Fall reading list


Photo by Katherine Parker

While I love to read year round, fall is by far my favorite time to crack open a book, especially one that’s a little dark or cozy. I crafted the perfect “To Be Read” list for these precious few days of fall. 

“The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett” by Chelsea Sedoti

“The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett” isn’t for everyone, but it is for those struggling with finding their path and growing up. This book focuses on Hawthorn Creely, a small-town 17-year-old with a wild imagination who is wholly uninterested in planning for her future. When Lizzie Lovett, a girl who Hawthorn briefly knew, goes missing, Hawthorn develops an unconventional theory for the disappearance of this “perfect” girl that she explores with Lizzie’s boyfriend. This book is in no way a mystery or thriller, but rather a slice of life that explores the people who seemingly have it all. With plenty of walks in the woods, this book delivers on the fall vibes, but cannot be counted on for a happy ending.

“Be Not Far from Me” by Mindy McGinnis

In “Be Not Far from Me,” what was meant to be a weekend of camping in the woods with friends turns into a harrowing fight for survival when heroine Ashley Hawkins loses her friends and her bearings. Stranded in the Smokies with an infection crawling up her foot, Ashley fights for her life as flashbacks from a life of regret and wrongdoings barrage her. With hauntingly beautiful monologues about nature’s lesser-noted merciless side, “Be Not Far from Me” is not for the faint of heart.

“The Secret History” by Donna Tartt

Touted as a dark academia classic, “The Secret History” is told from the perspective of college student Richard Papen who transfers to an elite Northeastern college where he is whisked into the whirlwind lives of five Greek students. While “The Secret History” can’t be counted on to hold a consistent, wholly believable plot, it subsists on aesthetics and flowery prose. “The Secret History” makes for a dark, fall read as the lives of these academically-oriented students devolve into corruption. Though I had my grievances while reading, “The Secret History” is the type of book one can’t help thinking about days after.

“Enna Burning” by Shannon Hale

My fall doesn’t truly start until I pick up “Enna Burning” for a reread. This book is technically classified as the second in the series, but each book follows a different character and plot, so I had no problem reading this book first. “Enna Burning” tells the story of a girl who learns to, and quickly becomes fascinated with, setting fires. Stakes heighten when Enna becomes the covert “fire-witch” in her country’s war, burning the opposing kingdom’s resources at the risk of the fire destroying her. Initially light, “Enna Burning” has a surprisingly dark undertone. 

“Vicious” by V.E. Schwab 

“Vicious” tells the story of loner college students Victor Vale and Eli Cardale, who take their scientific studies to the extreme. The best friends decide to simulate “near-death” experiences in the pursuit of the superpowers adrenaline-inducing experiences are said to bring. Though both boys end up with extraordinary powers, they are archenemies on the hunt for revenge ten years later. “Vicious” frequently jumps timelines and perspectives, but these shifts kept me reading to see what caused the bad blood between the former friends. Distinctly dark and cinematic, this book invokes a classic superhero tale while somehow subverting all the tropes we know and love.