Critics picks: Hadley’s fall book recommendations

The thought of fall may invoke a chill in your bones. However, it also brings with it the image of comfortably sitting next to a warm fire, watching the leaves rain down, and cozying up with a good book. Some novels were meant to be read this season, based on both their ambiance and the time of year they take place.  

These are five must read novels to commemorate autumn’s arrival. 

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky is set in the early 90s, following 14 year-old Charlie as he navigates high school, relationships, and family. Most importantly, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” paints an accurate depiction of anxiety and depression, and it strives to show readers that they are not alone in their mental struggles. Not only does a majority of the book take place in the fall/winter, but a recurring event in the novel is Charlie’s local production of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” that his friends perform in every week, making the book incredibly fitting for fall reading.  

“Last Night at the Telegraph Club” by Malinda Lo is a historical fiction novel that takes place in San Francisco’s Chinatown during the Red-Scare. Lily Hu is a 17-year-old with big dreams of becoming an astronomer, but she is also dealing with many personal problems. Not only is she coming to terms with her sexuality during a time when same-sex relationships are frowned upon, but she also is facing all the hardships that come with being Chinese American during the 1950s. In “Last Night at the Telegraph Club,” Lo crafts a beautiful story that captures what it is like to be an LGBTQ+ woman of color. The novel starts at the beginning of Lily’s senior year, which aligns well with the current autumn season. 

“Legendborn” by Tracy Deonn is an urban fantasy that weaves together Arthurian legend and southern Black culture. Bree Matthews begins a pre-college program and shortly after gets swept into a world of demons and magic, all thanks to a mysterious society- the Legendborn, who claim to have descended from King Arthur and his knights. When Bree discovers that magic was at play the night of her mother’s death, she decides to infiltrate the society and uncover what really happened that fateful day. “Legendborn” chronicles Bree’s experiences as a Black woman in a predominately white institution and her acclimation to a world of magic. A 500-page fantasy book set in the fall, this novel is a perfect read for cozying up and taking a day to relax when the weather gets colder. 

“Cemetery Boys” by Aiden Thomas is a paranormal coming-of-age novel about a ritual gone wrong. In an attempt to prove to his magical family that he is a brujo (wizard) and not a bruja (witch), transgender teen Yadriel Vélez Flores accidentally summons the ghost of his school’s residential bad boy, Julian Diaz. Yadriel now owes it to Julian to help him tie his loose ends and deliver the news of his death to his friends and family, but he also must keep Julian’s existence a secret from his own relatives. The situation gets even more complicated as the boys begin to develop feelings for each other. A story of love, friendship, and acceptance, “Cemetery Boys” takes place around Día de Los Muertos, which is celebrated from Nov. 1 through Nov. 2. Reading it is a great way to learn more about this culturally significant Mexican holiday! 

“The Inheritance Games” is a mystery novel following teenager Avery Grambs, who is left with almost the entire fortune of the late Tobias Hawthorne, a billionaire she has never even heard of. Now a billionaire herself and the newest resident of the Hawthorne family home, Avery makes it her mission to answer the question everyone keeps asking: Why her? To do this, Avery, with the help of some new friends, must crack the puzzles and riddles that Hawthorne left behind for her, but vengeful family members do whatever they can to prevent her success. “The Inheritance Games” is reminiscent of the beloved mystery movie “Knives Out,” and the novel is a crucial fall read for all those who believe mysteries & autumn go hand in hand. 

Happy fall reading!