24 Chilling and Atmospheric YA Fall Reads For 2023

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Best young adult books to read in the fall 

Yet again, we are in the vivid fall season, in search of atmospheric fall books to read or spooky picture books that worth rereading.

A few years back, whenever I was in search of the best books to read in autumn, it never occurred to me to read fall-themed young adult books. I have always gravitated towards classic fall reads such as Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre. But then I remembered that one of my all-time favourite fall reads is also a young adult novel, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. One of my favourite passages was the richly detailed description of the Entrance hall during autumn. I remember thinking about those candle-filled pumpkins and fluttering bats… 

In this list of best YA books to read in the fall, you’ll get many atmospheric book recommendations that you’ll want to curl up with. Cozy fall reads that you would want to read again and again.

I must say that some of these book have the book covers with the perfect fall vibes

As the fall season also calls for spooky Halloween novels, there are also a few terrifying and eerie young adult novels. 

Want to know the best part?

You’ll definitely be able to find a good fall book, according to your personal taste. 

Whether you are into electrifying creepy young adult books, bewitching vampire romances for Halloween, spooky fall-themed YA books, deeply atmospheric young adult fantasy novels, or witchy novels of magic and horror, the books in the list captures everything you love about fall. 

Also, it’s delightful to read book that includes queer chracters and discusses topics like LGBTQ+ acceptance and colonization. With Lyrical and immersive prose and highly imaginative storyline, this list of young adult autumn novels will give you goosebumps as you read. 

Choose one or more from these epic fall-themed YA novels below!

​​Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

This coming-of-age gay book tells the story of an  introverted school student Charlie Spring who steps in the way of Nick Nelson, school rugby star.

What starts out as a friendship soon becomes a mutual feeling that neither of them completely understands and then evolves again to become a special bond. Their struggle with their feelings will take them on a heartwarming journey making this one of the best young adult romance books in the literary world right now.

The cozy vibes of Nick and Charlie’s unique journey will be sure to spark a warm fire in your heart. I don’t think you’ll ever come across an autumn graphic novel as tender and sweet as Heartstopper.  Also read Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper Book Series in Order


The Truth Project by Dante Medema

The Truth Project follows teenager Cordelia Koenig after she gets partnered up with her crush, Kodiak Jones, at school.

The project is simple: Mail in a sample of her DNA and write up her ancestry results. Sounds like an easy ‘A’ grade, but the result turns out to be anything but. Instead, Cordelia discovers her biological father is not the man she thought, but rather, it’s actually a stranger she’s never met.

There are so many reasons whyThe Truth Project will be the perfect fall book for young adults. The themes of self-discovery and family are beautifully explored in the novel, which perfectly captures the cozy and melancholic autumn vibes.

And the gorgeous  fall cover enhances the autumn atmosphere as we discover just how deep the lie Cordelia has been told, runs. 


With The Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo

Teen mom Emoni lives a complicated life, always having to do what’s best for her daughter and her grandmother, including avoiding head-turner new boy Malachi.

There’s only one place in the world where she feels free to let go of everything: Her kitchen. Emoni’s greatest desire is to become a chef, and her praiseworthy food is certainly a good step towards that. She feels the ultimate goal is too far out of reach, but once she’s in the moment of cooking, all that passion just pours out of her and suddenly her dream doesn’t seem so fanatical. With The Fire On High has many themes associated with the harvest season.

This multigenerational family drama is a must-read fall YA book as it’s the  heartwarming story of hope and desire. Just as a change in season means to dream for new things.  Single mother Emoni hopes for a new beginning. 


The Secret Of A Heart Note by Stacey Lee

16-year-old Mimosa feels her entire life is already laid out in front of her; elixirs, gardening, playing matchmaker, all whilst she is entirely alone.

Whilst an easy life like that is something any normal kid would dream of, Mimosa is the opposite. She yearns for a normal high school life full of friends, sports, clubs and maybe even a lover. This fall  YA romance book brings Mimosa together with a school soccer star as they work together to save the soccer star’s mom after she accidentally takes one of the elixirs.

However, such teamwork will also teach Mimosa a deeper, more romantic lesson as well. You might not be surprised to see a YA fantasy novel in the list of fall book recommendations. There is something about fall that makes reading a novel filled with elements of romance, fairytale and magical realism. 


Dark And Shallow Lies by Ginny Myers Sain

Grey makes her annual visit to the town of La Cachette in this Halloween read for young adults. This year, however, things are slightly different.

This time, her childhood best friend, Elora, is missing. The night she disappeared is left a total unspoken mystery to Grey and she makes it her mission to uncover the truth. The plot thickens when, after some digging, Grey discovers that the townspeople are hiding something.

The secrets left behind by her late relatives call out to her from the grave. It soon becomes apparent many things aren’t right, including the presence of a murderer in the town. When Grey can’t trust anyone around her, how will she fend for herself? 

Dark And Shallow Lies is a dark, terrifying atmospheric thriller for young adults that captures both autumn and Halloween vibes.


Lies Like Wildfire by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez

A group of monsters are looking forward to finally properly starting their lives as they prepare to move on to college at the end of summer.

It seems like the future is now, until their projections come crashing down when they accidentally start a forest fire which rips through their hometown. For the sake of their futures, the group agrees to remain silent about what happened. However, the truth always comes out and lies only ever breed more lies. One of the friends goes missing, and before long, the monsters are all sharpening their claws at each other in fear.

The creepy undertones and the fast-paced storytelling make it the perfect young adult novel to read in Autumn.


Beasts Of Prey by Ayana Gray

Who doesn’t want to read a YA fantasy book if it’s a perfect blend of mythology, romance, and action . Beasts Of Prey  is a richly imaginative trilogy that every teenager wants to read  sipping a pumpkin spice latte.

The story follows 16-year-old Koffi  who cares for the mythical creatures of Lkossa Night Zoo as she works to pay off her family debts. However, when the twisted master of the zoo threatens Koffi’s loved ones, she soon finds she has a power that she doesn’t understand. Ekon, son of a decorated hero, is shunned after a fire at the Night Zoo; something which he had no part in. Koffi and Ekon soon join forces to discover the truth about themselves and restore their reputation, respectively.

Together, they enter a world rich with magic, but also danger, and their young friendship is put to the test almost instantly. 


Skin Of The Sea by Natasha Bowen

Skin of The Sea is a riveting young adult fantasy for you if you’re into  fans of epic, well crafted tales. The novel features a Black mermaid that changes history.

The Mami Wata are a group of mermaids whose purpose is to gather the souls of those unfortunate enough to die at sea. When a living boy is thrown off a slave ship, Simidele, one of the mermaids, rescues him, breaking the ancient rules of the Mami Wata. To make amends, Simidele must venture to the Supreme Creator, the one to whom all the souls are taken, and risks everything to save both the Mami Wata and the unfortunate boy. 

Whether it’s the spooky Halloween season or a cold autumn evening, I always love to grab an enchanting story that transports me to a mystical world. So I can’t wait to dive into this highly imaginative mermaid story. 


Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Ransom RiggsA collection of odd photographs… In an abandoned orphanage… on a lost, peculiar island tells the unforgettable story of 16-year-old Jacob as he flees to a remote island off the coast of Wales.

He discovers the rubble of the titular home, and before long, he realizes that the children who once lived in those walls weren’t just strange, they were dangerous. They had been brought to a remote island for a reason, and discovering that the children may somehow still be alive opens up a terrifying and desperate journey for poor Jacob. 

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children is one of the creepiest YA fantasy books with a haunting fall vibe.  An unforgettable story sprinkled with the element of fantasy and mystery, a teenage boy’s journey to the world of magic, supernatural.


One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Five students are in detention. Bronwyn never broke any rules, as far as anyone knows.

Cooper only cares about his future as a baseball player. Nate is one broken rule away from a life of crime. Addy is struggling to keep all the pieces of her seemingly perfect life together. Then finally, outsider Simon is…

Well, he created the gossip app at Bayview High, but beyond that, nobody knows much about him. When detention ends, only four of the students walk out alive. Simon’s dead, and it just so happened before he could post the darkest secrets of his four fellow classmates online. So, who did it?

Next in the list is a dark academia novel that tells a grim story of truths and morality. One Of Us Is Lying is going to be your go-to young adult Halloween read. 


If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson

I always feel that the best YA books to read in the fall comes with a cozy fall cover that very much compliments the story.

If You Come Softly is one such book that tells the story of Jeremiah. He feels at ease in his Brooklyn neighborhood, but when he realizes he must face up to being a black boy in a Manhattan prep school, he starts to lose his nerve. However, within a week, he meets another so-called outsider, Jewish girl Ellie.

Their worlds are different from the rest of the school, yet they seem to understand how it feels to be each other. 

This joyful fall YA romance tells the story of a beautiful interracial love that you wouldn’t be able to put down. 


The Righteous by Renee Ahdieh

I don’t think there is any other season more suitable for reading dark and seductive vampire romance than October. Whether you’re in search of YA books set in fall or best books to read on Halloween,  Renee Ahdieh’s young adult fantasy series is an absolute treat. ’

Third book in book series The Beautiful Quartet, Odette finds herself at her final death. Every vampire has their time and every vampire must die. Unless Arjun Desai crosses the realms to find the healer from the Sylvan Vale, Odette’s time will be now. In his haste, Arjun leaves an open tear between the two worlds, allowing love and war to seep through on both sides.

Elsewhere, Pippa is set to marry Phoebus Devereux and join his well-off family. Before she can marry him, she has to find her missing best friend, so enlists the assistance of a sorceress’ daughter, Eloise.

A tense tale of magic quickly becomes one of love as Pippa finds love just days before she is due to marry someone else.


Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

This New York Times bestseller tells the story of two star-crossed lovers in 1986 who are well aware that first loves never work out yet are willing to throw everything on the line to try it anyway.

Eleanor and Park’s story is so strong and heartwarming that this cozy young adult fall romance book will remind you of your own first love. You’ll be dragged back under drowning in those immense feelings of euphoria, watching as these two loveable characters relive it for you.

If sweet romance stories are your go to novels during autumn, you ‘ll love Eleanor & Park


Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

Maureen Johnson delivers a fantastic YA Halloween read in the form of the Truly Devious book series.

The first book, entitled ‘A Mystery,’ follows Stevie Bell as she follows the story of Albert Ellingham, a tycoon whose wife and daughter were kidnapped after he opened his academy. A riddle with murder methods was left behind, signed as Truly, Devious and the mystery was never resolved… Not until now, at least. When Stevie Bell begins her first year at the academy, she is determined to crack the case.

However, when Truly, Devious strikes again, Stevie realizes she may actually be a little closer to the mystery than she had initially thought. Will Stevie solve the case?

Find out in this fantastic novel, one of the best fall YA books of all time.


Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker

This YA book set in fall tells a story of love, witchcraft, demons, and all things magical and incomprehensible.

Nova Huang is a teen witch, except she knows more about magic than most girls her age. Working at her grandmother’s bookshop, she has time to read them herself between loaning them out and investigating all the paranormal occurrences that go down in the town. However, one night, she finds herself caught up in a rather unfortunate investigation; a white wolf is found in the woods, and it’s Tam Lang, her childhood crush.

When Tam explains to Nova that he’s being pursued by dark forces, he also reveals that she’s the only one who can help him. Nova soon learns that Tam can help him out in return as they rekindle old feelings in this Halloween YA romance novel.


Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

This paranormal romance for young adults  is centered around an LGBTQIA+ ghost story of acceptance and strength.

When Yadriel summons his cousin’s ghost, he’s determined to cross into the afterlife and prove himself… However, in reality, he’s actually accidentally summoned the ghost of Julian Diaz, his old high school’s bad boy. What starts out as a rather unlikely friendship soon becomes something more unspoken as Yadriel and Julian get closer and realize perhaps moving on is not in either of their best interests.

There is something extraordinary about reading a thrilling supernatural mystery that also features charming queer characters. This novel would be an absolute treat during  fall with chilling Halloween vibes all round.


Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire

There are three rules to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children: No solicitations, no visitors, and no quests.

Children disappear all the time from the home. Some under the bed, some behind wardrobes, but all through the shadows. Nancy disappeared once, but she’s back now. What she encountered is left unspoken, though it’s clear that whatever she experienced changed the poor girl.

When Nancy arrives at the home, she changes things for Miss West. It’s up to Nancy and her new friends to figure out what exactly the darkness in each corner is.

This brave story makes for a thrilling fall-themed novella for young adults as it unravels a deep and ground-shaking mystery. This spellbinding tale is perfect for the fans of gothic and fantasy literature.  


The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Next in the list is one of the best YA witchy novels for autumn. You’ll fall in love with  The Girl Who Drank The Moon, as it’s an enchanting tale with a mystical narrative.

The story begins with Protectorate residents and their annual tradition, which includes leaving a newborn out as an offering to the witch of the forest. What they don’t realize, however, is that Xan, the witch, is actually the opposite of evil. She saves the children and raises them to have a better life. One year, however, she accidentally feeds moonlight instead of starlight to baby Luna, filling her with dormant magic.

Nearly 13 years later, however, Luna’s magic begins to arise, and not even Xan can be too sure of the dangerous consequences that will follow.  


Small Favors by Erin A. Craig

What do you think of choosing a slow-burn fairytale as a YA fall book? Small Favors is also Reese Witherspoon book club’s recommended spooky read for autumn!

Small Favors follows Ellerie Downing as she waits for life in her monster-targeted forest-surrounded town to pick up. For now, things remain the same. She runs after her sisters, tends to the beehives, and remains envious of her twin brother’s freedom.

Then, the days start to turn quiet. Strange things happen and it soon becomes clear the tales of the monsters are more than just idle stories after all. The monsters don’t come to massacre, however, but instead seem to offer to fulfil the residents’ deepest desires…

Let’s just say a comment about dealing with the devil would be in order right now. Ellerie eventually finds herself racing against the clock to save her town from inadvertently destroying itself in this frightful dark YA fantasy romance is perfect to read in the fall.  


Squashed by Joan Bauer

16-year-old Ellie Morgan as she tries to fit one last perfect piece to her perfect life; growing her potentially prize-winning pumpkin past 200 pounds.

If she could manage that, her life would be, more or less, complete. Well, save for the exception of Wes, the new boy in town. But in her eyes, she’d need to lose 20 pounds off of herself to turn his head. Little does she know that all it would take is one ‘Hello’ to have him head over heels for her. 

This cozy YA novel, Squashed tells a wonderful tale of young love, perfect to read in the fall. Squashed is one such autumn story which will  make you laugh and cry and I promise you that you’ll never look at a pumpkin the same way again. 


House Of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland

The story of the Hollow sisters is one of seduction and mystery. Vivi, Grey, and Iris don’t have, or need, friends, and they glide around like vicious predators, keeping the ‘prey’ around them both afraid and head over heels for them.

One night, the three sisters all disappeared. Then, one month later, they came back, though the memories of their experience were left behind. The only clue to what had happened was in the form of scars on the hollows of their throats. There’s also a sinister sense in the back of their minds that something isn’t quite right.

This thrilling, hot and steamy romance fall book for young adults tells a fantastic story that everyone should read in the mellow season. 


The Unspoken Name by A.K. Larkwood

On her 14th birthday, Csorwe is set to be sacrificed to the god of a death cult. Hopeless and ready, she awaits the end… Then, a sorcerer offers her a way to escape her grim fate.

He wants her as his assistant. More than that, he wants to make a warrior out of her. With death as her only alternative, Csorwe accepts the sorcerer’s offer. As the years go by, she lives her life on the edge as she begins hunting for an important artefact. However, the cult that had once called for her blood then appears again, forcing Csorwe to reckon with her past.

If survives, she’ll have to find the artefact and defeat her opponents. It seems simple, but a curveball is thrown; Shuthmili, a mage who will change her life forever. I wouldn’t hesitate a bit to read this enthralling piece of  young adult fantasy novel.

As the moon is brighter and weather gets colder and windy,  reading a richly detailed classic orcs ‘n’ swords fantasy with fabulous queer characters exemplifies the best part of autumn. 


White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson

Running from the ghosts of her old life, Marigold moves to the terrifying city of Cedarville with her blended family, but soon eases in as she realizes it may have been the change in her life that she needed.

The family’s renovated home on Maple Street sits between spooky, derelict old houses. It’s creepy, sure, but not enough to run the family out… That is until objects start disappearing, doors start slamming, and whispers start emanating from within the walls. As those very walls close in on her, Marigold soon learns there’s far more to Cedarville than meets the eye.

Secrets always come to light in the end.  White Smoke is a  chilling YA book to read in the fall as it’s a multilayered creepy  horror  fiction for teens. 

The book has previously been Amazon’s best book of the month and makes for a thrilling Halloween read. 


Excited to grab these cozy young adult books with magic, romance, and mystery ?

What are some of your all time favroite YA books to read during autumn? Do you always go for classics or contemporary novels?

Let me know in the comments!

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Stephy George
Stephy George

Hi I am Stephy ! I became a bookworm in my late twenties. So I created this little corner of books online to share my love of reading with YOU! I want to help you find the best books to read so you won’t ever have to worry about your next read!

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