In the words of Oscar Wilde, “and all at once, summer collapsed into fall.”
While we haven’t been hit with the full-blown force of fall just yet, the season is fast approaching; along with it comes a shift in reading taste.
Many people are influenced by the weather when picking out their next book. One may crave a summertime story in the dead of winter, but the start of a season often pushes people towards a novel to set the mood. And though the following books may not all take place solely in fall, they certainly embody the crisp feel and warm color palette of the season.
“Such a Fun Age” by Kiley Reid
Reid’s debut novel is infuriating, eerie and thought-provoking — all in the best way.
“Such a Fun Age” is about babysitter Emira Tucker, a young black woman met with suspicious stares when visiting a grocery store with a white toddler in hand. After being accused of kidnapping the child, Tucker is bailed out by her employers and decides to move on from the scene. Yet, a bystander who catches the confrontation on camera refuses to let her forget.
Emira’s interactions with both her employer and the bystander grow to uncomfortable levels, all while Emira struggles to pay her bills. While not much can be said without spoiling the book, Reid sets many scenes with fall spirit; cat ears are pulled out at Halloween and a whole lot goes down at the Thanksgiving dinner table.
“The Inheritance Games” by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
“The Inheritance Games” builds on beloved works like “The 39 Clues” and “Knives Out,” telling the tale of a struggling high schooler who unexpectedly inherits billionaire Tobias Hawthorne’s fortune. The protagonist of the story, Avery Grambs has no idea who Hawthorne is, and to make matters worse, she must move into the puzzling Hawthorne House, an estate chock-full of riddles, passageways and relatives who seethe with jealousy.
If ideas like mystery and intrigue were to be classified into a season, that season would undeniably be fall. Further making this book perfect for fall is the private school setting where the protagonist is forced to transfer to. The preppy uniforms, tweed coats and general back-to-school season align perfectly with the change in temperature.
The best part? The series’ third and final installment, “The Final Gambit,” released on Aug. 30, ready for eager readers to devour.
“Truly Devious” by Maureen Johnson
Another book chronicling a mystery at a fancy prep school is Maureen Johnson’s “Truly Devious.” Ellingham Academy was founded by a riddle-obsessed tycoon, whose family was kidnapped shortly thereafter. The only clue offered by the culprit was a riddle signed “Truly, Devious.” When signs of the so-called Devious return to Ellingham Academy years later, true-crime lover Stevie Bell sets out to solve the cold case.
“Truly Devious” also takes place in Vermont — a state well-known for its fall foliage and outdoor offerings.
“The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter” has long been seen as an influential work; in fact, it was even the inspiration for the 2010 film “Easy A” starring Emma Stone.
The novel is set in Puritan Boston and follows Hester Prynne, a woman scorned and branded with the letter A for her affair years prior. Prynne and her daughter Pearl bear the burden of public shame while her partner-in-crime remains a secret, living in a pool of guilt.
“The Crucible” by Arthur Miller
“The Crucible,” a play by Arthur Miller, follows similarly. The story depicts the infamous witch hunts and trials of 17th century Salem, pitting neighbor against neighbor in a spooky tale of treachery.
Both works incorporate the very essence of fall, mainly through their Massachusetts setting. Much like Vermont, the state is renowned for the season, especially as Halloween approaches.