9 YA Books To Bring Some Magical Realism To Your Fall Reading

by Kerri Jarema

With the start of October on the horizon we are officially in the midst of fall (and I am fully embracing it, despite the 90 degree weather that is still plaguing me... thanks New York City). And that means it's time to start breaking out a huge stack of the cozy, atmospheric, and ethereal reads from our fall TBR piles. And Magical Realism is the perfect genre to dive into during this season, particularly if you are on the hunt for some Halloween reads with lots of magic, mystery and gorgeous writing that will give you all the eerie feels without the super-scary horror vibes.

For those unaware, Magical Realism is a literary genre that incorporates fantastic, mythical or supernatural elements into otherwise realistic fiction, and is associated particularly with Latin America and written by Latinx authors. The genre is filled to the brim with gorgeous writing, vibrant characters, and interesting plots inspired by existing folklore and fairytale for reads that will draw you in and keep you turning the page for more. It's just the sort of diverse escapist fiction we all need right now; a chance to get away from all the stresses of the real world while also embracing the best of it. Keep reading below for recommendations.

'Wild Beauty' by Anna-Marie McLemore (October 3, 2017)

For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens. The boy is a mystery to Estrella, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous.

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'All The Wind In The World' by Samantha Mabry (October 10, 2017)

Sarah Jacqueline Crow and James Holt work in the maguey fields that span the bone-dry Southwest. In this rough, transient landscape, Sarah Jac and James have fallen in love. Soon they will save up enough money to go east. But until then, they keep their heads down, and above all, their love secret. When a horrible accident forces Sarah Jac and James to start over on a new, possibly cursed ranch called the Real Marvelous, the delicate balance they’ve found begins to give way. And James and Sarah Jac will have to pay a frighteningly high price for their love.

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'Shadowhouse Fall' by Daniel José Older

Sierra and her friends love their new lives as shadowshapers, making art and creating change with the spirits of Brooklyn. Then Sierra receives a strange card depicting a beast called the Hound of Light—an image from the enigmatic, influential Deck of Worlds. The Deck tracks the players and powers of all the magical houses in the city, and when the real Hound begins to stalk Sierra through the streets, the shadowshapers know their next battle has arrived. To protect her family and friends, Sierra must take down the Hound and master the Deck of Worlds…or else she could lose all the things that matter most.

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'Summer Of The Mariposas' by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

When Odilia and her four sisters find a dead body in the swimming hole, they embark on a journey to return the dead man to his family in Mexico. With the supernatural aid of ghostly La Llorona via a magical earring, the girls travel a road of tribulation to their long-lost grandmother’s house. Along the way, they must outsmart a witch and her Evil Trinity: a wily warlock, a coven of vicious half-human barn owls, and a bloodthirsty chupacabras. Can these fantastic trials prepare Odilia and her sisters for what happens when they face their final test, returning home to the real world?

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'The Girl Who Could Silence The Wind' by Meg Medina

Sonia Ocampo was born on the night of the worst storm Tres Montes had ever seen. And when the winds stopped, an unshakable belief in the girl’s protective powers began. All her life, Sonia has been asked to pray for sick mothers or missing sons. Sonia knows she has no special powers; so when she gets a chance to travel to the city, she seizes it. At first, Sonia feels freedom in being treated like all the other girls. But when news arrives that her brother has disappeared, she learns that she can never truly leave the past behind.

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'City Of The Beasts' by Isabel Allende

Alexander Cold is about to join his fearless grandmother on the trip of a lifetime. An International Geographic expedition is headed to the dangerous, remote wilds of South America, on a mission to document the legendary Yeti of the Amazon known as the Beast. But there are many secrets hidden in the unexplored wilderness, as Alex and his new friend Nadia soon discover. Drawing on the strength of their spirit guides, both young people are led on a thrilling and unforgettable journey to the ultimate discovery.

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'The Art Of Disappearing' by Elena Perez

After dreaming about a classmate’s demise, Delia is shocked when she witnesses his last breath—just like she dreamt it. Ava insists Delia stop acting so strange, but Delia worries her abilities are beyond her control. Torn between who she is and who she wants to be, Delia wishes she could simply disappear. She doesn’t get her wish, but when someone close to her vanishes, Delia must use her gift to solve the mystery, before it’s too late.

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'Labyrinth Lost' by Zoraida Cordova

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust, but who may be Alex’s only chance at saving her family.

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'The Prince Of Mist' by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

It’s wartime, and the Carver family decides to leave the capital and move to a new home in a small coastal village. But from the minute they cross the threshold, strange things begin to happen. In that mysterious house there still lurks the spirit of Jacob, the previous owners’ son, who died by drowning. With the help of their new friend Roland, Max and Alicia Carver begin to explore the suspicious circumstances of that death and discover a diabolical character who has returned from the shadows to collect on a debt from the past. Soon the three friends find themselves caught up in an adventure of sunken ships and an enchanted stone garden, which will change their lives forever.

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