As we start to see the beautiful changing colors of the leaves and smell that crisp autumn air, the desire to curl up in a cozy sweater with a warm drink in hand becomes ever so appealing. Light a candle, grab a pumpkin spice latte, and cozy up with the books that made our fall reading list.
1. How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones
Cherie Jones’s debut novel, How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House, is a compelling, intense and unflinching story about four people living in Baxter’s Beach, Barbados. To travelers, it may seem like paradise, but for these characters with interconnected lives, it is a place where they struggle to escape the legacy of violence, hardship and generational trauma. Like many girls in the community, Lala is told the cautionary tale of the one-armed sister by her grandma. It is a story told to girls who go into Baxter’s Tunnels and ignore their mothers’ warnings. Lala’s husband, along with two other people, are all drawn together by a murder; they get caught up in the crime and forced into the Tunnels. If you’re looking for a page-turner and a tale that will grip your attention, this is the story for you!
2. Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney
This New York Times bestseller is another thrilling book by Alice Feeney. Rock Paper Scissors’ several twists keep you guessing what exactly will happen to our narrators, Amelia and Adam, a couple whose marriage has been on the rocks for a very long time. When Amelia wins a weekend trip to a remote spot in the Scottish Highlands, she thinks this might be the thing to help their marriage out and let them reconnect. When they arrive at their destination during a snowstorm, they find a converted and isolated chapel. Things go from bad to worse, and during their weekend, Amelia shares letters with her husband that she wrote about every year of their ten-year marriage. There are ten years of secrets. And at this old and cold chapel they soon realize they aren’t alone and someone won’t let them go without playing a game of Rock Paper Scissors.
3. Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau
If you’re looking for a light-hearted, fun and memorable book that will keep you smiling, Mary Jane may be the book for you. In this coming-of-age story set in 1970s Baltimore, we follow fourteen-year-old Mary Jane. Mary goes from her straight-laced conservative family to working for an eccentric family as a nanny for the summer. She doesn’t realize that the psychiatrist she is working for has decided to take in a famous rock star to help him get clean, and his famous actress wife who tags along for moral support. It’ll be a life-changing and eye-opening summer for Mary Jane who realizes that not all families are like her own.
4. She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan
In She Who Became the Sun, two children are given their fates in this epic historical fiction. It is a fantasy story of power and destiny. A boy is given the fate of greatness and the girl, Zhu, is given the fate of nothingness in this re-imagined tale of the rise of the founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty. Zhu refuses to accept the fate given to her, especially after a bandit attacks her and her brother and leaves them orphans. She will do anything to survive and triumph under the harsh Mongol rule, and achieve the greatness she knows is hers for the taking.
5. Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian
Is there ever a time when you should trust a psychopath? Seven students, who are given scholarships to a school in Washington D.C., in exchange for their participation in a clinical study of their psychopathic habits, will ask themselves that very question in this exciting new novel, Never Saw Me Coming. The students’ diagnoses and inclusion in the study is kept confidential, but in return they must agree to wear smart watches that track their whereabouts and their moods. But when one of the students in the study is murdered, the group realizes there’s a killer out to get them, one by one. Could it be one of them or the professor with the shady past? Told through multiple points of views, this debut novel by Vera Kurian is a fast-paced thriller that will have you piecing the clues together and playing a game of elimination to discover who the true murderer is.
6. The Spectacular by Zoe Whittall
The Spectacular takes us on an intimate ride into the lives of three generations of women: eighty-three-year-old Ruth, who wants to return to her Turkish village; her fortysomething-year-old daughter, Carola, who was recently caught up in a sex scandal; and her twenty-two-year-old granddaughter, Missy, who is a cellist in an indie rock band. Each want to achieve real freedom and live an authentic and spectacular life, but Ruth knows it’s time for these strong women in her family to come together and find a way to understand each other. This provocative novel explores themes of family, romance, sexuality and gender, and reminds us the importance of choosing our own path and not following societal norms and expectations.
7. The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina: A Novel by Zoraida Córdova
The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina is a wondrous book by Zoraida Córdova. It is her first adult novel, and is filled with rich characters, family secrets, heartache and magic galore. The story follows the Montoyas as they search for the truth about their matriarch, Orquídea Divina, who leaves them an inheritance and many hidden secrets. Seven years after being blessed with many gifts passed down by their matriarch, her four descendants are being targeted by a mysterious figure determined to pick them off one by one. This magical book spans decades, countries and generations as we learn more about Orquídea’s life and the inheritance she left to her ancestors, who must unlock the mysteries and reclaim the power that is theirs.
8. The Bookseller’s Secret by Michelle Gable
The Bookseller’s Secret is the fictionalized story about real-life literary icon Nancy Mitford, who during WWII took over a London bookshop and became involved with a French resistance fighter. After being estranged from her husband, having her allowance cut, and giving up on her writing career, Nancy is desperate for the distraction and is eager to manage the Heywood Hills bookshop. But this officer encourages her to tell her truth, share her story and begin to write again. Eighty years later, a fan of Mitford’s reads through letters and interviews left behind by the famous author, and realizes there is a missing manuscript from that time in Mitford’s life. The story jumps between London during World War II and present times during the search for this missing manuscript, which reveals the connections between the past and present.
9. Fight Night by Miriam Toews
Fight Night is a witty, heartwarming novel filled with feisty, memorable characters that deeply love one another, and would fiercely fight for themselves and their family. Written from the point of view of a nine-year-old named Swiv, who has been suspended from school, and her lively grandma, Elvira, Fight Night follows three generations of women living together in Toronto. As Elvira’s health begins to fail, she and Swiv decide to take on a new project: writing letters to Swiv’s absent father. In these letters that show the love between mothers, grandmothers, daughters and granddaughters, Swiv details the antics of her grandma and her day-to-day life during the third term of her single mother’s pregnancy. It’s a touching story of love and a fight story on how to live life on your own terms.
10. The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes by Xio Axelrod
Antonia “Toni” Bennett always dreamed of escaping her small Pennsylvania town to follow her musical dreams. She had intended to do that with her best friend, Sebastian Quick, who was just a little older than Toni. But when he turned 18, Seb left her behind to pursue his own musical dreams. Years later, she unexpectedly runs into Seb, who is managing a female group she is auditioning for. Their encounter opens up old wounds, and she must decide to jump at this great opportunity or walk away from her childhood dream. The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes is an emotional story about following your dreams, finding your way in the world, and letting go of old hurts and resentments.
Grow Your Fall Reading List
Want more books to add to your fall reading list? We have more recommendations for you to check out in this blog post.