October 22, 2021 | Lea Wentworth
What To Read: Fall Book Reviews
Teen Library volunteer Caroline recommends some mystery, some romance, and some thrills for your fall reads.
Agatha Christie secures her title as the “Queen of Mystery” with the story of one of her most successful publications, And Then There Were None. Ten people, each with their own secrets, each with a wicked past, each having ended a life in one way or another, are summoned to a mysterious island by an unknown host. Slowly, each guest is killed off in a manner described in a rhyme posted around the house they are staying in. Each guest remaining wonders who is committing these murders, how they will get off of the island, and if they will survive the night. This is a wonderfully complex and wholly satisfying mystery. Although this is a classic novel, the language is very easy to understand (coming from someone with little experience reading classics). I had no idea who the perpetrator was, and this book had my jaw dropping by the last pages. This is a mystery that I believe everyone should read, as not only is it excellently crafted, but the story within its pages sets the foundation for modern mysteries to build off of. The only factor from keeping this book from receiving a 5/5 was the exposition section. So many characters are introduced within the first few pages, and it was very difficult to differentiate those characters because of that.
The Heartstopper series is a graphic novel saga that describes the relationship developed between Nick and Charlie, two boys attending a grammar school in England. This series was developed into volumes after its immense popularity on a web-comic site called Tapas, and the series is still regularly updated on that website. These books are the sweetest high-school romances that I have ever read, and they are so addicting that I have read them multiple times. The art style is clear, with the pictures being detailed doodles that have a great impact on your immersion in the story. The story balances the beautiful relationship between Nick and Charlie, while also discussing relevant issues that teenagers face, such as depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. Heartstopper also focuses on a diverse cast of side characters, with various other LGBTQIA+ individuals and relationships observed. The discussion of homophobia and the reality of coming out are also heavily discussed. Not only have I greatly enjoyed my time digesting this story, I have also learned a lot as a teenager slowly emerging and contributing to my community. I could not recommend this series more; Please read them!
One to Watch is a romance novel heavily inspired by reality TV romance shows, like the Bachelor and Bachelorette. Bea is a plus-sized fashion blogger, and after criticizing the popular dating-style reality show “Main Squeeze” for their lack of size diversity, she finds herself as their star for the next season. Will Bea get over the man she’s been in love for for years and find herself a new and captivating relationship? Or will Bea put on an act in order to keep the network and audience happy? I found the premise of this book interesting, but my overall distaste for dating shows impeded my ability to fully enjoy this book. I found the main character compelling, along with the discussions of the lack of plus size heroines and stars in the film and fashion industry. However, I found it hard to care about the plot. This book would be perfect for fans of the TV shows that it’s modeled after, but I would avoid this one if you don’t enjoy the embellished dramas and unrealistic standards of reality television.
Pretty Little Wife is a domestic thriller about Lila, a woman who is confused about her husband’s sudden disappearance, especially because she was the last person to see his body. You follow Lila as she is trying to keep herself out of the eyes of law enforcement, while also trying to unravel where her husband’s body is now, and if he is still alive. I found this book compelling, and also slightly underwhelming. For a thriller book, it is more slow-paced than I would have wanted it to be. I found the twist and ultimate answer to the mystery to be unrealistic given the details the reader was given up until that point. However, I wildly enjoyed the writing style and atmosphere that was created. The cold nature of the characters was excellently detailed, and the attitude of the side characters toward the protagonist made for an environment that made Lila extremely unreliable, for good reason. I haven’t thought about this book since I finished it a while ago; it hasn’t made any profound impact on me, but it was still a fun thriller read that got me thinking and rooting for an untrustworthy main character.
The Ex Hex is an adult romance that is perfect if you are looking for a love story during the Halloween season. Vivienne, a witch living in the calm autumnal town of Graves Glen, nurses her broken heart by jokingly placing a curse on the man who broke her heart, Rhys. Nine years later, when Rhys returns to Graves Glen to conduct the annual fall charging of the town’s magic ley lines, Vivi learns that the curse may not have been as harmless as she thought. Together, Vivi and Rhys, along with Vivi’s aunt and cousin, have to work together to break the curse inflicted upon Rhys and stop the magical mishaps happening in Graves Glen because of it. I enjoyed this book a lot! I thought it was absolutely perfect for the Halloween season; I’ve been in quite the romance mood, and I find it hard to tailor my reading choices to match that of the current season. However, this book had the atmosphere that I was looking for, and captured the ambiance of the Halloween season wonderfully. What really fell flat in my opinion was the aspect of breaking the curse. Too much time was left to the development of the romantic relationship that the underlying plot of the curse was left to brief descriptions and short resolution. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a fast-paced read to get you in the mood for fall.