The fall season is officially here and to make the season spookier, here are five books I recommend reading or adding along to that never-ending TBR list.
- Penpal by Dathan Auerbach
How much do you remember from your childhood? Have you explored the woods? Have you ever had the feeling that someone or something is trying to harm you? Written from the narrator’s point of view and alternating between the past and present, a man investigates bizarre and horrific occurrences from his childhood to understand what really happened. The reader and the narrator both discover the strange and horrible events that come together to form a single terrifying story, one you would never expect.
This book began as a short horror story posted on the social media app Reddit and was eventually published as a book.
I rate this book a 4/5 because the author does an excellent job of connecting the past and present together to form an immense plot twist. This book also had me feeling all the same emotions as the main character/narrator was feeling, including suspense, shock, fear, sadness, and sympathy. My favorite quote from the book was, “Truth to tell, at any point in our lives we’ve forgotten more than we know about our history. The world moves on, and so do we, and what was once important fades away.”
- Psycho by Robert Bloch
Norman Bates has always loved his mother, but is she alive or has she been dead for the past 20 years? Norman lives with his mother on the hill of his motel, the infamous Bates Motel. On a slow night, a woman named Mary Crane checks in for a room. Norman begins to spy on her, becoming consumed with the idea of her, while his mother tries to protect him at all costs with a butcher knife. This story is a classic, mostly known for the film Psycho based on the novel and directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Psycho is based on the American murderer and possible serial killer Ed Gein, also known as the Plainfield Ghoul or the Butcher of Plainfield.
I give this book a 4/5 because I was hooked from the very first chapter and found Norman to be an intriguing character. It’s fast-paced with a plot twist I guarantee you will never predict, no matter how well you think you know these characters. My favorite quote: “I think perhaps all of us go a little crazy at times.”
- The Patient by Jasper Dewitt
This novel follows Parker, a young psychiatrist who posts online about his experiences at the mental hospital he previously worked at. Parker is intrigued by one patient named Joe, a patient who has been at the mental hospital since he was six. Now, he is a 40-year-old man with no diagnosis who leads every person who attempts to treat him to either madness or suicide. Parker encounters the patient and questions everything he thought he ever knew.
I rate this book a 5/5 as it was horror fiction and posed supernatural elements. Although Parker is a bit cocky at first, I felt like I could relate to him because I too was intrigued about Joe. The plot twist was very unexpected and will have you in a blank stare processing what happened. My favorite quote was, “They blame themselves so they can feel in control of what seems like an impossible situation.”
- Pet Sematary by Stephen King
The Creeds, a family of four, move to a new house located in Maine. A nearby woods hides something terrifying the Creeds didn’t know about, something that would have caused them to not move there at all. The family is left with the choice between life and death… but what will they choose?
I give this book a 3/5 because it starts out slow and confusing; however, the more you read, the more interesting and intrigued you become with the plot, family, and the cemetery that lies by the house and the frightening things it possesses. My favorite quote was, “And the most terrifying question of all may just be how much horror the human mind can stand and still maintain a wakeful, staring unrelenting sanity.”
- This Thing Between Us by Gus Moreno
Vera and Thiago buy an Itza, very similar to an Amazon Alexa. It can play music, add stuff to your grocery list, and ask about the weather, among other things. Since buying Itza, however, Vera and Thiago’s world is turned upside down. Vera ends up passing away and Thiago flees to Colorado where he thinks he can get away, soon realizing there is no escape from this technology.
I rate this book a 3/5 because the ending was a bit predictable, but was still good and will have you feeling shocked, as well as sad. I enjoyed how the book also followed Thiago’s journey through grief and loneliness using paranormal aspects. My favorite quote from this book was, “A part of me always dreamed of this, never having to work again, moving far away from everyone I knew. In the mountains, no one was trying to gauge themselves against me. If I was left alone then there was no one for me to hate.”