The Most-Anticipated Must-Read Books of Fall 2023

Autumn is coming whether you want it to or not, and there's no better time to order (or pre-order) a tall stack of cold-weather reads.

Leaf peeping season is just around the corner, for better or for worse. There’s no way to avoid summer’s end, so why not lean into autumn with a few good books? This year’s hotly anticipated fall releases—which include genres as different as literary horror, southern gothic and celebrity memoir—pair particularly well with cozy blankets, hot cocoa, apple cider doughnuts and September road trips. So, if you’re not excited about the chilly weather that’s just around the corner, you can at least look forward to making your way through these fall reads.

Under the Influence by Noelle Crooks

‘Under the Influence’. Simon & Schuster

Under the Influence is Crooks’ debut literary novel about the dark side of working for an influencer. After struggling in the New York publishing world, Harper Cruz is desperate to earn a salary that won’t leave her scrambling to make rent, and when she sees a lucrative job posted by an influencer, she takes it. Soon, she discovers that self-help influencer Charlotte Green has created a cult-like following of women across the country, but dazzled by her glamorous world, Harper is swept up in the long hours and persistent demands for loyalty. Eventually, she realizes that the job comes with a price. Out now.

Vampires of El Norte by Isabel Cañas

‘Vampires of El Norte’. Penguin Random House

The author of The Hacienda, Isabel Cañas, gives us a supernatural western in her highly anticipated second novel. In 1840s Mexico, which is threatened by the specter of war with the United States, the daughter of a rancher knows something sinister is lurking near the ranch at night and draining men of their blood. Believing his childhood sweetheart dead, Néstor has lived in grief ever since, working as a vaquero. Nena is a healer in the war, and Néstor is among the cavalry of ranchers and vaqueros. In the fight to survive, they must work together to see the dawn. Out now.

Godkiller by Hannah Kaner

‘Godkiller’. HarperCollins

Hannah Kaner’s Fantasy novel follows Kissen, who makes her living killing gods until she comes across Skedi, a god she cannot kill. Joined by a knight on a secret quest, she journeys to a ruined city where wild gods reside. Pursued by demons and into the midst of a civil war, Skedi and the knight must find and eradicate the rot at the heart of their world. Out now.

Assistant to the Villain by Hannah Nicole Maehrer

‘Assistant to the Villain’. Entangled Publishing, LLC

Inspired by her viral TikTok series, Assistant to the Villain is Hannah Nicole Maehrer’s adult debut about the sunshiney assistant to an evil villain and their unexpected romance. When a mishap involving an infamous bad guy results in an offer of employment, Evie Sage automatically says yes. But she discovers that it’s a harder job than she thought it would be when she develops a crush on her hot-but-evil boss. When someone wants to take the titular Villain down, Evie has to figure out exactly who is sabotaging his work. Out now.

The Spirit Bares Its Teeth by Andrew Joseph White

‘The Spirit Bares Its Teeth’. Peachtree Teen

Fans of Hell Followed With Us should pick up Andrew Joseph White’s next Horror: a highly anticipated Young Adult novel. Set in 1883, it shows us a London in which the veil between the living and dead has thinned and mediums talk to spirits in the Royal Speaker Society. Told that he’ll be married by the end of the year, sixteen-year-old Silas Bell would rather rip his eyes out than become a Speaker wife. He attempts to escape the arranged marriage but is shipped to Braxton’s Sanitorium and Finishing School. As the ghosts of missing students beg for his help, Silas endeavors to unravel the secrets of Braxton to the world. Release date: September 5.

A Shot in the Dark by Victoria Lee

‘A Shot in the Dark’. Penguin Random House

This Romance explores finding love after trauma. When Elisheva Cohen abandons the Orthodox community that raised her, she returns to Brooklyn to study photography with an art legend. But after Ely spends a celebratory night dancing at Queer Club Revel, she discovers that the man who swept her off her feet is her teacher, Wyatt Cole. As a transgender man, Wyatt is careful about publicizing his past, and Ely and Wyatt’s teacher-student relationship leaves them desperately wanting something out of their reach. Release date: September 5

Rouge by Mona Awad

‘Rouge’. Simon & Schuster

Returning to the shelves with another Horror novel, the author of Bunny presents the genre with a scary Snow White as told by a dress shop clerk. After Belle’s mother mysteriously dies, she returns home to Southern California, where she finds herself with a pair of red shoes at the entrance of a lavish spa favored by her mother. With the dark secrets of said mother’s obsessions and a mirror that has demons lurking on the other side, this tale about grief and beauty is one that will keep us up at night. Release date: September 12.

Starter Villain by John Scalzi

‘Starter Villain’. Macmillan

Bestselling author John Scalzi’s Starter Villain is, unlike many of his works, a sci-fi caper set on Earth in the present day. Charlie Fitzer inherits his mysterious uncle’s supervillain business, setting him up to become the next big name in villainy. Sounds great, but now Charlie has soulless enemies coming after him and it’s up to him to win a war, backed up by unionized dolphins, hyper-intelligent talking spy cats and a terrifying henchperson. Release date: September 19.

A Study in Drowning by Ava Reid

‘A Study in Drowning’. HarperTeen

Ava Reid’s first foray into the YA world is a Dark Academia novel. Author Emrys Myrddin’s epic about a mortal girl who falls in love with the Fairy King is the only thing keeping protagonist Effy afloat at her prestigious college. After entering a contest and traveling to the late author’s house, Effy is tasked with redesigning his decrepit estate before it crumbles into the sea. Meanwhile, Preston Héloury, a young literature scholar, is determined to prove that Effy’s favorite author is a fraud. As the two students investigate Myrddin’s manor for very different reasons, they discover dark forces are conspiring against them. Release date: September 19.

Kiss and Spell by Celestine Martin

‘Kiss and Spell’. Grand Central Publishing

The next in Celestine Martin’s Elemental Love series, Kiss and Spell is yet another beautiful Romance featuring Black witches. Ursula Caraway wants to live out her happily ever after in her small town. Self-proclaimed ‘Jersey Shore Witch’ Princess was all set up to have a perfect life, but now she’s stuck telling fortunes to the lovelorn. Prince Xavier Alder needs to find The One, but his notable lack of social skills presents a problem. When Ursula agrees to help Xavier break his curse, it’s the perfect opportunity for both of them to get what they want. Release date: September 26.

The Iliad translated by Emily Wilson

‘The Iliad’. W. W. Norton & Company

Emily Wilson’s translation of The Odyssey gave us a fresh interpretation of the epic that ultimately changed how Homer is read in English. Now, Wilson returns with another translation of Homer’s The Iliad. In this war tale, readers follow the gods’ scheming in the world of mortals as Wilson shapes the legendary battle scenes for a modern audience. Release date: September 26.

Starling House by Alix E. Harrow

‘Starling House’. Macmillan

New York Times bestselling author Alix E. Harrow’s next release is a fairy-tale-inspired Southern Gothic about small-town secrets. Eden, Kentucky is known as the home of the mysterious and reclusive nineteenth-century author of The Underland, E. Starling. Before she vanished from Eden, a house mysteriously appeared. An unexpected job offer could be protagonist Opal’s chance to get her brother, Arthur, out of Eden, and she’s willing to risk haunted houses and brooding men to do it. As sinister forces converge on Starling House, Opal and Arthur dig up long-forgotten secrets and must confront their fears. Release date: October 3.

Lore Olympus: Volume Five by Rachel Smythe

‘Lore Olympus: Volume Five’. Penguin Random House

Lore Olympus fans should pre-order the fifth volume in Rachel Smythe’s oh-so-compelling contemporary reimagining of Greek mythology. Hades has confessed his feelings for Persephone, but life is still uneasy for the goddess of spring in Olympus. After an encounter with Apollo, she flees into the depths of the Underworld. Hades saves her, then seeks out help from Artemis, Eros and Hera against the furious king of the gods, Zeus. Release date: October 3.

Sword Catcher by Cassandra Clare

‘Sword Catcher’. Random House Worlds

This is the first adult novel by the talented Cassandra Clare, author of the Shadowhunter Chronicles. In brief, it’s an epic fantasy series in which rich nobles and criminals search for wealth and power. An orphan stolen from the life he knew to become the Sword-Catcher and body double of the royal heir, Kel was raised alongside Prince Aurelian. And Lin Caster tends to the sick of Castellane but cannot heal her best friend. After a failed assassination brings Lin and Kel together, the ruler of Castellane’s underworld offers them each what they want most, but those discoveries could very well plunge the nation into war. Release date: October 10.

John Abernathy You Are Kind by Molly McGhee

‘John Abernathy You Are Kind’. Penguin Random House

Molly McGhee’s debut novel is a story about the cost of late-stage capitalism. Jobless and behind on his student loan payments, John Abernathy is absolutely drowning in debt. A government loan forgiveness program offers him a slice of hope until the required job has him auditing the dreams of white-collar workers and reporting their anxieties for removal. Release date: October 17.

The Woman In Me by Britney Spears

‘The Woman In Me’. Simon & Schuster

In June of 2021, the legendary Britney Spears spoke openly in court about living under a stifling conservatorship as the world watched and listened. Now, in this hotly anticipated memoir, Spears shares her harrowing story of fame, motherhood and the quest for freedom for the first time. Release date: October 24.

A Curse for True Love by Stephanie Garber

‘A Curse for True Love’. Macmillan

A Curse for True Love wraps up Stephanie Garber’s wildly popular YA Fantasy series, Once Upon a Broken Heart. In it, Evangeline Fox’s search for her happy ending seems almost at its end. Married to a handsome prince and living in a legendary castle, Evangeline has no idea of the devastating price she’s paid for her fairytale-perfect happily ever after, and her husband is determined to ensure she never finds out. Release date: October 24.

Bookshops & Bonedust by Travis Baldree

‘Bookshops & Bonedust’. Macmillan

In this prequel to the New York Times bestseller Legends & Lattes, Travis Baldree delivers even more high fantasy adventure. Battle-hungry orc Viv is a notorious mercenary for Rackam’s Ravens. When she’s wounded during a hunt for a powerful necromancer, she escapes to a small, sleepy beach town. And in a beleaguered bookshop with a foul-mouthed proprietor, Viv kicks off a new journey with a gnome and a suspicious traveler that includes both a summer fling and several skeletons. Release date: November 7.

Do Your Worst by Rosie Danan

‘Do Your Worst’. Penguin Random House

From bestselling rom-com author Rosie Danan comes a Paranormal-meets-modern Romance that follows Riley Rhodes, who is hired to break the curse plaguing a Scottish castle. Pleasantly surprised to meet a handsome stranger, Riley doesn’t expect that he will try to get her fired. But Clark Edgeware can’t allow Riley to threaten his last chance to redeem himself after a professional scandal. When they keep running into each other, the only thing they can do to avoid a fight is fool around. Release date: November 14.

The Queer Girl is Going to Be Okay by Dale Walls

‘The Queer Girl is Going to Be Okay’. Levine Querido

Queer love is something Dawn wants desperately but does not currently have. If she can capture it on film by interviewing those who do have it for her documentary project, she could win a scholarship to film school—and maybe also the love she craves. With best friends Edie and Georgia, Dawn hopes to reach her goal in this story of queer friendship and girlhood by Dale Walls. Release date: November 21.

Godly Heathens by H.E. Edgmon

‘Godly Heathens’. Macmillan

Godly Heathens by H.E. Edgmon follows Gem Echols, a nonbinary Seminole teen who lives in Gracie, Georgia. A strange new girl in town, Willa Mae Hardy, acts like she and he are old friends and seems to know an awful lot about him. After saving Gem from the Goddess of Death, Willa Mae finally reveals that she and Gem are reincarnated gods. As enemies from other pantheons attack them, worlds collide and the past catches up with both of them. Release date: November 28.

Kingdom of Without by Andrea Tang

‘Kingdom of Without’. Simon & Schuster

A young thief uses her wits to survive in a futuristic, alternate-history Beijing in this Les Misérables-inspired YA cyberpunk. Zhong Ning’er takes a job and is joined by an army boy, a former rebel leader trapped in a secret lab and a group of aspiring revolutionaries. Nearly a hundred and fifty years after General Yuan Shikai declared himself emperor in 1915, his descendants rule the country. Ning’er isn’t much of an optimist in this world, but as the stakes get bigger, she must decide whether to sit idly by or embrace hope. Release date: November 28.

Raiders of the Lost Heart by Jo Segura

‘Raiders of the Lost Heart’. Penguin Publishing Group

Rival archaeologists team up on a secret Aztec expedition in Jo Segura’s Romance novel, Raiders of the Lost Heart. Dr. Socorro “Corrie” Mejía’s life goal is to lead an expedition into the Mexican jungle to search for the long-lost remains of her ancestor, Chimalli, an ancient Aztec warrior. But when she’s invited to join an expedition to do just that, she doesn’t expect it to be led by Dr. Ford Matthews, her handsome nemesis. When the dig begins, a thief lurks around their campsite, forcing them to work together. Release date: December 5.

Ruthless Vows by Rebecca Ross

‘Ruthless Vows’. Macmillan

In the much-anticipated conclusion to the wildly popular Divine Rivals, Iris Winnow returns home heartbroken from the front, but war is just beginning. Roman is still missing. Iris and Attie are given another chance to report on Dacre’s movements. Roman, below Dacre’s realm, doesn’t remember his past. And as the days grow darker, Roman and Iris are brought closer as they risk their hearts and futures in a war-torn world. Release date: December 26.

The Most-Anticipated Must-Read Books of Fall 2023