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The 5 Best Dark Academia Books to Get You in the Autumn Studying Mood

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Toronto MU chapter.

The consensus among dark academia readers searching for recommendations this fall is clear: please, not The Secret History… again. If you’re on the same page, don’t fret — we’ve got you covered.

The incoming fall season calls for a new chapter of the haunting atmospheric tales we all know and love. This genre is perfect for romanticizing your autumn campus life and spicing up your evenings with a sprinkle of gothic mystery. Bundle up in your coziest cardigan, pour yourself a cup of your preferred hot beverage and crack into these captivating dark academia recommendations.

 A Study in Drowning by Ava Reid

A Study in Drowning by Ava Reid is a mystery-packed gothic fantasy that has been highly anticipated among the BookTok community. It was published Sept. 2023 and has been extremely well received, reaching an impressive 4.12-star rating on Goodreads — as of Oct. 16, 2023.

The story follows the life of a young architecture student named Effy. She’s offered the chance to redesign the crumbling estate of her favourite author but soon discovers she isn’t the only student fascinated by his literature, and there may be something darker at stake.

The novel features an academic rival-to-lovers trope, a creepy gothic mansion, and a dark secret. What more could you want?

 Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Cuddle by S. Frasher

If reading an entire novel sounds a bit intimidating, but you don’t want to miss out on the autumn vibes, we’ve got you covered. With only 120 pages, Bubble, Bubble, Toil, and Cuddle by S. Frasher is a prequel novella that is the perfect cozy fantasy with far less commitment than a full-fledged novel.

It takes place at a school for witchcraft, making it the perfect match for any Harry Potter fans looking for a new magical series to immerse themselves in. Plus, if you love this read, you’ll have an automatic follow-up read for fall 2024 when its sequel is released.

All That Consumes Us by Erica Waters

A new fall release, All That Consumes Us by Erica Waters, is available to readers as of Oct. 17, 2023.

Set in a prestigious Victorian-style academy, this eerie mystery leans more on the spooky side, with a paranormal presence haunting our main character, Tara. If you’re into twisted nightmares and suspicious secret societies set against the backdrop of academics, then this is the novel for you.

Make sure to add All That Consumes Us to your to-be-read list so that you don’t miss its upcoming publication! You could be one of its first readers.

The Last Heir to Blackwood Library by Hester Fox

Want a novel that still gives off spooky library vibes but isn’t set in a school? The Last Heir to Blackwood Library by Hester Fox is the perfect dark academia choice for you.

Our bookish main character, Ivy, suddenly inherits a brooding gothic estate where the library holds a dark secret. Foggy memories, suspicious servants, and footsteps in empty halls set the scene for this thrilling mystery taking place in the 1920s. On top of the unmatched ambience, this is an incredible tale of historical female agency.

Prepare yourself for plot twists you didn’t even fathom possible — this clever mystery will keep you on your toes until the very last chapter.

In These Hallowed Halls: A Dark Academia Anthology by twelve different authors, edited by Marie O’Regan and Paul Kane

With so many great choices for dark academia reads this fall, choosing just one novel to devote your time to can be hard. In These Hallowed Halls: A Dark Academia Anthology is the perfect solution: it features a collection of 12 sinister short stories set in academia—all in one book!

These are perfect for the noncommittal reader who values being able to finish each story in one sitting. Lose yourself in a variety of chilling academic settings from 12 authors’ haunting twists on this beloved genre.

Pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Fashion Communications at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson), Maddison provides expertise in social media, graphic design, and marketing through the eyes of the younger generation. She has a passion for written and visual storytelling, with experience writing and managing journalistic publications throughout her years in education. Maddison is an articulate writer in both English and French and continues to pursue language post-secondary through an English minor.