Favorite Novels to Wind Down From Summer

If you’re anything like me, then you became the CW Pumpkin Man GIF as soon as it hit September 1st. Pumpkin spice lattes are back on the Starbucks menu, school is [questionably] back in session and we are starting to get those 70 degree days that are perfect for a fire. *cue me rewatching Gilmore Girls

Even if you aren’t like me and you’re holding on to those 80 degree days and drinks on your porch, there’s no time like September to start getting into spooky season. We don’t need to dive right in, instead we’ll just dip our toes. Sit on the dock and watch the sunset of another summer gone. 

This month I have three books that I am reading that are helping me wind down from the summer and really get into the mindset for fall. [Check out what else I’m reading by watching me choose books via a board game!]

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas 

This first pick is for those like me. If you already strung up your bat garland and scavenged through Target’s dollar section for ceramic pumpkins then you should pick up Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas. 

You would like this if you want: stories with witches and an LGBTQ+ main character.
This book is best paired with: a warm blanket and pan de muerto. 

Thomas’ debut novel immerses you into Latinx culture set against the backdrop of Los Angeles. Our main character, Yadriel, is a trans-boy who is trying to prove to his family and himself that he’s a real brujo. Being a brujo means that you not only can see and commune with the spirits but you have the power to summon them and release them to the after life. When Yadriel performs the ritual to be a brujo behind his family’s back, he tries to summon the spirit of his cousin to show his family what he can now do. Unfortunately, Yadriel ends up summoning the spirit of resident-bad boy Julian instead. With just days until Dia de los Muertos, Yadriel is on a mission to help Julian figure out who killed him and why. As the clock ticks down, Yadriel no longer knows if he wants Julian to move on. 

The Secret History by Donna Tartt 

So maybe you haven’t gone full-on fall decorating mode but you have popped by the Starbucks drive-thru to grab a pumpkin spice latte. If you’re welcoming the end of summer but lingering a bit, then you should pick up The Secret History by Donna Tartt. 

You would like this if you want: a story with college-aged characters and mystery. 
This book is best paired with: Andrew Bird’s album Sisyphus and a whiskey on the rocks. 

We take a walk back in time as we follow a younger version of our narrator, Richard, who is escaping his old life at an elite college in Vermont. Once there, Richard is denied from an Ancient Greek course that he was dead set on [pun intended]. The classics professor who teaches the course only allows a small hand-picked group and it seems quite cult-like. Richard becomes obsessed with the five golden students who are allowed in Julian Morrow’s class. With a bit of luck Richard is accepted into this exclusive group and that’s when everything takes a turn for the worst. Our story gets split into two as we go back and forth between: the events leading up to the death of a fellow classmate and then all the events that take place after. 

A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow

My last pick is for my people who are clinging onto summer for dear life. I feel you, I’m also going to miss being out on the water, taking weekend hikes and sitting out on patios [safely]. If you’re just taking it one day at a time, then you should pick up A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow. 

You would like this if you want: to fulfil your mermaid dreams and to read about friendship.
This book is best paired with: A cold iced tea and flipping through your summer photos.

We travel to Portland, Oregon where our main character, Tavia, is always trying to lay-low. Tavia is forced to not let anyone know that she is a siren. Her best friend, Effie, sticks by her through it all and while she isn’t a siren she does have a tail. Effie is a mermaid at a local renaissance faire and takes her job very seriously. Keeping Tavia’s identity hidden proves to be harder and harder when a murder trial becomes everything that people are talking about. A Black woman is murdered by her boyfriend and the defense decides to take the stance that she was a siren and had lured him to do so. Being a siren is inherently tied to the Black experience in America throughout this novel due to the fact that sirens have only been Black women for decades. As the stakes get higher for these two friends, no secret stays hidden for long, not even between each other.

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