15 Spooky Season Books To Read This Fall

Published by The Connected Reader on

15 Book To Read for Spooky Season This Fall

My car temperature gauge read 107 degrees the other day, so I’m hoping a fall book list could help take it down a few notches.

A Texan can dream, right?

As the calendar tells us to inch toward fall, I’m getting in the mood for some spooky season books, even if the weather isn’t cooperating. 

What does spooky season reading mean to me? Books with some sort of spooky element – mystery, ghosts, supernatural, science-fiction, magical realism – that make you want to curl up under the cozy blankets and get lost in a fictional world for a while.

So here’s a few middle grade, young adult, and adult fiction recommendations to fill up your fall reading list.


My Favorite Spooky Season Book

When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller

When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller

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I read this aloud with my then six-year-old right after it became a Newbery winner. It is a middle grade novel about a young girl, her older sister, and their mother, who move back to the mother’s home town to live with the girls’ grandmother. It is beautiful, y’all. Keller weaves so many elements – a family processing changes, a family discovering stories about itself, and the value of storytelling in general, with a dash of magical realism – into a dazzling quilt of a book.

Middle Grade Spooky Season Books

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

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This is a Newbery Award winner from 2008 for middle grade readers. It is about a young boy being raised by a guardian in a graveyard after his family suffers a tragedy. While I read it many years ago, I remember the delight I felt getting lost in this world and story.

The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera

The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera

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This is a middle grade dystopian novel that won the Newbery Award recently. Interesting how there are quite a few spooky season Newbery award winners, here. In this one, the world is ending and a small group of people are selected to be part of a program to launch into space to keep society going. But quite soon, the young girl at the center of the story realizes that things are not what they seem. This has a lot of heavy, existential themes – as a parent, I felt very emotional. I enjoyed the world building, the reveals, and felt major The Giver vibes.

Young Adult Spooky Season Books

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

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This is the first in a four-part series about a group of boys at a private school and a girl who lives in the prep school town. It was a big hit in my Young Adult book club a decade ago, and it’s got all the spooky season elements- a family of psychics, ghosts, star-crossed lovers, thrills, and suspense.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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I was really in the mood for these types of novels in the early 2010s, because here’s another Young Adult fantasy novel from 2011 (it was also made into a movie with Liam Neeson and Sigourney Weaver in 2016 – who knew?). This is about a boy who has dreams that a monster comes to him. In the dreams, the monster tells the boy stories, and finally, the boy has to tell a story. The dreams end up all being the way the boy is processing a trauma that’s happening to him in real life. It’s all beautiful, though definitely on the darker side.

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

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This is the first in a three-part series YA mystery series (with a fourth and fifth book that stand alone, but have the same main characters). The series is very uneven; someone in my book club was like, these three books could have been one great book – I agree, AND I find this world interesting and the books good for audio in the background – I even included it in my favorite audiobooks list.

The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough

The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough

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Apparently, prior to 2015, I didn’t read anything but Young Adult – so here’s another one! Love and Death are characters, controlling the fates of the human characters in this story.  I loved it for this structure (it is compared to The Book Thief, which I don’t think is 100% accurate, but there are some similarities) and for the twists and turns.

Lobizona by Romina Garber

Lobizona by Romina Garber

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I found this to be one of the more original Young Adult fantasy novels I have read. It is a two-book series about a teenage girl living with her mother, hiding from her father’s dangerous family and from the government – because they do not have citizenship documentation. There’s more to the story, which the girl soon finds out, and she is forced to acclimate to a new world and identity. Lots of unexpected twists and turns, lots of commentary and discussion of policies related to immigrants and women.

Tigers, Not Daughters by Samantha Mabry

Tigers, Not Daughters by Samantha Mabry

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Three sisters in San Antonio are visiting by the ghost of their fourth sister, who forces them to lean on each other and process the trauma they’ve experience as a family and move forward in their lives. Sister stories are a yes for me, and I really enjoyed this one.

The Wolves are Watching by Natalie Lund

The Wolves Are Watching by Natalie Lund

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I read this Young Adult novel when it came out last fall and I still feel a chill when I think of the imagery of the first few pages. This is about a community in a small town in Illinois. A child goes missing and her cousin, a high school student, is determined to figure out what happened. This requires digging into the town’s past, which includes a bit of folklore, a bit of magical realism, a bit of mystery, and a wolf that you can’t help love and root for – or at least I couldn’t. I loved this one so much it made my favorite books of 2022 list.

Adult Spooky Season Books

We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry

We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry

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This is the absolute weirdest book I’ve ever read. And if you were ever a high school athlete (bonus points if you, like me, played field hockey), and/or you have nostalgia for the 80s, it’s worth a try. It is about a field hockey team at a Massachusetts high school in the 80s, and the schemes they engage in to go from terrible to the top. There are some supernatural elements and sometimes you will have to just go with what’s happening in the plot; but you will likely laugh aloud, and I’ll bet you’ve never read anything like this.

The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle

The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle

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If zany isn’t your style, but you can handle some supernatural elements, this may be for you. The main character arrives at her 30th birthday dinner to find her best friend and three other guests from her past – and Audrey Hepburn. The story moves back and forth in time from the dinner party to significant moments with the guests in the past to give the reader a window into the main character’s life and an understanding of why all of these guests are there.

Gold Diggers by Sanjena Sathian

Gold Diggers by Sanjena Sathian

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This is an adult novel where everything is realistic except for one element of magical realism. The story is about Neil and Anita, Indian-American teenagers growing up in the south, navigating coming of age as the children of immigrants. Except Anita’s mother’s family has passed down the ability to make a potion, from gold, that enhances your life outcomes. This one is funny and heartbreaking.

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Cordóva

The Inheritance of Orquidea Divina by Zoraida Cordova

Print    Audio

This is basically a grown up version of Encanto, without the Disney-fication; there’s darkness and tragedy here. The story is about the Montoya family and flips back and forth between the present lives of the family and the matriarch’s past as the family learns the origin of the matriarch’s power and determines how to move forward after her death.

The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas

The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas

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I think of this book as The Time Traveler’s Wife and anything by Blake Crouch had a baby. A group of women scientists in the mid-1900s develop the technology to time travel, but it goes wrong for one of them. The other three go on to build a company that dominates the time travel industry, and the past comes back to haunt them. Full disclosure: I do not understand the rules of time travel. But I can suspend my disbelief in order to enjoy a good story. You must be able to do that for this one. There is a lot of back and forth and people telling people things in the future and the past to impact the future and the past and it doesn’t make sense if you think too hard about it, so you just have to go with it.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning I get a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Even if you don’t use the links, I highly recommend checking out Bookshop.org and Libro.fm for access to tons of titles while still supporting an indie bookstore.

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