Book List

The Fall Books You Don’t Want to Miss

September 22, 2020
Devin MacDonald

Fall may not officially start for a few more weeks, but flipping the calendar to September always leaves me willing sweater weather to come quicker (by consuming as many pumpkin products as I can get my hands on). The only thing I’m more excited for than finally turning off my air conditioner and curling up under a cozy blanket is all of these amazing reads that are the perfect vibe for Fall.

The Fall Books You Don’t Want to Miss

1. Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

This modern-day twist on the King Arthur legend weaves a tale of Southern Black Girl Magic set against the backdrop of UNC-Chapel Hill. After witnessing a demon attack, Bree Matthews learns of an ancient, ongoing war against the forces of evil and joins a secret society that was founded by the descendants of King Arthur. As the only Black member of a group whose rituals and hierarchies are based on a predominantly white legend, Bree faces near-constant macro- and microaggressions from the other members of the group. But she also discovers a unique magic of her own, one that connects Bree to her mother, who died months before. Soon she must decide whether to use her power to take the society down—or join them in the fight.


2. The Skinjacker trilogy by Neal Shusterman

In this eerie and atmospheric novel,  Neal Shusterman explores questions of life, death, and what might lie in between. Everlost, the first book in the Skinjackers trilogy is the perfect read if you’re looking to have a spooky October. Not every child who dies goes on to the afterlife. Some are caught halfway between life and death, in a sort of limbo known as Everlost: a shadow of the living world, filled with all the things and places that no longer exist. It’s a magical, yet dangerous place where Allie and Nick find themselves after a car crash.


3. These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery. A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.


4. Where We Are by Alison McGhee

Nothing says Fall read like a book with a cult. Author Alison McGhee has written a stunning and heartbreaking story of two teens who fight to reunite when one of them is caught in the web of a sinister cult. Never before have the two of them been so far apart—or needed each other more. But their faith in each other never wavers, and that may just be enough to save them both.


5. Night Shine by Tessa Gratton

In the vast palace of the empress lives an orphan girl called Nothing. She slips within the shadows of the Court, unseen except by the Great Demon of the palace and her true friend, Prince Kirin, heir to the throne. When Kirin is kidnapped, only Nothing and the prince’s bodyguard suspect that Kirin may have been taken by the Sorceress Who Eats Girls, a powerful woman who has plagued the land for decades. Nothing will soon discover that all magic is a bargain, and she may be more powerful than she ever imagined. But the price the Sorceress demands for Kirin may very well cost Nothing her heart.


6. SLAY by Brittney Morris

Seventeen-year-old Kiera Johnson is a model student and math tutor. She’s also the anonymous developer of a massively popular online role-playing card game, SLAY. Every day, hundreds of thousands of Black gamers from every corner of the globe log into SLAY, awaken their Nubian personas, and square up for their next duel. The game is their safe place. It’s their secret. Until an in-game dispute results in an IRL murder that lands it in the crosshairs of the mainstream media. Driven to save the only world in which she can be herself, Kiera must preserve her secret identity and harness what it means to be unapologetically Black in a world intimidated by Blackness. But can she protect her game without losing herself in the process?


7. The Toll by Neal Shusterman

In a world where death no longer exists, will humanity fall at the hands of the immortal beings it created? The final installment in the Arc of the Scythe series is coming, and if you’ve yet to undertake the chilling task of learning the “art of killing” alongside Citra and Rowan, the teen apprentices to the Scythes in charge of population control, now is the time. But beware – once you dive in, you won’t want to come up for air.


8. Cursed by Thomas Wheeler with illustrations by Frank Miller

The time of kings is over in this twist on Arthurian legend (soon to be a Netflix original series). When Nimue’s village is razed by Red Paladins, she is charged by her dying mother to deliver an ancient sword to a legendary sorcerer, and her fate is forever changed. With a charming mercenary named Arthur at her side, she wields the sword meant for the one true king, battling paladins and the armies of a corrupt monarchy. She wrestles with the warring burdens of uniting her people, avenging her family, and discovering the truth about her destiny. But perhaps she can she find the one thing capable of changing her Destiny at the edge of a blade.


9. The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett

Theodora used to be in love with Huck Gallagher. Before he became her treasure-hunting father’s protégé and got whisked away on all of the expeditions that she’s dreamt of going on her whole life while she was left to languish in her hotel in Istanbul. But when Huck comes home from one journey alone, she finally gets her shot at an adventure – to rescue her father. Armed with her father’s travel journal, the reluctant pair discover that he had been digging up information on a legendary and magical ring that once belong to Vlad the Imapler (aka Dracula) and that it might just be the key to tracking him down.


10. Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw

Be careful of the dark, dark wood… Especially the woods surrounding the town of Fir Haven. Nora Walker, who is rumored to be a witch by the townsfolk, has always shared a special connection with the woods and one day the woods lead her to Oliver Huntsman—the boy who disappeared from the Camp for Wayward Boys weeks ago—in the middle of the worst snowstorm in years. He should be dead, but here he is alive, and left in the woods with no memory of the time he’d been missing. But Nora can feel an uneasy shift in the woods at Oliver’s presence. And it’s not too long after that Nora realizes she has no choice but to unearth the truth behind how the boy she has come to care so deeply about survived his time in the forest, and what led him there in the first place.


11. Songs From the Deep by Kelly Powell

Sirens are real and they have lurked off the coast of Moira Alexander’s island town for as long as she can remember. Even though their haunting songs can lure anyone to a swift and watery grave, she gets as close to them as she can, playing her violin on the edge of the enchanted sea. So when a young boy is found dead on the beach, the islanders assume that he’s one of the sirens’ victims. Moira isn’t so sure. Certain that someone has framed the boy’s death as a siren attack, Moira convinces her childhood friend, the lighthouse keeper Jude Osric, to help her find the real killer, rekindling their friendship in the process. With townspeople itching to hunt the sirens down, and their own secrets threatening to unravel their fragile new alliance, Moira and Jude must race against time to stop the killer before it’s too late—for humans and sirens alike.


12. Daughters of Jubilation by Kara Lee Corthron

In the Jim Crow South, white supremacy reigns and tensions are high. But Evalene Deschamps has other things to worry about. She has two little sisters to look after, an overworked single mother, and a longtime crush who is finally making a move. Evvie has magic abilities that her family calls jubilation. And when the demons of Evvie’s past finally shake free, she must embrace her mighty lineage, and summon the power that lies within her.


13. Remember Me by Christopher Pike

In this harrowing thriller from bestselling author Christopher Pike, a teen girl must solve the mystery of her own murder before the killer strikes again. This is the perfect book if you’re looking for Halloween vibes.


14. Magic Dark and Strange by Kelly Powell

Catherine Daly has an unusual talent. By day she works for a printer. But by night, she awakens the dead for a few precious moments with loved ones seeking a final goodbye. But this magic comes with a price: for every hour that a ghost is brought back, Catherine loses an hour from her own life. When Catherine is given the unusual task of collecting a timepiece from an old grave, she enlists Guy Nolan, the watchmaker’s son, to help her dig it up. But instead of a timepiece, they find a surprise: the body of a teenage boy. Catherine and Guy must race to unravel the connection between the missing timepiece and the undead boy. For this mysterious magic could mean the difference between life and death—for all of them.


15. Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World by Benjamin Alire Saenz

In Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, two boys in a border town fell in love. Now, they must discover what it means to stay in love and build a relationship in a world that seems to challenge their very existence.


16. Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson

Artemisia is training to be a Gray Sister, a nun who cleanses the bodies of the deceased so that their souls can pass on; otherwise, they will rise as spirits with a ravenous hunger for the living. She would rather deal with the dead than the living, who trade whispers about her scarred hands and troubled past.


17. The Witch Haven by Sasha Peyton Smith

In 1911 New York City, seventeen-year-old Frances Hallowell spends her days as a seamstress, mourning the mysterious death of her brother months prior. Everything changes when she’s attacked and a man ends up dead at her feet—her scissors in his neck, and she can’t explain how they got there.


18. The Bones of Ruin by Sarah Raughley

As an African tightrope dancer in Victorian London, Iris is used to being strange. She is certainly a strange sight for leering British audiences always eager for the spectacle of colonial curiosity. But Iris also has a secret that even “strange” doesn’t capture…​She cannot die.


Check out the books you should read based on your fave song from Taylor Swift’s folklore!

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