This season, fall in love with some spooky reads that are perfect for Halloween—or some more heart-warming reads as the weather finally cools down.
“Ninth House” (Alex Stern #1), Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Adult fantasy
Publication Date: October 18th 2019
Length: 458 pages
This is the adult fantasy debut from #1 New York Times best-selling author, Leigh Bardugo, hailed by Stephen King as, “The best fantasy novel I’ve read in years” and “The Magicians” author, Lev Grossman, as “Magnificent,” according to the publisher, Flatiron Books.
You might recognize this author’s name—she’s also the author of the best-selling Grisha series, Six of Crows duology, and, just this year, “King of Scars.”
Alex Stern is a high-school dropout and the sole survivor of an unsolved multiple homicide, but, on her hospital bed, she’s given a mysterious second chance: to attend Yale University on a full ride. The catch? She’s tasked with monitoring Yale’s secret societies…and they’re much more sinister than she would have imagined. Here’s the full synopsis, plus community reviews.
Why You’ll Love It: This fantastical mystery should be a perfect spooky read without being too scary! And it’s always a safe bet to go with a powerhouse novelist like Bardugo.
*Warning for trauma and violence.
“The Institute,” Stephen King
Genre: Supernatural horror
Publication Date: September 10 2019
Length: 561 pages
For a very spooky read this Halloween, check out Stephen King’s new release, “The Institute.”
After his parents are silently murdered, young Luke Ellis is taken from his home to a place known as the Institute, where there are other kids with special talents like telekinesis and telepathy. As victims disappear to the sinister “Back Half,” Luke becomes desperate to escape from a place from which no one has ever escaped.
You can read the synopsis and an excerpt here.
Why You’ll Love It: It’s Stephen King. Go read it already! Also, it’s perfect to read after watching “It: Chapter Two.”
“Wayward Son” (Simon Snow #2), Rainbow Rowell
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBT+
Publication Date: September 24th 2019
Length: 356 pages
This is the second in a series by popular Young Adult author Rainbow Rowell of “Eleanor and Park” fame and is one of Bustle’s “Most Anticipated Books.” If you haven’t read the first book, here’s the synopsis.
Previously, in “Carry On,” Simon Snow, the chosen one, saved the day—but lost his powers. It should have been over, right? Not so fast—here’s what happens to the Chosen One after saving the day as he, Penny and Baz tear across the American West in a vintage convertible. For more details and reviews, see here.
Why You’ll Love It: Like the first book, this book consciously takes popular tropes from such fantasy stories as “Harry Potter” and flips them on their head.
“The Giver of Stars,” Jojo Moyes
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: October 8th 2019
Length: 400 pages
If neither supernatural nor spooky are really your thing, or even if you’re looking for something a little more serious, you should try Jojo Moyes’s latest release, “The Giver of Stars.” You might recognize Moyes from her best-selling book “Me Before You” and its film adaptation with “Game of Thrones” star Emilia Clarke.
Set in Depression-era America, this story follows the lives of five women as they venture west to become a part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s traveling library, and it is based on the true story of the Horseback Librarians of Kentucky. Here’s the full synopsis and reviews.
Why You’ll Love It: Funny and heartbreaking all at once? Sounds like our kind of book.
“Imaginary Friend,” Stephen Chbosky
Genre: Literary horror
Publication Date: October 1 2019
Length: 720 pages
Remember “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”? Well, the author, Stephen Chbosky, just published a literary horror novel about a young boy haunted by terrifying imaginary people.
A single mother flees an abusive relationship with her seven-year-old son in tow and settles in a small town in Pennsylvania. Then her son, Christopher, vanishes for six days and returns with a voice in his head telling him to complete a mission only he can do.
Sound spooky enough yet? Find out more here.
Why You’ll Love It: If you’re a fan of children involved with the supernatural, then this is your cup of tea.
“How We Fight For Our Lives,” Saeed Jones
Genre: Autobiography/memoir, nonfiction, LGBT+
Publication Date: October 8th 2019
Length: 192 pages
Award-winning poet Saeed Jones has written a coming-of-age memoir that blends poetry and prose about his experience as a young, black, gay man from the South that concerns how we fight to form our own identities.
According to Goodreads, Jones writes the following: “People don’t just happen. We sacrifice former versions of ourselves. We sacrifice the people who dared to raise us. The ‘I’ it seems doesn’t exist until we are able to say, ‘I am no longer yours.’ ”
For more information, see here.
Why You’ll Love It: It crosses genres and is raw in its subject matter. What’s not to love?
“Shades of Magic Vol. 2: Night of the Knives,” V.E. Schwab
Genre: Graphic novel, fantasy
Publication Date: October 16th 2019
Length: 112 pages
A prequel offshoot of best-selling author V.E. Schwab’s fantasy book series, which began with “A Darker Shade of Magic,” this graphic novel series sees a world filled with alternate Londons—one of which is home to Maxim Maresh, known as the Steel Prince. Follow his swashbuckling escapades! You can find more information here.
Why You’ll Love It: The character’s adventures range from facing pirate queens to taking impossible challenges. Aside from it being a breeze of a read, who wouldn’t want to read about pirate queens?
Classic Throwback: “Dracula,” Bram Stoker
Genre: Classic, horror
Publication Date: 1897
Length: depends on edition
Contrary to popular belief, “Dracula” isn’t the first vampire novel—both Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s “Carmilla” and John Polidori’s “The Vampyre” predate Stoker’s epistolary horror novel. But there’s a reason it has influenced popular culture so thoroughly for generations.
Told through a series of letters, diary entries, and articles, the story begins when young English lawyer Jonathan Harker travels to Castle Dracula for, of all things, a real estate transaction—then becomes the count’s prisoner. When Count Dracula decides to move from Transylvania to England (so he can spread the undead curse, of course), Professor Abraham Van Helsing leads Harker, the lawyer’s fiance Mina and others against Dracula’s attempts either to turn them into vampires or kill them.
You may find reviews here.
Why You’ll Love It: Vampires, vampire hunters, horror and love? A perfect concoction as we approach Halloween.