Book Recs: Spooky Season

It being October, and almost Halloween, clearly the time was perfect for a rec list that combines the best of the spooky season and LGBT rep. Now, full disclosure, I’m very easily spooked (ha) when it comes to these things (especially if I’m reading late at night) – although not as easily as Anna.

I’ve tried for variety in these recs, so it’s not going to be all horror (since I don’t read a whole lot of that, for the aforementioned reason), but anything that features something that you might see around All Hallows’ Eve/All Saint’s Day.

So have a scroll, and let me know what else you would rec!


Cemetery Boys


Aiden Thomas
Rep: Mexican-Cuban American gay trans mc, Colombian American gay li with ADHD(?), lesbian side character, trans side character

Why Should I Read It?

Did you think this book wouldn’t be the first book I thought of for this list? Well, you would be wrong. From the moment I decided to do this list, this book was on it. If you haven’t already read this one, have you been living under a rock? It’s only one of the best YA books of the year. And if you were put off by the paranormal-slash-mystery aspects of it? Well, it’s more of a romcom with paranomal-slash-mystery trappings, really.


The Route of Ice and Salt


José Luis Zárate, trans. by David Bowles
Rep: gay mc
CWs: internalised homophobia, homophobic violence

Why Should I Read It?

Firstly, this one technically is out. Only, it’s in Spanish. So. If you want the English translation, you may have to wait 3 more months (although it is on Netgalley right now). But, let me convince you why you want to read this one: it’s a gay imagining of Dracula’s voyage on the Demeter. We all know that vampirism can be a metaphor for being gay, but this deconstructs that idea beautifully. And it’s magnificently creepy while doing so.


Wolf Moon: the House on Bloom Street


Ceeley Mack
Rep: trans mc

Why Should I Read It?

As I said up top, this isn’t a rec list of solely horror, and here I also have for you a middle grade paranormal mystery. And, yes, it is as good as it sounds. You have werewolves and witches and wendigos and supposedly vengeful ghosts: honestly, what’s not to love about it.


Shallow Graves


Kali Wallace
Rep: biracial Chinese Scottish American bi mc, gay side character

Why Should I Read It?

Frankly, the fact that this book has been out for 4 whole years and doesn’t have even 3k ratings is a travesty. The mc comes back from the dead and goes around discovering (and killing) murderers, until she finds herself mixed up in a cult that wants to rid the world of paranormal beings (like her and, as she finds out, many others like her). It grabs you from page one and doesn’t let you go. And it’ll make you cry, if that’s your cup of tea.


The Animals at Lockwood Manor


Jane Healey
Rep: lesbian mcs

Why Should I Read It?

Next up is a gothic novel. The Animals at Lockwood Manor features all the staples of the genre, and some throwbacks to other famous works besides, and it is wonderfully creepy – creepy in the way that builds slowly, maybe you have a few bad feelings about something, but you can’t quite put your finger on it.


Yellow Jessamine


Caitlin Starling
Rep: lesbian mc
CWs: drug abuse, murder, gore

Why Should I Read It?

Imagine you’re in a small, seaside town. Everything seems idyllic, of course, but it’s not. For starters, you’re surrounded by an army, but then things start happening. A mysterious illness, a few murders, and behind everything, a cabal of powerful people who’ll do whatever it takes to remain powerful. And an unreliable narrator to top it all.


The Monster of Elendhaven


Jennifer Giesbrecht
Rep: mlm mcs
CWs: mentions of rape, murder, gore

Why Should I Read It?

Take most of what I said about Yellow Jessamine, but sprinkle in some healthy revenge, and a monster, and you get something like this book. Honestly, I almost feel like I have to rec these novellas in conjunction, because they are so similar in the kinds of vibes, and both so very good at creating those vibes. And the description in this one is to die for.


Meddling Kids


Edgar Cantero
Rep: Latina lesbian mc, wlw li

Why Should I Read It?

Moving on from what you may think of automatically when you think of horror as a genre, my next rec is a Scooby Doo pastiche. Now, you might be thinking why, but, unlike the show it riffs off, this is truly paranormal, with an eldritch horror villain, and not merely a person in a mask. Oh, and the Fred equivalent character is in fact a ghost that only the Shaggy equivalent can see and talk to.


A Light Amongst Shadows


Kelley York & Rowan Altwood
Rep: gay mc, bi li with depression & drug addiction
CWs: past child sexual abuse, drug abuse, torture, murder

Why Should I Read It?

Not only is A Light Amongst Shadows an excellent mystery, featuring disappearances at a boys’ boarding school and ghostly figures, it also scared the living daylights out of me. The descriptions of the ghosts and the tension built up in those scenes freaked me out like I haven’t been freaked out by a book since I read Unrest by Michelle Harrison and spent weeks imagining a ghost crawling up the foot of my bed. Fun times.


The Bright Lands


John Fram
Rep: gay mc & side characters
CWs: homophobia, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, past rape, past child pornography, child abuse, statutory rape

Why Should I Read It?

You may look at this book and ask why am I reccing you what seems to be a mystery book, on a spooky season rec list. Well, I don’t want to spoil things for you, but this isn’t just a mystery book. It’s on my “small town, weird vibes” shelf for a very good (and very creepy) reason.


And finally, as a treat, a couple of horror novelettes you can read for free on Tordotcom!

Fabulous Beasts by Priya Sharma
Rep: wlw mc
CWs: sexual abuse, incest, rape

A Human Stain by Kelly Robson
Rep: lesbian mc, gay side character


What would you rec?

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4 Replies to “Book Recs: Spooky Season”

  1. I am right there with you on Shallow Graves! WHY don’t more people love this?? I truly don’t understand. I have never related with a character more than when the MC was all, “If there were dragons, this would’ve been worth it.” LIKE YES! THANK YOU! SAME!

    Liked by 1 person

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