With all the new novels coming out this month from our favorite authors, we can’t forget about those books that get us right in the autumn mood with atmospheric woods, cozy fireside chats and hanging out with friends. In the lull between midterms and finals, try to squeeze in a book or two. Or if you’re like me, just squeeze them all in during Thanksgiving break.
“Uprooted” by Naomi Novik
The fairytale-like structure of this novel and its cozy village setting already gives me fall vibes, but the Wood, the corrupted forest that borders the kingdom, definitely adds to that appeal. A powerful wizard, the Dragon, protects the kingdom from the malevolence that lurks in the Wood but isolates himself in a tower and takes a girl from a nearby village for 10 years to live there with him. Sounds creepy, I know, but the mystery that plays out in this book, from the nature of the Wood to how the world’s magic works to what the girl’s duty entails, is revealed in a way that demonstrates Novik’s skill as a storyteller. Agnieska, the feisty and strong-willed heroine, has such a charming love for her home and those who come into her life.
“The Raven Cycle” by Maggie Stiefvater
Alright, I know that I’ve put this quartet of books on my lists multiple times before, but this is just a sign that you need to read the books. The wholesome friendship between the main characters and the whimsical quirks of the magic in the books, like Blue’s clairvoyant family and their trips into the nearby forest that no doubt has magical properties, elicit the comforting sense of the season. The first book takes place in the fall and starts out in a graveyard waiting for the spirits of people who will die in the coming year, which definitely has some spooky vibes. Stiefvater’s lyrical prose is perfect to carry out a fantastical journey of the group’s search for a dead Welsh king. If any of this sounds like the right amount of strange for you, then get reading.
“The Goose Girl” by Shannon Hale
Another inspired fairy tale, Hale adapts the lesser-known Grimm story to include an interesting system of magic, in which some people are either gifted with the “tongues” of nature, people or animals. Princess Ani becomes overthrown and left for dead by a coup orchestrated by her former handmaiden and is forced to navigate the unknown kingdom of the prince she was arranged to marry. A kind heart and willingness to adapt, as well as the bonds she forms with the village community that she joins, creates a heartwarming tale that is perfect for fall. I first read this book in elementary school and have reread it multiple times since. Hale’s storytelling has a perfect combination of complex characterization and worldbuilding.
“Ninth House” by Leigh Bardugo
Released in early October, I actually haven’t gotten around to this book, but since it’s written by my fave Leigh Bardugo, I can’t help but vouch for it. The fact that it centers around the secret society of Yale University puts it at the top of my list. Bardugo has promised the perfect amount of spookiness and supernatural against the iconic backdrop of New England fall on a college campus as protagonist Alex Stern is tasked with investigating the occult going-ons of Yale.
“Pumpkinheads” by Rainbow Rowell, illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks
This author and illustrator duo are some of my favorites separately, so when I heard that they were partnering up for this Halloween adventure, I knew this would be a winner. Fall on a high school or college campus has such nostalgia for me, and “seasonal” best friends Deja and Joseph have the most wholesome friendship. They’ve worked on a pumpkin patch together every fall in high school, and for their senior year, they want to go out with a bang on Halloween. With a pumpkin patch, Halloween antics and high school friends, this graphic novel screams fall.
Hollie Lao is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.