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10 More Spooky Reads for Your Fall Reading List

Updated: Mar 16, 2020

Stephen and Owen King's Sleeping Beauties - "We could go on like this forever. He said, she said. The oldest story in the universe." Stephen King is consistently one of my favorite authors--his storytelling ability never fails. His recent novel with his son Owen King falls solidly within his oeuvre. Real-world issues combine with fantastical problems (in this case, women are falling asleep only to be cocooned in silky webs). The Kings take on feminism, the male tendency to violence, racism, mass incarceration, police shootings . . . and yet it's all wrapped up in a small town that's a microcosm of our larger society and its issues. As always, I appreciate the flawed heroes and totally vile villains who make up the Kings' large cast of characters. Fabulous, entrancing fantasy/horror novel. (Jen)

Ambelin Kwaymullina and Ezekiel Kwaymullina's The Things She's Seen"In telling this tale, we were informed by two sets of stories that are the inheritance of Aboriginal peoples. . . . Both sets of stories inform our existences and, thus, our storytelling. The ancient tales of Aboriginal nations of Australia tell of an animate world, where everything lives" ("Author's Note," Ambelin and Ezekiel Kwaymullina). I had an urge to quote the entire Author's Note here but did restrain myself. I encourage you, though, to pick up this book immediately and not to skip the Note, which offers an enriching perspective on the stories behind the novel. It centers on two narrators: teenage Beth accompanies her father on his investigation into a fire that resulted in one man's death. The only catch? Beth is dead. Her recent death has left her single father alone and nearly unable to function. The second narrator is Catching, one of the children who survived the fire and who shares her tale, which is rife with Aboriginal stories, in verse. As the two narratives twine together, the truth behind the mysterious death becomes distressingly clear. This gorgeous, haunting, hopeful novel is a must read! (Thanks to Ashley for loaning it to me. She picked up this ARC on our recent trip to the NoVa Teen Book Festival.) (Jen)​

Helen Phillips's The Need - SOME SPOILERS AHEAD! Have you ever frozen in a quiet home, convinced that you've heard footsteps in another room? or someone creeping in your hallway? You're almost POSITIVE that you're imagining things. But there's always that chance . . . Helen Phillips's The Need gave me SUCH Dark Matter vibes. It was less science centered than Blake Crouch's novel but asked similar questions about how unique each of us really is, what we would do if driven by desperate circumstances to fight for the lives and families we've built. In The Need, Molly is a paleobotanist and mother. In her work life, she is working with her partners both to uncover plant fossils and to puzzle out a set of slightly "off" discoveries. At her home, she and her husband David--who often has to travel for work--are raising their children, four-year-old Viv and infant Ben. She is also fighting an overwhelming anxiety that causes her to see and hear threats in her home that are PROBABLY imaginary. Probably. I raced through The Need, completely absorbed by its questions about identity, motherhood, and gratitude, all wrapped in an engaging mystery and a world just on the other side of fantasy. Perfect, weird, suspense novel with an ending that made me flip back to re-read it. (Jen)

Sarah Pinborough's Behind Her Eyes - I can TOTALLY see why Stephen King blurbed Sarah Pinborough's Behind Her Eyes. The best things about this book are spoilerific, but I'll just say that it's a *patient* suspense novel. The way she builds her alternating protagonists, Adele and Louise, is brilliant, demonstrating the revelations of each as the reader comes to understand what's going on in the background. (Jen)

Riley Sager's Lock Every Door - What a beach read! Riley Sager's Lock Every Door is SUCH a page turner. Focusing on twenty-something Jude, who lands an amazing job as an apartment sitter in the famous New York building the Bartholomew, the novel begins quickly and maintains its pace through every page. Sager excels at building suspense and playing with readers' expectations without cheating. I think this is the strongest of Sager's three novels--each has been better than the last. (Jen)

Other Recommendations

Steve Cavanagh's Thirteen

Alice Hoffman's Practical Magic

Karen McManus's Two Can Keep a Secret

Gin Phillips's Fierce Kingdom

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