Spooky books to read in autumn

Autumn is my favourite season, and one thing I love besides the cold weather and the turn of leaves, is autumn books. These are books either set in autumn, have spooky and witchy vibes or both. I wanted to include a combination of books I’ve read and loved, with books on my to-read list. I mainly chose newish books, from the last five years or so, with a few exceptions. I’m obviously missing a lot of good books, but these are the ones I want to read this season.

Witchy vibes

the witch of willow hall

I love books about witches and magic. They are the best reads to escape my boring adult reality. As a kid, I was obsessed with anything related to witches and fairies. Witchy vibes is my favourite book genre by far, especially if there’s a bit of romance and mystery in the mix.

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

“Lesson One of the Scholomance: Learning has never been this deadly.”

A school for magical beings, what else do you need? Scholomance is extremely dangerous, and most students don’t make it out alive, some disappear just a few nights in. Studying magic at a school full of monsters that will try to eat you in your sleep sounds super stressful, but the protagonist, Galadriel, has a system and incredible powers to protect herself and her classmates.

This school is like Hogwarts but ten times darker and way more dangerous. A perfect read for early October.

Read for: dark academia, magic, horror

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

“It doesn’t matter what people tell you. It doesn’t matter what they might say. Sometimes you have to leave home. Sometimes, running away means you’re headed in the exact right direction.”

I watch the movie Practical Magic every October, I love the story and the 90s witchy aesthetic but I’ve never read the books before, so this is my plan for this year, to read the four books and then rewatch the movie.

The Owens sisters grew up as outsiders, blamed for everything that went wrong in their town, as had all the previous Owens women. So they leave town as soon as they can, but their magic bond will bring them back to the life they tried so hard to escape.

Read for: magic, family relationships, romance

The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin

“Autumn is its own kind of magic; it reminds us of the beauty in letting go.”

This is one of the most beautiful covers I’ve ever seen, and the story sounds just as beautiful. Witches have always maintained the climate, but now they’re losing control as climate change affects the atmosphere, and everything they know is changing. Clara, an Everwitch with rare magic tied to every season, is the only one that can fix it.

I think this book has the perfect combination of magic and autumn feels. Definitely a must-read for me.

Read for: magic, romance, fantasy

The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox

“Read the book, and add what you learn from your own trials. Never stop learning. A lifetime is not long enough to gather up all the knowledge of our kind. That is why we pass it down.”

I can’t read ghost stories, I get too terrified, and I can’t sleep for days. But this story sounds different, creepy, but manageable for someone as easily frightened as me.

Two centuries after the Salem witch trials, there’s a witch left in Massachusetts, but she doesn’t know it yet. After moving to Willow Hall, a family with three daughters starts to experience all of the charms of a haunted estate. One of the daughters will discover she’s more powerful than she thought.

Read for: magic, gothic, paranormal, historical fiction

Graphic novels

salem black cat

This is my cat Xoco, she would make the perfect Salem in Sabrina The Teenage Witch. She’s moody and fast, and tends to stare at me through my bedroom window in a very creepy way.

If you’re looking for a fun and short read for this season, a graphic novel is the best option. These are my suggestions for 2021.

Mary: The Adventures of Mary Shelley’s Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Granddaughter by Brea Grant and Yishan Li

Teenager Mary Shelley (who looks exactly like I did ten years ago), is the great-great-great-great-great granddaughter of Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein. She soon discovers she has the power to heal monsters who won’t stop showing up so she can help them. This comic is cute and funny and has just the right level of creepiness.

Read for: paranormal, light-hearted, feminism

Fangs by Sarah Andersen

This cute novel follows a three-hundred-year-old vampire that falls in love with a werewolf. Every page is a short story of their day-to-day relationship with quirky jokes and adorable moments. I think Fangs is both a good read for Halloween and Valentine’s Day. It’s short, but it leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy.

Read for: dark humour, romance, gothic

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Robert Hack

This isn’t the Sabrina Spellman from the 90s sitcom. This Sabrina is more sinister and creepier. She’s a dark witch that makes sacrifices and plays with the devil. I read the comics before watching the show on Netflix, and even though the show follows some of the original storylines, most of the plot is entirely different. I don’t know which one I prefer, I love the spooky atmosphere of both, though the comics are darker than the show.

Read for: paranormal, horror, magic

Autumn vibes

for the wolf bedroom

I always have high expectations for autumn books. I want them to be dark but also warm, to describe the season vividly, to feel the cold and wet days through the pages and to leave you feeling like you’ve been walking around the woods for a while. But is that too much to expect from a book? I guess I’ll see after I read my picks for this genre.

For the Wolf by Hannah F. Whitten

for the wolf

“The warm familiarity of the bookshelves kept her together, knit her back into herself as she wandered between them.”

This dark fantasy is a loose retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. In Wilderwood, the first daughter is for the throne, and the second daughter is sacrificed to the Wolf. Red is the only second daughter born in centuries, and she has to go to the Wolf to save her kingdom, but Red has a secret of her own.

Read for: fairy tale, fantasy, romance

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

the broken girls

“That was what the books did—they turned off your thinking for you, put their thoughts in your head so you wouldn’t have your own.”

A haunting and suspenseful story about a former boarding school for troubled girls. I haven’t read the book yet but the blurb promises a sinister paranormal mystery, perfect for Halloween.

Read for: mystery, historical fiction, paranormal

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

truly devious

“Last things were so strange. Most people had no control over of what their last acts would be.”

This is one of the bests YA murder mystery novels to read in autumn. Set in a private school in Vermont, Truly Devious has the best combination of crime, mystery, romance and autumn vibes. I started the series in 2019, and I loved it. I have two books left in the series that look as good as the first ones.

Read for: mystery, dark academia, crime

I can’t wait to read these books and to discover new and exciting stories. My autumn TBR list is too long to include here (or read in just two months), so I’ve only selected a few from each genre. Which books are you reading this season?

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