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5 Book Recs That’ll Make for a Cozy Fall

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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Mizzou chapter.

Mizzou’s been transformed by yellow leaves and cooler weather, meaning fall has officially arrived on campus. To celebrate the change in seasons and enjoy the last bits of Halloween spirit, here’s our top five picks for bone-chilling books that will keep you hooked. 

The Girls by emma Cline

Written by Emma Cline, “The Girls” is a mystery set in the Californian summers of the 1960s. Told in dual-timelines, the story follows Evie Boyd in the summer of 1969 and the present-day. In 1969, a 14-year-old Boyd meets a group of hypnotic girls from “the ranch,” a cult-like group that will soon become Boyd’s home. In the present day, Boyd reflects on the events of that fateful summer, and how the long, carefree days of summer turned sinister.

“The Girls” is loosely based on the Charles Manson cult and ensuing social fascination with the members. Through the eyes of Boyd, readers are thrust into the world of never-ending summers, obsession and the tickling feeling that things aren’t always what they seem.

For a full synopsis of “The Girls,” click here

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

A story of a journalist, missing girls and a homecoming that heroine Camille Preaker doesn’t want. When Preaker is sent back to her hometown to cover the disappearance and murder of two girls, it becomes apparent that the greatest danger to Preaker isn’t the killer, but what resides in her childhood home. 

Faced with the challenge of living with her hypochondriac mother, childlike teenage sister and being back in a town she wanted to leave behind, Preaker finds herself being haunted by old ghosts. In this thriller, Flynn’s sharp writing takes readers through a story that proves the danger is sometimes closer to home than one might think. 

For a full synopsis of “Sharp Objects,” click here.

Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin

At 16, Tessa Cartwright became the single surviving Black-Eyed Susan. Written by Texas native Julia Heaberlin, “Black-Eyed Susans” tells the story of one of the four Black-Eyed Susans, a nickname given to the victims of a killer. Tessa’s testimony from the fateful night of the killings puts a man on death row, but now, over 14 years later, Tessa’s convinced the killer is still at large.

In an expertly painted Texan scene and switching timelines, readers are taken along as Tessa races the clock to unravel what really happened that night and put the right man behind bars before it’s too late.

For a full synopsis of the psychological thriller “Black-Eyed Susans,” click here.

Bright Young Women By Jessica Knoll

Similar to “The Girls,” Jessica Knoll’s psychological thriller “Bright Young Women” takes inspiration from a real-life crime: the Ted Bundy killings. Centered around sorority president Pamela Schumacher, “Bright Young Women” takes readers through a story spanning years. Switching between two crimes, the night of the attack on the Florida State University sorority and the killing of Colorado woman Ruth Wachowsky, Knoll’s novel tells the story of crimes that never should’ve happened and the media’s glorification of killers.

Ultimately, “Bright Young Women” is a book about the victims — both alive and dead — and giving a voice to those whose stories were forgotten.

For a full synopsis of “Bright Young Women,” click here.

Lies Like Wildfire by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez

If gore and murder aren’t your thing, then this book is for you. The young adult mystery “Lies Like Wildfire” follows a group of friends, nicknamed the Monsters, through a fiery last summer at home. When an innocent day at the lake leads to a roaring wildfire, the Monsters —  Mo, Luke, Violet, Hannah and Drummer — opt for a lie rather than face the felony charges. As the group spirals to keep their secret, Violet goes missing, and the childhood friends start to turn on each other as they crack under the pressure.

“Lies Like Wildfire” is a twisty mystery, taking readers along as one little lie poisons the Monsters, and each character finds out how far they’d go to outrun the flames.

For a full synopsis of “Lies Like Wildfire,” click here.

With each book offering their own twists and turns, there’s something here for everybody. So, take your pick and get ready to be captivated till the last page — after all, that’s what a good mystery’s all about.

Allie Tribe

Mizzou '27

Hi! My name is Allie Tribe and I'm a freshman majoring in journalism. I'm from Decatur, TX and I like to read, listen to music, and spend too much money on anything that's seasonal. MIZ!