Don't Like Being Scared? 11 New Books With Major Fall Vibes, And No Horror

by Kerri Jarema
Cute ginger cat is sleeping in the bed on warm blanket. Cold autumn or winter weekend while reading ...

I love the autumnal season and everything that comes with it: cooler days traipsing through fallen leaves, long cozy nights spent indoors with a warm drink and candles, all the amazing new books of fall 2019 to read. But I am also a self-confessed scaredy cat who would rather not indulge in "spooky season." While it often seems like, come October, everyone around me is watching classic horror films, reading new horror stories, and generally trying to scare themselves as much as possible, I know there are others like me out there who are perfectly content to rewatch Hocus Pocus for the 50th time and read books with fall vibes that lean more toward the warm and cozy than the dark and twisted.

Below are 11 new books, all released or to-be-released in 2019, that will give you major autumn vibes ⁠— some are set during the fall season so you'll get pumpkins, orange leaves and cozy knits galore, while others are perfect for seasonal reading because they feature slow-moving plots, atmospheric writing, are set in quaint small towns, or feature magic in one form or another. Whether you love romance, fantasy or literary fiction — and no matter if you're steering clear of scary reads entirely or just want an ethereal palate-cleaner between books on your more haunting TBR list — you'll find something to love among these new reads:

'Pumpkinheads' by Rainbow Rowell

Author Rainbow Rowell is basically the Queen of Autumn, so her new graphic novel with Faith Erin Hicks — about two teen co-workers spending one last Halloween at the local pumpkin patch before they head off to college — is a must-read for anyone who loves their fall treats and corn mazes with a side of romance.

Click here to buy.

'Evvie Drake Starts Over' by Linda Holmes

This slow-moving, cozy romance takes place over the course of a year, and follows the recently widowed Evvie Drake as she comes to terms with the realities of her marriage, life in a small town, her changing friendships, and a new romance with disgraced baseball player, Dean Tenney.

Click here to buy.

'Last True Poets of the Sea' by Julia Drake (Oct. 1)

This atmospheric novel follows Violet Larkin, a descendant of the founding family of Lyric, Maine. Back in town while her brother Sam is in treatment for a suicide attempt, Violet is determined to locate the shipwreck that is part of her family's history, with the help of amateur local historian Liv Stone.

Click here to buy.

'Back to September' by Melissa Brayden (Nov. 12)

To me, nothing says fall like a small town bookstore and a sweet romance. This one has both: Hannah Shephard would rather stay in her cozy apartment with a warm drink and a book than do anything else. But when her store is in trouble, she gets world famous romance novelist Parker Bristow to come for a signing, changing her life forever.

Click here to buy.

'Our Wayward Fate' by Gloria Chao (Oct. 15)

When Ali Chu and Chase Yu, the new kid in school who is also Taiwanese, start a relationship, Ali’s mom forces her to end it. As Ali digs into the why behind her mother’s disapproval, she uncovers life-changing secrets. Interspersed with snippets of the Chinese folktale The Butterfly Lovers, this is a page-turning family saga with a dash of romance.

Click here to buy.

'Olive, Again' by Elizabeth Strout (Oct. 15)

This fall, Elizabeth Strout is releasing her much-anticipated sequel to the Pultizer Prize-winning Olive Kitteridge. The book returns readers to the small town of Crosby, Maine and its most curmudgeonly resident, Olive, who struggles to understand not only her own life but the lives of her neighbors — including a teenager who is coming to terms with the loss of her father, and a nurse who confesses a secret high school crush.

Click here to buy.

'The Dreamers' by Karen Thompson Walker

If autumnal reading means lyrical writing and a literal dreamy atmosphere, Karen Thompson Walker's sophomore novel is a must-read for the season. This slow-moving, character driven novel follows several members of a small California town where residents are afflicted by a perplexing sleeping sickness.

Click here to buy.

'The Starless Sea' by Erin Morgenstern (Nov. 5)

The Night Circus author Erin Morgenstern's highly anticipated second book follows Zachary Ezra Rawlins, who discovers a mysterious book. Bewildered when he reads a story from his own childhood in its pages, he soon uncovers a series of clues that lead him to a to an ancient library, hidden below the surface of the earth. This whimsical, mysterious book is filled filled with atmospheric magic, and it's perfect for fall.

Click here to buy.

'Mooncakes' by Wendy Xu & Suzanne Walker (Oct. 15)

If you do want a little bit of witchcraft in your life this October but don't want to sleep with the lights on, Mooncakes is the book for you. This sweet graphic novel follows teen witch Nova Huang as she teams up with her childhood crush to fight dark forces who want to claim the magic in their New England town.

Click here to buy.

'Sorcery of Thorns' by Margaret Rogerson

For any reader who loves diving into fantasy in the fall, this YA novel is the one for you. The book centers on Elisabeth, who was raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, as she attempts to clear her name as suspect in a crime by teaming up with the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn and his mysterious demonic servant.

Click here to buy.

'Twice in a Blue Moon' by Christina Lauren (Oct. 22)

Christina Lauren's latest romance features a cozy cabins, crackling campfires, and the sort of slow-burn romance that makes this an autumn lover's dream. The book follows actress Tate Jones and screenwriter Sam Brandis, who are unexpectedly reunited on set, 14 years after their whirlwind courtship ended in a life-changing betrayal.

Click here to buy.