Books for TMS Bookclub October. (Image: Tordotcom, Greenwillow Books, and Atria Books.)

The Mary Sue Book Club, October 2021: For Halloween Lovers (And the Haters)

Eerily titles and more for spooky-season.

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Another month, another round of books for The Mary Sue Book Club! While second to September in my opinion (for reasons I laid out last time), October awesome as it is both officially-officially fall and the start of spooky season. For this reason, we made sure to include seasonally-themed picks that range from the macabre murders to the campy paranormal romances. Also included, on-brand, is an Ethiopian retelling of Charlotte Brontë classic Jane Eyre.

If you are one of the few that don’t find the silliness or terror involved in Halloween fun, fear not … there is a newly translated graphic novel about a mama bear and her cubs, a YA Chinese fantasy, and more here just for you.

Squad by Maggie Tokuda-Hall and Lisa Sterle

Four people face away with werewolves and full-moon in the background. (Image: Greenwillow Books.)

(Image: Greenwillow Books.)

This paranormal romance/thriller (graphic novel) follows a new transfer student, Becca, after she is taken under the wing of the popular girls in her new elite school. She is startled and then intrigued when she finds the clique are werewolves that specifically prey on boys that take advantage of girls. What she sees as justice gets less and less clear as time passes. Further complicating the situation is Becca realizing she is in love with another member of the pack.

Squad releases Oct. 5.

My Monticello: Fiction by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson

Drawing of the Monitcello estate. (Image: Henry Holt & Company.)

(Image: Henry Holt & Company.)

Composed of six very different narratives made up of people fleeing a white supremacist militia in Charlottesville, this book explores shared histories and complicated inheritance—all while in the house of (IMO) the worst, most hypocritical founding father’s historic plantation. This book, and other works from Harper, received glowing praise from literary icons like Roxane Gay.

My Monticello releases Oct. 5.

GREEDY: Notes From a Bisexual Who Wants Too Much by Jen Winston

Typography/title reads "Greedy: Notes from a Bisexual Who Wants Too Much" book cover. (Image: Atria Books.)

(Image: Atria Books.)

This collection of essays offers a comedic introspection on the author’s experience with sexism, biphobia, and self-love. After a celebration of bisexuals (out or not) for Bisexual Awareness Week, it’s always good to look further into the real stories that make these affirmations so important.

GREEDY: Notes from a Bisexual Who Wants Too Much releases Oct. 5.

Oksi by Mari Ahokoivu and translated by Silja-Maaria Aronpuro

Watercolor of a bear as the cover of the book. (Image: Levine Querido.)

(Image: Levine Querido.)

Originally published in 2018 in Finnish, this newly translated graphic novel mixed science-fiction, fantasy, and Finnish mythology. The story follows a mother bear protecting her children and adopted creature, while the deities in the sky watch over them. A peek at these lush and emotive illustrations, has us very excited to read this book.

Oksi releases Oct. 12.

Jade Fire Gold by June CL Tan

Two warriors with swords back to back. (Image: Harperteen.)

(Image: Harperteen.)

When two lost souls cross paths, they each see each other as a tool to reclaim the past and take new control of their futures. Altan goes after his inherited throne, and Ahn aims to understand her magical powers as well as learn more about her lost family. This dark fantasy pays homage to the Xianxia novels of the early 1900s.

Jade Fire Gold releases Oct. 12.

Flowers for the Sea by Zin E. Rocklyn

Book cover features a woman being pulled by tentacles. (Image: Tordotcom.)

(Image: Tordotcom.)

Among the survivors crowed unto the ark is pregnant and ostracized Iraxi. Like the others on the boat, she escaped the now flooded kingdom they came from. While the monsters beyond the boat and depleting resources worry many, Iraxi bears the added concern that her incoming child may not be fully human. The unsettling gothic, dystopian novella is perfect for fans of horror and/or science fiction.

Flowers for the Sea releases Oct. 19.

Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood

Black woman with two braids in front of aging turquoise wallpaper. (Image: Wednesday Books.)

(Image: Wednesday Books.)

Described as an “Ethiopian-inspired fantasy retelling of Jane Eyre,” the paranormal fantasy novel follows an exorcist, Andromeda, hired to cleanse spaces of the Evil Eye. Desperate to develope clientele to hire her even without a license, Andromeda begins to work for the demanding, rich Magnus Rochester (who lives in a mansion in the middle of the desert). Despite mounting paranormal activities and deadly secrets, she begins to fall for Magnus.

Within These Wicked Walls releases Oct. 19.

She Kills Me: The True Stories of History’s Deadliest Women by Jennifer Wright

Book cover for "She Kills Me" featuring women in doorway with a KNIFE. (Image: Abrams Image.)

(Image: Abrams Image.)

Perfect for fans of true crime and thrillers, She Kills Me shares 40 stories of women who committed homicide. Some did this out of fear and self-defense, while others took life for revenge and pleasure. Either way, women’s role in murder is under-discussed, as we are often seen as the victims and not the perpetrators of violence. This non-fiction book is not for the squeamish. After finishing this, maybe check out her 2017 book Get Well Soon: History’s Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them

She Kills Me releases Oct. 26.

(featured image: Tordotcom, Greenwillow Books, and Atria Books.)

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Author
Alyssa Shotwell
(she/her) Award-winning artist and writer with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. She began her career in journalism in October 2017 when she joined her student newspaper as the Online Editor. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 & Oxygen Not Included.