Scarecrows, Sawkill, & School Mysteries: My Spooky October Reads

Halloween season always calls for mini Kit-Kats, pumpkin-spice candles, and of course, a scary read or two. Today, I’m going to be discussing my thoughts on the seasonal reads, whether thriller or downright spooky,  I picked up last month.

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One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus– Yes fellow readers, I finally decided to read one of the most hyped books in the YA community, One of Us Lying. One of my best friends and a summer co-worker non-stop recommended that I pick this one up. Fall always makes me crave books with mystery vibes, especially after devouring Courtney Summers’ Sadie. With her second book, it was time to read Karen M. McManus’s Breakfast Club-inspired read about four teens who becomes suspects of a high-profile classmate’s murder.

I can now see what the hype is about because I flew through One of Us is Lying. I actually didn’t mind getting four different perspectives and it was fun exploring their backstories. Addy was definitely my favorite because I think she had one of the most complicated backlines. Did I think One of Us is Lying was the most original book in the world? No. I admit that I did predict the ending (but maybe not the accomplice) and I wish it went in a little bit of direction (trying to avoid spoilers). Did I enjoy it though? Yes!

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

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Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand– A queer YA horror story, Sawkill Girls has the perfect creepy, Halloween vibes. Zoey, Marion and Val all have some connection to the mysterious disappearances of girls on Sawkill, and now it’s time to either fight back or fight each other.  Considering the amount of hype Claire Legrand’s Furyborn received this year, I looked forward to this release.

Sawkill Girls has many feminist messages. While I liked the book’s overall story and ending, I just though the execution wasn’t there. There are a lot of reveals throughout its lengthy story, but none of them seemed to really come into play by the end. I couldn’t connect with any of the characters, even though Zoey was my favorite, mostly for her baking-loving boyfriend. While I think the book’s length could have been shortened, I appreciate Sawkill Girls was left as a standalone instead of being split into two unnecessary installments.

My Rating: 2.5/ 5 Stars

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Small Spaces by Katherine Arden- I’ve been on an Katherine Arden high this year between her Winternight trilogy (give me The Winter of the Witch now, PLEASE),  and her first middle grade, Small Spaces. After suffering a tragic loss, eleven-year old Ollie only finds solace in books. And one of those books just happens to be one that she stole from a crazed women at the river, threatening Ollie to throw it in the river where it belongs. Ollie is captivated by the diary of a girl named Beth, whose family disappears thanks to the “smiling man.” Suddenly, the diary becomes very real when Ollie’s school trip to a local farm goes wrong and her digital watch tells her one thing: RUN.

Like The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower,  I adored Small Spaces for its atmospheric story. If you ever feel the need to transport to autumnal Vermont, run to Small Spaces immediately! Katherine Arden provides so many details about Halloween decorations, leaves, and best of all, all the amazing treats made by Ollie’s dad. Can he pack my lunch everyday? I’m also more than ready to move into Ollie’s colorful house, the Egg. Regarding the story itself, Small Spaces is the perfect Halloween read, as Ollie and her classmates combat the evil spirits that have taken over their school field trip. Let’s just say I may never look at scarecrows the same way.

Small Spaces is the first book in Katherine Arden’s first MG quartet, and each book is going to feature Vermont in a different season!

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

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The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas– Kara Thomas is another YA thriller author who was highly recommend to me. The Cheerleaders takes place in town five years after the mysterious deaths of five cheerleaders. One of those girls unfortunately happened to be Monica’s sister, and Monica realizes what happened five years ago still isn’t over. I actually found that The Cheerleaders‘ writing style was similar to One of Us is Lying, but I think Kara Thomas’s story grabbed me more, especially as Monica and Ginny started to fit more pieces together. I admit that I didn’t predict who the murderer was in the beginning, but I did question their role in the book. Although there are a few gruesome moments, I would describe this book more as a mystery than a scary read.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars newfireborder

What spooky reads have you read this fall? Share in the comments!

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