, ghosty stories and think, well, hang on… how does Wilder Girls fit into this category? It doesn’t, but I never said it’s Halloween recommendations, it’s just autumn recommendations. And Wilder Girls is really creepy and atmospheric and a horror novel, so it fits. It’s a story about a pandemic breaking out on an island holding a girl’s school. Said pandemic/virus/whatchamacallit causes the girls’ bodies to change. It’s quite gory, so if you can’t stomach it, it’s not a book for you. But if you can – I couldn’t recommend it more.
Another horror on the list. This one I won’t tell you anything about. For one, it’s really hard to explain and also it just works better when you know nothing at all and have no clue what to expect. Bunny is an absolute mindfuck of a book and it’s definitely not for everyone. I found it interesting, confusing and disturbing all at once and it was a great ol time.
Speaking of disturbing… this book! I’d say after the TV show, most of you know what the book is about. I read it back in 2016 and at the time I was new to the thriller genre and it was the scariest thing I’ve read. The most disturbing part is the narration style, which is told in the second person. You follows Joe, who works at a bookshop where he meets Beck, looks her up on social media and starts stalking… I know it’s everyone’s biggest fear – going to such a safe place like a bookstore and having that happen… We’re all on the same page, I know. Anyway, I thought the book was better than the show and worthy of appearing on this list.
Last, but not least, and funnily enough also with big stalker vibes we have I See You by Clare Mackintosh. I didn’t realise the themes were so similar when I was making this list – I swear. It’s a really smart and realistic thriller, following a woman who spots her own picture in a newspaper. It’s small and grainy and her family tries to convince her it’s not even her picture, just someone who looks like her. She’s sure, though, and determined to find out who put it up and why, but she doesn’t have much to go by. If you’re a fan of twisty, suspenseful thrillers that will keep you on the edge of your seat, I See You is for you.
That concludes my recommendations post. I hope I included books for all tastes. Have you read any of these? What did you think?
Thanks for reading, I’ll chat soon!