Being Canadian, there is a pretty fine line sometimes between fall and winter. Lately, it’s been so cold here that it’s already starting to feel like winter! There’s a good chance we will be getting a bit of snow by the end of this week. I tend to look for autumn vibes closer to September or October, but I still found this week’s prompt a very interesting one. It was surprisingly hard to find books on my TBR that gave me autumn vibes, somehow! When I’ve done this prompt in the past, I had an abundance of books that had fall leaves or reddish-orange covers, but somehow, that hasn’t been so common anymore. When I think of autumn vibes, I tend to think of falling leaves or Halloween, and sometimes the more skeletal trees that have lost all their leaves.
Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
1) Speak: The Graphic Novel by Laurie Halse Anderson, illustrated by Emily Carroll
I originally read Speak only once, when I was in my early teens, and to be honest, I don’t think I quite “got” it at the time. I understood what the story was about and why it was such an important one, but I just didn’t seem to find it as powerful as everyone else seemed to. There are actually a handful of books that I read around this time that I’d love to give another chance, even though I’m now outside the target age group. I’ve been meaning to give the book another chance, and I think the graphic novel version might be an interesting way to approach it. For those who don’t know, Speak is about a high school freshman named Melinda who has become an outcast after calling the police to break up a party she was at, where something horrible happened. Melinda stops speaking, unable to tell anyone what happened and with no one willing to listen anyway. Through her art project, she is finally able to face what happened that night. I’m especially intrigued by this one because I really like Emily Carroll’s illustration style, which I think will be a great fit for this story. This one gives me autumn vibes because of the bare tree on the cover, and also because it takes place around the start of the school year.
2) Stolen Things by R.H. Herron
I first discovered this book back in April while browsing for thrillers, and it gave me autumn vibes because of the reddish leaves that make up the majority of the cover. It is about a 911 dispatcher named Laurie who is shocked to receive a call from her own daughter, Jojo, who has somehow ended up drugged and disoriented in the home of a professional football player. Jojo does not remember how she got there, nor does she know what happened to the football player’s friend, whose body is discovered in the house, or her own friend, Harper, who was with her earlier in the evening. Jojo delves into Harper’s social media to find out where she might be, and uncovers shocking secrets that shake everything she knows about her friend and even about the police department itself. She soon realizes that it is down to her and Laurie to find out where Harper is. As I mentioned when I first found this book, I find the synopsis a bit confusing because it starts out as if Laurie will be the main character, but the majority of the synopsis focuses on Jojo instead. I’m curious to try this one and figure out how it all fits together.
3) Small Spaces by Katherine Arden
This one reminds me of autumn both in the Halloween sense, and because of the school bus on the cover, which reminds me of the start of school in the fall. This is a middle grade book about an 11-year-old named Ollie who steals a book from a woman who is trying to throw it into the water. As she starts to read it, she discovers a story about a girl named Beth who had two brothers, and it also involves a deal made with a creepy “smiling man” who grants a wish, but at a steep price. Ollie is fascinated by the story, and is surprised to discover the graves of Beth and her family while on a school trip, causing her to wonder if the “smiling man” could be real. When their school bus breaks down, the children are left with the driver while the teacher goes for help, and the driver warns them to get out before night falls, and keep to small places. Along with two classmates, Ollie decides to heed the warning and they head out into the creepy woods. As a middle grade book, I doubt it will be too scary, but I tend to find anything set in the woods tends to give autumn vibes, and especially when it has Halloween-ish elements like this book.
4) In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
I’ve been meaning to read this one since 2016, but I somehow keep putting it off! Technically, I find the cover a bit more wintry than autumn, but the title reminds me of that “In a Dark, Dark Room” story that I read back in elementary school. I’ve read two of Ruth Ware’s books so far and really enjoyed them both, and The Turn of the Key is very high on my list for 2020. This book is her 2015 debut, about a woman named Nora who walked out of school one day and never returned, and has not seen her classmate/friend Clare in ten years. When Nora suddenly receives an invitation to Clare’s hen night, a huge surprise considering they’ve lost all contact, she thinks it might be a chance to put their past behind her. Nora is invited to a creepy house in the English countryside, and a couple of days after getting there, she wakes up with no memory of what happened, and finds herself wondering “What have I done?” as she tries to piece together what happened, which also means confronting her past. I have yet to find a Ruth Ware book that I truly love so far. Both have been solid 4-star reads for me, which is definitely strong enough to continue trying her books, but it also means it’s not so surprising that I keep putting this one off.
5) Someone We Know by Shari Lapena
I read The Couple Next Door a couple of years ago because I was very intrigued by the premise, loosely based on the Madeleine McCann case, but ended up not loving it as much as I’d expected. Like Ruth Ware, this was a solid 4 stars but I had expected more. Since then, I’ve added all of her other releases to my TBR, and I’m hoping to love them! This one is her most recent release, from the end of July 2019, which is about a teenager who has been sneaking into people’s houses and accessing their computers to discover and sometimes even share their secrets. After two anonymous letters are sent to people in the community about the hacker, tensions mount as everyone tries to figure out who the suspect could be, especially after a woman down the street is found dead. I have heard so many comparisons of Shari Lapena to a modern Agatha Christie recently, and I’m very intrigued to see if that could be true. I wouldn’t think so based on The Couple Next Door alone, but the rest of her books definitely sound like they have potential to be those kinds of mysteries. This sounds like exactly the kind of thriller I tend to like, and all the trees on the cover gave me autumn vibes somehow, even if they aren’t autumn colours.
6) Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore
This book has somehow jumped to the top of my priority list for 2020, which is a bit of a surprise considering I didn’t love When The Moon Was Ours as much as I thought I would. To be honest, I think the absolutely stunning cover art is a huge part of the appeal of this book for me. Not only does it have the forest and vines to give a bit of an autumn vibe, but the colour scheme is also very fall-like to me. This book is about a young woman named Lavinia, who was suspected of witchcraft along with her family in 1518 after a strange illness sweeps through the town, forcing her to do whatever she could do save herself. Five hundred years later, a pair of red shoes seal themselves to Rosella Oliva’s feet, forcing her to uncontrollably dance, and leading her to a boy named Emil, whose family was blamed for the fever that happened centuries ago which sparked the witchcraft rumours. I think this may be the first time I fully read the synopsis in detail, and it immediately called to mind the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer! I really liked Anna-Marie McLemore’s writing, but found the previous book of hers that I’d read a bit confusing. I’m hoping to love this one even more!
7) You Belong To Me by Mark Tilbury
This is another thriller that I discovered earlier this year, which I thought had autumn vibes because of the red leaves on the cover. In general, I tend to find thrillers make great autumn books because between Halloween and the generally colder and darker weather, they just seem to fit. Like many thrillers, the synopsis for this one is pretty vague, but I was able to find a bit more detail thanks to some reviewers, luckily without spoilers. Ten years ago, a girl named Ellie Hutton disappeared while walking home from school near the unused railway tracks, and police have never found her. Danny Sheppard was a high school senior when this happened, and he and his friends spend years trying to put it behind them, even though they are the only ones who know what really happened. When another girl now goes missing under very similar circumstances, Danny decides to bring his friends back together to help find this girl and prevent history from repeating itself, hoping to correct their mistakes in the past in the process. It bugs me a bit when the synopsis is so vague since it makes it so hard to judge whether I’d actually be interested, but this book sounds very good! It has received very little attention so far on Goodreads, despite being out since February, but it it seems like an intriguing thriller, and one that definitely gives me autumn vibes.
8) Bring Her Home by David Bell
David Bell is another one of those authors that I keep adding to my TBR despite the fact that I haven’t tried any of his books yet. This one gave me the strongest autumn vibes because of the blowing leaves and the forest on the cover. It is about a man named Bill, whose 15-year-old daughter Summer has disappeared, along with her best friend, about a year and a half after the death of his wife. When the girls are found days later, Summer is beaten beyond recognition and barely alive, while her friend is pronounced dead at the scene. The only word that Summer is able to speak is “no,” and Bill begins to wonder what happened to her, and eventually if this girl is his daughter at all. As Bill begins to discover more secrets about his daughter’s life, he realizes that he may not be prepared for what he learns. I haven’t put this author on my priority list for next year yet, but I’m starting to think that I probably should. I’ve already bought two of his other books from Book Outlet, and all of his books sound so intriguing. I think part of the reason I keep putting his books off is because it’s not an author I hear about quite as much as many of the others I’ve decided to prioritize, but it’s definitely a name to consider adding to my list.
9) All the Bad Apples by Moira Fowley-Doyle
All of Moira Fowley-Doyle’s books technically give me autumn vibes, but I chose this one because it is her most recent release. I’d actually originally planned to use the cover art that shows a girl with bright red hair, but I like this one a bit better. It has autumn vibes because of the colour scheme, and the skulls and partly decayed trees remind me of Halloween. This book is about a girl named Deena whose sister Mandy has disappeared and is presumed dead, although Deena refuses to believe that it is true. When letters start arriving from Mandy claiming that their family’s difficult history is actually a curse that has been passed down through generations that she has gone searching for, Deena decides that she must find her and discover her family’s history to break the curse. This book has received absolutely rave reviews from so many of the reviewers I follow, and by far the highest average rating of her three books on Goodreads, although based on far fewer reviews so far. I’d originally earmarked Spellbook of the Lost and Found to try next year, but now I’m thinking I might read this book either in addition, or maybe instead of that one.
10) The Missing Season by Gillian French
I could have sworn I’d mentioned this one before, but apparently I haven’t (at least, according to a search on my blog). This book is set in the fall, so it it’s an obvious one to give autumn vibes. It is set in a town called Pender where kids tend to go missing or have been found dead around Halloween. Adults tend to write these incidents off as tragedies, but the children of the town believe it is because of a monster in the marshes, known as the Mumbler. When Clara moves to this town, her new friends are quick to warn her of the monster, but she isn’t sure she believes it. As Halloween approaches, it gets harder to ignore the growing tensions in the town and the feeling that there may be a real danger in Pender. I don’t read YA thrillers very often because I rarely find them as engaging as adult thrillers, but this one sounds very interesting. I’m a bit on the fence about it since the average rating on Goodreads is quite low, albeit based on very few ratings overall. I think this one will be worth a try, but I wouldn’t say it’s high priority for me right now.
My section of Canada is currently snowy, so I understand your fine line between Fall and Winter! Perfect time to cozy in with some books. The RH Herron book is one that I’m hoping to pick up at some point. I’m interested to see how she’s transitioned toward thriller writing 😀
All of these books seem very autumn-ish. I’m particularly curious about Small Spaces.
Great picks! I love the autumn vibes. Stolen Things is certainly a highlight for me. Also, I used to love Speak, but I’m afraid of reading it nowadays for one reason or another. And, ah! I have an ARC of Dark and Deepest Red and I’ve been toying with bumping it up on my TBR a little more. It sounds so brilliant.
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We have the same problem here in Texas. The past few years it hasn’t reached colder temperatures until December, but it’s currently 38 degrees here today. All of your choices sound (and look) perfect for this time of year!