HomeFeaturesBook Lists8 Backlist Books to Ease into Spooky Season

8 Backlist Books to Ease into Spooky Season

Every year I get distracted by the plethora of new, must-read spooky season reads that launch mid August through October. I buy too many. I commit too much. I get overwhelmed. Inevitably, many books sit unread on my bookshelf until next spooky season. 

In this article, I’m going to share 8 Backlist Spooky Season Books that deserve a spot in your immediate TBR. 

Stepsister book coverStepsister

Written by Jennifer Donnelly

Published by Scholastic Press

I know that retellings are typically a love it/hate it situation, but I personally love nothing more than a good “let’s spin your perception of the evil villain” story. In this wonderful Cinderella retelling you’ll meet Isabelle, who in her desperate attempts to both please her mother and win the hand of the prince, cuts off her own toes to fit in the infamous glass slipper. Of course, we know this story ends unhappily for the “evil stepsister” but … what if we re-examine the perspective? A young girl who is so desperate to fit in, to be wanted, and to be seen as beautiful that she CUTS OFF her own toes? Maybe does the fault lie in the society and environment she’s been brought up? In a world where beauty trumps all, what will happen when a girl has had enough and is given a chance to alter her destiny? I love this story, one of my very favourite books! 

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

The Midnight BargainThe Midnight Bargain

Written by C.L. Polk

Published by Erewhon

Magician story? Here I’ll be until the end of time, first in line for a copy! Even better, The Midnight Bargain is a story of women magicians trying to harness and hold their magic in a domineering world of men who fear and suppress them, quite literally, with magic taming metal collars upon marriage. Oh, the parallelism to today’s political fight for women’s right over their own bodies – which did inspire the author to write this a few years ago – excellent conversations to be had, a wonderful magic system, and great character work await in this superb novel. Great as an audiobook. 

You can find it here: Bookshop.org


Written by Heather Walter

Published by Del Rey Books

Here we are – another retelling! Malice is the darkly magical retelling of Sleeping Beauty … and I would say highly loosely based retelling because there really are only “whispers” of the story you know. A unique world of magic with an insatiable obsession with beauty, this sapphic, wicked story will enchant. Audiobook is also excellent! 

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Within These Wicked Walls

Written by Lauren Blackwood

Published by Wednesday Books

Goodness me, is this another retelling? I guess I could’ve called this article “best retellings”, but I digress… In this loosely based Jane Eyre retelling you’ll meet Andromeda who is hired to rid a creepy mansion of a powerful, evil spirit. This story is atmospheric, romantic, creepy and all-out-horror at times! Not to be missed in your spooky TBR pile!! 

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Wildwood Whispers

Written by Willa Reece

Published by Redhook

This story is for the reader who is looking for something magical, without horror, magicians, witches, etc. Cottage Core Magic. But don’t be deceived thinking this will be a lighthearted escape, some very serious subject matter does pertain! In this slow, peaceful story we follow main character Mel Smith through her journey of grief. Moving to her dearly departed best friend’s Appalachian hometown where she discovers she fits in rather well with the elusive coven of “witches”. A lush, descriptive novel that will send you off with a great appreciation for nature and a penchant to make some homemade scones & berry jams. 

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

This Poison Heart

Written by Kaylyn Bayron

Published by Bloomsbury YA

Briseis has an extraordinary gift: she can make plants grow & thrive with a single touch. A gift, however, that she has worked hard to keep secret. When an aunt she’s never known leaves her entire estate to Briseis, she and her moms cautiously pack up their lives in Brooklyn for a new start. But this odd inheritance comes with strings. Strangers from the local small town arrive needing tinctures and potions from her aunt’s lush gardens & apothecary … there’s more to this inheritance than she bargained for. What’s worse, evil forces are on the hunt for an elixir of immortality, forces that are likely behind her aunt’s death and are now coming for Bri and her family! This story was so enthralling, with excellent character and plot work, a unique magic system, large manors, small towns, and great representation. Highly recommend. 

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Dread Nation book coverDread Nation

Written by Justina Ireland

Published by Balzer + Bray

In this Civil War era reimagining, the dead walk the earth, and thusly ended the war as both sides turned their collective attention on the new threat. Jane McKeene is a student at Miss Preston’s, a combat school for Black girls to be trained in both weaponry and etiquette. Her goal is to be assigned to a wealthy white family where she will be tasked with their safety and protection from the undead plague. But that was before her world, and all she knew, came crashing down. Families are going missing, her mother’s letters are not being returned and Jane is desperate to fight her way home to Kentucky. But this zombie reimagined world is no different than our own past, a young black girl holds no power against the corrupt white male oppressors. Using her whit and strength she battles evil both real and undead as she journeys to freedom. This story is for all you book lovers craving a unique fantasy spin on real historical events, with a good smash up of horror & zombie-apocalypse … an odd combination that shouldn’t work, but in the talented hands of Justina Ireland, it is so entertaining and powerful.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

The Inheritance of Orquidea Divina

Written by Zoraida Cordova

Published by Atria Books

If the strange and unexplainable – corpses rising from the dead to smoke cigarettes and flowers blooming from foreheads and throats – are up your alley of literary buzzwords, then this magical realism story is for you! Follow the Montoya family, who under the matriarchal rule of Orquidea Divina, have always known Orquidea is uniquely magical. But when the whole family is invited by Orquidea to collect their inheritance upon her death, the distribution of her magic is not what they expected. What’s worse, family members are now dying one by one and it appears it is no accident. Grandchildren Marimar, Rey, and Rhiannon will have to travel to Ecuador – the birth place of Orquidea – to find the source of buried family secrets and stop the killer before they strike again. A unique novel with great YA / Adult Fantasy crossover appeal. 

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

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