By: Hannah Rapp, GEPL Teen Librarian
School is back in full swing, the leaves are turning color, and the pumpkin spice (and attendant memes) are back in our coffees (and on our screens). Even if it makes me cliché, I love fall – pumpkin spice and all, so I’m excited. And just like there’s a distinct profile for summer reads – beachy settings, lighter themes, maybe some romance – there’s also some books that just scream fall to me. So whether you’re as in love with autumn like me, or having a hard time getting excited, here’s some books that might help you with that fall spirit. (All descriptions from Goodreads.com)
Any Harry Potter book –
“Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy. He lives with his Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia and cousin Dudley, who are mean to him and make him sleep in a cupboard under the stairs. (Dudley, however, has two bedrooms, one to sleep in and one for all his toys and games.) Then Harry starts receiving mysterious letters and his life is changed forever. He is whisked away by a beetle-eyed giant of a man and enrolled at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The reason: Harry Potter is a wizard! The first book in the “Harry Potter” series makes the perfect introduction to the world of Hogwarts.” (Description of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone).
Hannah’s Note: Since Hogwarts and classes are such a big part of most of the books, with most starting nearing the beginning of the school year, it’s hard to go wrong with a good Harry Potter book (or the whole series!) in the fall.
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater –
“It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.
At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.
Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.”
Hannah’s Note: From the first line, “It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die,” it’s hard to put down The Scorpio Races. The chilly island wind, the November cakes, the terror of the capaill uisce, and more, all make this a perfect book for reading while curled under a blanket with a cup of hot cider (or, yes, a pumpkin spice latte.)
Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham –
“Meet Scarlett, a smart, sarcastic, kick-butt, Muslim American heroine, ready to take on crime in her hometown of Las Almas. When a new case finds the private eye caught up in a centuries-old battle of evil genies and ancient curses, Scarlett discovers that her own family secrets may have more to do with the situation than she thinks — and that cracking the case could lead to solving her father’s murder.
Jennifer Latham delivers a compelling story and a character to remember in this one-of-a-kind debut novel.”
Hannah’s Note: Maybe it’s just Scarlett’s hoodie on the cover, maybe it’s the atmospheric scenes of a city at night, or maybe it’s the fun of a good, hard-boiled mystery, but Scarlett Undercover just seems like it’s set in the fall to me, and makes me want to spend cool nights on city streets. After I find out whodunit, of course!
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell –
“Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…
But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere. Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?
And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?”
Hannah’s Note: Okay, I may be cheating a bit, since between this and Harry Potter I’m talking about two of my absolute favorite books. But fall is a great time to retreat into comfort reads and favorites, and while Cath’s story takes place over the course of a year, it starts out with her first day at college – a perfect way to get into a fall read.
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake –
“Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.
Yet she spares Cas’s life.”
Hannah’s Note: What’s fall without a good scare for Halloween? I admit, this is the only book on this list I haven’t read, since it sounds way too creepy for me. I scare easily. But I loved Antigoddess, also by Kendare Blake, and I’ve heard that Anna Dressed in Blood is both great and terrifying – the perfect mix for a book in October!