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Silly, Spooky, and Everything Else: 15 New Books for October 2021

Book covers for "Trash Lands", "The Book of Hope", and "We Are Not Like Them"
MIRA/Celadon Books/Atria Books

You might think of October as spooky season, but the month’s new book releases cover much more than just Halloween-ready titles! You’ll also find inspiring and intriguing nonfiction, light escapist novels, tense thrillers, and much more—and, yes, some spooky delights too. Keep an eye out for these titles making their debut in October!

A Spindle Splintered (Fractured Fables, 1)

Think Sleeping Beauty is a passive fairy tale? Think again! In Alix E. Harrow’s fractured fairy tale retelling, Zinnia, a young woman with a rare and fatal condition, tries to celebrate what will likely be her last birthday.

When her friend arranges for an immersive “fairy tale” experience, Zinnia finds herself tumbling headlong into a dangerous and very different story, alongside the famed sleeping beauty who, like Zinnia, just wants to escape her fate. Out Oct. 5.


Lucy Holland’s novel blends magic and history, in a kingdom in ancient Britain where the king has lost his connection with the magic of the land. Instead, it calls to his three children, each of whom struggle to find their place and their future.

When a stranger arrives at the castle, the siblings’ relationships to each other and to the land itself are forever changed, and tragedy lurks just around the corner. Out Oct. 5

When Night Breaks (Kingdom of Cards, 2)

The second installment in Janella Angeles’s duology raises the stakes even higher. After a magic competition gone wrong, contestant Kallia has disappeared and her ally Daron is in disgrace.

As Daron sets out to right what went wrong, Kallia is forced to navigate a dangerous and deceitful world with the person she trusts the least, all while her powers grow beyond her wildest imaginings—but all magic has a price. Out Oct. 5.

The Lighthouse Witches

C.J. Cooke’s thriller begins when artist Liv takes her three children with her when she’s commissioned to do a job at a reportedly haunted Scottish lighthouse. While there, two of her daughters vanish without a trace.

Two decades later, the surviving sister is shocked when one of her sisters turns up alive, but she’s bringing a haunting story back with her. Out Oct. 5.

We Are Not Like Them: A Novel

Told by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza from alternating perspectives, this novel follows the friendship between two women—one Black, one white—and the tragedy that changes their relationship forever.

Best friends since kindergarten, the two women find themselves at a crossroads as an all-too-familiar story plays out in public, with them pulled into the fray. Out Oct. 5.

Payback's a Witch (The Witches of Thistle Grove)

If John Tucker Must Die involved queer witches, you’d have Lana Harper’s funny and magical tale of love and revenge. During a once-in-a-generation magic contest involving four families, three witches realize they’ve all been hurt by the same overconfident warlock.

Together, they form a pact to ensure he loses the contest—all while two of them start to fall for each other instead. Out Oct. 5.

Capote's Women: A True Story of Love, Betrayal, and a Swan Song for an Era

Laurence Leamer guides readers through a nonfiction dive into the intriguing lives of the socialites who moved in the circles of famed author Truman Capote.

When Capote attempted to draw on the scandalous lives of his friends for writing inspiration, he was immediately ostracized, but this book peels back the truth behind the stories of these extraordinary women and their larger-than-life exploits. Out Oct. 12.

On Animals

For all the animal lovers out there, Susan Orlean’s fun and thoughtful exploration of the relationship between humans and animals is a can’t-miss.

Through individual, sometimes quirky stories, as well as deeper research, the book looks at any number of angles on the human-animal relationship as it’s viewed around the world. Out Oct. 12,

Within These Wicked Walls: A Novel

Loosely drawing from Jane Eyre, Lauren Blackwood’s Ethiopian-inspired fantasy centers on Andromeda, an exorcist hired to cleanse households from curses.

When she’s hired by an infamous, strange, and wealthy young man, she quickly realizes that his house holds more secrets (and dark magic) than she ever prepared for. Complicating matters further is the growing connection between the two of them, even as the curse closes in. Out Oct. 19.

Sophie Valroux's Paris Stars (Sophie Valroux, 2)

Grand chef Sophie Valroux seems to finally have her life on track in Samantha Vérant’s latest novel. Her career is soaring, her family life is going great, and everyone in the culinary world wants her opinion.

When she suffers an accident and loses her all-important senses of taste and smell, Sophie hides her condition from everyone, terrified that it will spell the end of her beloved career. Out Oct. 19.

The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times (Global Icons Series)

Jane Goodall and Douglas Abrams, two esteemed names everyone will most likely recognize, collaborate on a book about finding hope and joy, even in stressful and sometimes hopeless-seeming times.

Drawing on personal stories and other research, it’s a guide that tries to answer questions of how to stay hopeful and how to turn that hope into real, concrete action. Out Oct. 19.

Well Matched

As Jen DeLuca’s latest romance begins, single mom April has long since sworn off dating, and with her daughter heading to college, she’s ready to move on from her small town.

She makes a deal with her friend Mitch: He helps her get her house ready to sell, and she pretends to be his girlfriend for a weekend with his stressful family. Of course, nothing goes as planned, leaving April wondering if she’s making the right decisions after all. Out Oct. 19.

David Copperfield's History of Magic

Penned by David Copperfield, Richard Wiseman, and David Britland, this is a nonfiction, behind-the-scenes look at 28 of the most famous and groundbreaking magicians in history.

Complete with illustrations, biographies, and even photographs, Copperfield guides the reader through centuries of magicians and illusionists—and maybe even explains a secret or two. Out Oct. 26.

The Bounce Back

When artist Neale’s latest exhibition goes up in smoke (literally), she finds herself at a personal and professional crossroads at the start of Addie Woolridge’s newest novel.

Leaving her art dreams behind, Neale seizes onto a basic office job at a small greeting card company. Her creativity just won’t quiet down, though, and with the support of a charming coworker, Neale starts wondering if there’s a different way to achieve her dreams. Out Oct. 26.

Trashlands: A Novel

If you like dystopian fiction, Alison’s Stine’s latest book is for you. In a not-too-distant future where global warming has redrawn coastlines and plastics are banned, Coral works in the polluted remains of Appalachia, “plucking” plastics from garbage to resell.

As she struggles to save up enough to rescue her child from forced factory labor, Coral crosses paths with a reporter who offers her the possibility of a changed future, but it won’t be easy. Out Oct. 26.

Amanda Prahl Amanda Prahl
Amanda Prahl is a freelance contributor to LifeSavvy. She has an MFA in dramatic writing, a BA in literature, and is a former faculty associate focusing on writing craft and history. Her articles have appeared on HowlRound, Slate, Bustle, BroadwayWorld, and ThoughtCo, among others. Read Full Bio »
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