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Although October is about to come to a close, I’d like to think that horror, thriller, and mystery books can (and should) be read year-round. This is especially true in the autumn and winter seasons. Cuddling up with a chilling book and a warm cup of hot chocolate by the fireplace is one of my favorite pastimes throughout the end of the year. Plus, with midterms happening and studying for finals lurking in the very near future, it’s incredibly important to find the time to relax, practice self-care, and catch up on some fun reading that could take our minds off of the stress of student life. So, without further ado, here are some of my favorite scary reads that I definitely recommend for the colder reading months.

Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

This is one of my all-time favorite novels. It’s so amazing. It has bone-chilling writing that scares me more than any other book has before. Stephen Chbosky, who also wrote The Perks of Being a Wallflower, very clearly put his heart and soul into this wondrous story. I highly suggest going into this book without knowing anything about it beforehand aside from the fact that this book is basically Stranger Things meets Coraline (2009) meets It (2017) and it is a wild, chaotic, spine-chilling, and thrilling adventure full of terror.

Final Girls by Riley Sager

One of my favorite horror movie tropes is the final girl trope, which is what happens when there is one sole woman survivor at the end of a slasher film. In this novel by Riley Sager, the plot centers on a group of final girls who have each survived their own tragedies and mysteriously begin to start being targeted once again. This book is so good and I definitely think you’ll love it if you’re a fan of any classic scary movies.

I Am Not Your Final Girl by Claire C. Holland

Speaking of final girls, this poetry collection is also inspired by the iconic final girl trope. Each poem in this book is inspired by a different final girl, which is honestly one of the most creative poetry prompts I’ve ever experienced. There were poems featuring some classic horror heroines that I love, whilst others had lesser-known characters from movies that I want to watch soon. Some of my favorite poems were about Clarice from The Silence of the Lambs (1991) and Laurie from Halloween (1978).

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

I read this book a few years ago and it still remains one of my favorites. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer has creepy, ghostly, and supernatural elements that combine together to form a gripping story that I read in a single day. Not to mention the romance in this book is *chef’s kiss* and the love interest is a bad-boy-but-also-a-sweet-lil-cinnamon-bun who will steal your heart.

The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn

This novel is a classic, page-turning thriller that will grab your attention immediately and catapult you into some thrilling twists and turns. I sped read through this book so quickly and the plot twists that it had were some of the best I’d ever experienced. This story, which was also recently adapted into a film starring Amy Adams, follows a housebound woman who thinks she has witnessed a horrific tragedy, but soon finds that she may be descending into madness instead.

This is the perfect time of the year to discover some new reading materials and to dive into so many new worlds. Thrillers, horror, and mystery novels are amazing genres full of suspenseful writing that will keep you on the edge of your seat until you read the very last page. The books listed here are just a few of the vast expanse of stories that you should read as soon as you can.

Courtney Wells

UC Riverside '22

Courtney is an undergrad at UC Riverside with a major in Sociology and a minor in Feminist Studies. She is passionate about social justice, intersectional feminism, and political activism. She is a lover of reading, iced tea, dad jokes, scary movies, cheese fries, and Taylor Swift. She can usually be found rewatching Pride and Prejudice (2005) with her cats.
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