The weather is cooling, the leaves are turning and something is in the air. Halloween is creeping closer, and if you’re anything like me, this means you want to curl up under a blanket with a mug of tea and a good book. If you need some suggestions, here are three books that are perfect for your October reading:
“If We Were Villains” by M. L. Rio
Did someone say dark academia? As one of seven senior college students in an elite Shakespearian theatre program, Oliver Marks plays the extra onstage and off. But things go awry when Oliver and his friends must convince the police that they are not responsible for the death of one of their classmates. Filled with Shakespeare references and set on a gothic college campus, it has the perfect dark vibes for your Halloween reading.
Trigger Warnings: blood, death, depression, drug overdose, drug and alcohol use, eating disorder, homophobia, injury, murder, physical abuse, partner abuse, PTSD, racial slur, self harm, slut shaming, substance abuse, mentions of suicide, transphobic comment, violence
“The Witch Haven” by Sasha Peyton Smith
It’s 1911 New York and Frances Hallowell is barely making it by as a seamstress, spending all her free time trying to get the police to investigate her brother’s death. When she’s attacked by a man and a mysterious force sends her scissors into his neck, Frances is whisked off by two strange women to Haxahaven Academy: a school for young witches. But there is more to the magical world than meets the eye, and Frances and her new friends will encounter more than they bargained for. I admittedly had some issues with the places the plot went, but I did absolutely love the writing and the worldbuilding. So I think it is an excellent choice for a magical October read.
Trigger warnings: grief, death of a close family member, death, attempted sexual assault, blood, death, murder, stabbing, vomiting, drowning, mentions of drowning, absentee parents, mentions of asylums, mutilation of corpses, allusions to child abuse, discussions of Native American boarding schools, underage drinking and smoking, violence
“Mexican Gothic” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
When Noemí’s father receives a frantic letter from her recently-married cousin, he sends Noemí to check on her. What she finds is her very unwell cousin held hostage by her new husband and his questionable family in their creepy house. Set in the 1950s in a classically gothic manor house, “Mexican Gothic” is sure to send a shiver down your spine and leave you thinking about it for days.
Trigger warnings: attempted rape, cannibalism, child birth, drugging, eugenics, fire, forced marriage, violence and gore, hallucinations, incest, mind control, mentions of miscarriage, murder, racism, suicide, live burial, gaslighting
Other books that may be of interest: “Cemetery Boys” by Aiden Thomas, “Down Comes the Night” by Alison Saft, “The Dead and the Dark” by Courtney Gould, “This Savage Song” by Victoria Schwab and “Ace of Spades” by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé