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With the changing of the seasons and the start of the semester comes the return of required reading. What about the reading you actually want to do? 

This is where I come in to recommend a few titles. I’m an English major and a Scorpio, meaning Spooky season never starts soon enough. 

The following three novels gave me all the goosebumps, and the last book listed I could only read during the daytime. None are horror, but all contain nearly paranoia-inducing levels of tension.

The wonderful thing about reading is that the work of our tired eyes is almost always worth it because of what we encounter. I hope that’s true for the following recommendations. Feel free to save what stands out to your Goodreads!

The It Girl

This phrase has been everywhere in 2022 yet this title is its best usage yet. Mystery lovers know British author Ruth Ware can do no wrong. Her thrillers elevate my heart rate without fail. The It Girl untangles the mess of convicting a man for the murder of the titular icon, April, and unraveling the conviction a decade later. Hannah must reconsider what she believed happened to her friend from Oxford years prior. There’s nothing like a school setting for a murder mystery if you want to raise the hair on the back of your neck.

Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights is the dark and twisty novel for those who can’t forget Callie and Brandon’s relationship on The Fosters. Emily Brontë’s 1847 masterpiece undoubtedly influenced the dark academia aesthetic. That’s just where the Gothic vibes begin. Set in the isolating English moors, this ghost story incorporates the real-life horrors of sexism, colonialism, spousal abuse, and medicine prior to the germ theory. The book is dense, true, but once you’re invested, the story flies past like running through a thicket. And attention, Kate Bush fans! You might have already heard her song of the same name. Kate Bush cemented Wuthering Heights’ cultural legacy, and her track hits differently after understanding the characters and their tragically intriguing situation.

The Little Friend

If you really want to be scared…talk about upsetting! I believe True Crime fans will get the most out of The Little Friend as its focus on the murder of a child can make for a heavy read. Literary legend Donna Tartt keeps this story barreling forward like a bullet. There’s nothing scarier than growing into an adult world too chaotic for children. Twelve-year-old heroine Harriet Cleve Dufresnes sees too much in her southern hometown. I found the characters in The Little Friend as vibrant as in my other favorite Donna Tartt novel, The Goldfinch. I encourage any avid readers of Gillian Flynn to give this one a try.

And there you have it, three chill-worthy titles worth reading this autumn! Cozy blanket and fall fragrance not required, but beware reading in the dark.

Keeley Cronin is a senior studying English with an emphasis in Creative Writing at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She enjoys hiking, thrifting, curating hyper-specific Spotify playlists, updating her Letterboxd, and prepping for Nanowrimo.
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