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Fall Book Recommendations

by Shobha Johnsamuel (‘25) 

Fall is a time for apple picking, scary movies, warm sweaters and, if you’re like me, sitting down with a good book. If you want to start reading or are interested in finding more reading material, here are some books I’d recommend for fall or honestly, any time at all. I personally enjoyed all of these books and included some of my favorite quotes. Hopefully you find something that piques your interest.

AN ENCHANTMENT OF RAVENS BY MAGARET ROGERSON – FANTASY An Enchantment of Ravens: 9781481497589: Rogerson, Margaret: Books

In a world where there is a division between humans and immortal creatures called fair folk, Isobel finds herself caught in the middle of an adventure she had never imagined. Isobel works as a portrait painter for the fair folk. However, instead of paying in money, the fair folk pay in enchantments. These enchantments are not straightforward and often lead to worse consequences instead of bountiful magic. When Isobel has to paint a portrait of a royal fair folk named Rook, she makes a mistake that could lead to her death. She paints Rook with human sorrow in his eyes, which could cost him his throne and his life. Now, Rook and Isobel embark on a dangerous journey to right this wrong and keep their lives in a world of dangerous magic where you can trust no one. 

If your idea of autumn is cool weather, the leaves shifting color, and the overall change of the seasons, then you will love the way fall is described in this book. The world in this book is divided into four kingdoms based on the four seasons, with one of the main characters, Rook, being from the fall kingdom. An Enchantment of Ravens reads like a fairytale with lyrical writing and imagery that captures the beauty of fall. There’s a really fun dynamic between Isobel and Rook, since they are so different and the overall world-building in this story is really creative. It’s a relatively short and fast-paced book, so people who are interested in trying out fantasy or just want a quick read would enjoy this.

“But isn’t absurdity part of being human? We aren’t ageless creatures who watch centuries pass from afar. Our worlds are small, our lives are short, and we can only bleed a little before we fall.”

“We were in the autumnlands.

Dim as it was, the forest glowed. The golden leaves flashing by blazed like sparks caught in the updraft of a fire. A scarlet carpet unrolled before us, rich and flawless as velvet.”

“I was alive in a way I never had been before, in a world that no longer felt stale but instead crackled with breathless promise.”

― Margaret Rogerson, An Enchantment of Ravens



If We Were Villains: A Novel: Rio, M. L.: 9781250095282: Books

Oliver Marks is an actor. At an elite art school, he studies Shakespeare with a small group of talented actors who are his best friends. All of the actors have well-defined roles that they’ve kept since freshman year. Clean lines are drawn between hero and villain and main characters versus supporting roles. But as they all enter their senior year, the roles switch. The tragedy that was supposed to stay on stage seeps into real life and one day, one of them is found dead. After ten years in prison, Oliver decides to reveal what happened his senior year of college. As he reminisces on the past, the dark story finally comes to light.

If dark academia comes to mind when you think of fall, this book is for you. This twisted tale is one of my all-time favorites. I was absolutely invested in the lives of this ensemble of characters and it was definitely a hard book to put down. Seeing the story shift from a lighthearted group of actors and friends to a story of murder and lies was enthralling. The writing of the book was amazing as well. I found it difficult to limit myself to only three quotes. The story is interspersed with Shakespeare and you get to see the shift in perspectives of Oliver from the present and Oliver from the past. If you enjoyed The Secret History by Donna Tarttyou will definitely want to pick up this book.

“But that is how a tragedy like ours or King Lear breaks your heart—by making you believe that the ending might still be happy, until the very last minute.”

“The thing about Shakespeare is, he’s so eloquent… he speaks the unspeakable. He turns grief and triumph and rapture and rage into words, into something we can understand. He renders the whole mystery of humanity comprehensible.”

“We’re only ever playing fifty percent of a character. The rest is us, and we’re afraid to show people who we really are. We’re afraid of looking foolish if we reveal the full force of our emotions.”

― M.L. Rio, If We Were Villains 

NINTH HOUSE BY LEIGH BARDUGO – PARANORMAL FANTASY Ninth House (Alex Stern, 1): 9781250313072: Bardugo, Leigh: Books

Alex has a special talent: she can see ghosts. And they are everywhere. Turns out, this ability makes Alex an asset to the secret societies at Yale who dabble in magic and the macabre. She’s at the lowest point in her life when she receives an offer to go to Yale on a full ride. Confused and helpless, she accepts, leading to a world full of mystery. Alex, just trying to survive, gets caught up in a strange disappearance as well as a murder mystery. Overwhelmed and barely hanging on by a thread, Alex seeks to find the truth about what’s going on, falling deeper into the strange magic of this new world that only a few can see. 

Falling into the dark academia aesthetic, this novel includes a twist by adding fantasy elements. With ghosts, murder mysteries, and academia revolving around the ancient, this book creates a wonderfully gothic tone. The characters are interesting and have a lot of depth, especially Alex, who is one of my all-time favorite characters. The plot is mysterious and absorbing, and I was hooked the whole way through. Ninth House is the first book of an ongoing series and is in the works to become a TV show, so be sure to pick up the book before it comes out! 

“Alex watched in the mirror as her history spilled over her skin. The scars she had chosen for herself. We are the shepherds. The time for that was done. Better to be a rattler. Better to be a jackal.”

“Mors irrumat omnia. Death fucks us all.”

“This was why he had done it, not because of guilt or pride but because this was the moment he’d been waiting for: the chance to show someone else wonder, to watch them realize that they had not been lied to, that the world they’d been promised as children was not something that had to be abandoned…that everything was full of mystery.”

― Leigh Bardugo, Ninth House


A Monster Calls - Wikipedia

Since his mother has gotten sick, Connor’s life has felt derailed. Although he feels alone already, the kids at school bully him enough to isolate him further. Not only that, he is plagued by the same nightmare every night. One night, he wakes to a monster at his window. The monster doesn’t try to hurt Connor. Instead, he tells Connor a series of stories and says that he requires a story in return. Connor’s not scared of the monster. He is scared of what it seeks from him. The truth of his nightmares which is too shameful to admit.

This book is not simply a scary story about a monster. It’s deeper and full of the things we fear everyday, not just on Halloween. Patrick Ness weaves a thought- provoking tale and you can’t help but become easily invested in Connor’s life. A Monster Calls is a short, fast paced book and a great one to pick up this time of year. Anyone, whether you’re just getting into reading or are an avid bibliophile, will really find this book is worth reading. 

“Your mind will believe comforting lies while also knowing the painful truths that make those lies necessary. And your mind will punish you for believing both.”

Stories are the wildest things of all, the monster rumbled. Stories chase and bite and hunt.

But what is a dream, Conor O’Malley? the monster said, bending down so it’s face was close to Conor’s. Who is to say that it is not everything else that is the dream?

― Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls


When acts of violence manifest into physical monsters, Verity becomes a city split in two. Kate Harker strives to be as strong and feared as her father, who runs one side of a divided city by controlling monsters. August Flynn is a monster who wants nothing more than to be human and is the son of Henry Flynn, who has a task force made to protect people and dispose of monsters on the other side of the city. As August and Kate’s lives cross paths, they have to decide for themselves what really makes a monster while trying to find safety in a city where they have known anything but. This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity Book 1) eBook : Schwab, Victoria: Kindle Store

When I was trying to find fall recommendations, I knew I had to include something by Victoria Schwabb. She writes some of the most amazing stories, combining themes of hope and friendship with topics of morality and monsters. Conceptually, this was one of the most unique series I’ve ever read. Acts of violence become actual monsters with their own individualized and intricate traits. The characters are dimensional and complicated, the plot is arresting, and the writing is hauntingly beautiful. Full of morally gray characters, monsters, and a plot driven by both characters and action, this book is a great option to read in the fall.

“She cracked a smile. “So what’s your poison?”

He sighed dramatically, and let the truth tumble off his tongue. “Life.”

“Ah,” she said ruefully. “That’ll kill you.”

“Even if surviving wasn’t simple, or easy, or fair.

Even if he could never be human.

He wanted the chance to matter.

He wanted to live.”

― Victoria Schwab, This Savage Song

“People were messy. They were defined not only by what they’d done, but by what they would have done, under different circumstances, molded as much by their regrets as their actions, choices they stood by and those they wished they could undo. Of course, there was no going back – time only moved forward – but people could change.

For worse.

And for better.

It wasn’t easy. The world was complicated. Life was hard. And so often, living hurt. So make it worth the pain.”

― Victoria Schwab, Our Dark Duet


Dorian Gray is the picture of youth and beauty. The two characteristics that are so fleeting, but are worth everything in society. At least, that’s how Dorian’s friend Henry Wotton sees it. When Dorian gets his portrait painted by his friend Basil Hallward, Henry’s views sink in and he makes a wish: that he may remain young and beautiful forever and that the portrait would age instead. When he realizes his wish has come true, the once virtuous and innocent boy, new to society and prone to influence, begins his treacherous downfall.

I’m not quick to reach for classics. The writing style usually doesn’t appeal to me and the way certain subjects are discussed, that although were normal for a specific time period, turns me away. However, I did end up really enjoying this book. The writing wasn’t difficult to understand or redundant but actually quite beautiful. There are still so many parts of this book I think about after reading either for the prose or for the plot itself. Watching Dorian turn from innocent to manipulative and the way things escalate have a bit of a haunting effect. The Picture of Dorian Gray is a wonderful gothic classic that’s perfect for the fall. Anyone interested in trying to read more classics should give this book a try.

“What of Art?

-It is a malady.


-An Illusion.


-The fashionable substitute for Belief.

–You are a sceptic.

-Never! Scepticism is the beginning of Faith.

–What are you?

-To define is to limit.”

“Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing.”

“You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit.”

― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

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