Illustration by Autumn Walters

Five new, cozy books for fall

As leaves fall and the air gets colder, students may want to seek out a newly released novel to welcome the new season. ​​These books are great for students wanting to catch up on mainstream mystery and horror. With these novels, students can discover new creative ways authors are writing their favorite genres.

If your summer reading list fell short, fall into these stories of queer romance and time travel! From dystopian tales like “I Who Have Never Known Men” to heartwarming stories like “Before the Coffee Gets Cold,” here is a list of five new books to get into the fall spirit. 


“I Who Have Never Known Men” by Jacqueline Harpman, translated by Ros Schwartz (1995)

I Who Have Never Known Men” begins with a young girl held in a cage underground. Along with 39 women, the girl realizes she is the only one who doesn’t know anything about the outside world. 

The men guarding the prison never talk, but they do supply the prisoners with the bare necessities. The women don’t know why they are being held prisoner or why there’s only one child. They only possess very vague details regarding their lives beforehand. 

One day, an alarm sounds in the prison and the guards abandon their posts. The women and girl take that opportunity to escape and are met with a barren plane of land. They see no one else around them and have no idea what happened to the world. 

Through a journey across the wasteland, the girl learns what details the older women remember about life “before.” The group discovers that there are more bunkers out there, but the prisoners haven’t had the opportunity to escape. 

With hardly any supplies, the older women start dying off one-by-one. Eager to create memories of her own, the girl sets out to learn what she wasn’t able to learn before.

Mysterious and bleak, “I Who Have Never Known Men” is a tale of friendship, curiosity and survival. Jacqueline Harpman effortlessly dives into what it would look like if a young girl grew up without men.    

You can purchase “I Who Have Never Known Men” at Barnes and Noble, Thriftbooks, or Amazon


“Before the Coffee Gets Cold” by Toshikazu Kawaguchi, translated by  Geoffrey Trousselot (2015)

Before the Coffee Gets Cold” addresses a timeless question that has both fascinated and concerned humans everywhere: What is the first thing someone would do if they could go back in time?  

A cafe in Tokyo called Funiculi Funicula has been open for more than 100 years. In addition to coffee, this cafe offers a chance to go back in time. The story follows the cafe staff as well as four customers wanting to take advantage of the cafe’s unique power. But the journey back in time is not as simple as it looks. 

There are interesting rules for the cafe’s time travel, such as staying in a designated seat and only visiting people who have been in the cafe before. The biggest rule, however, is that the customers must come back to the present before the coffee gets cold. 

Over the course of a summer, the story portrays the customers going back in time to mend family relationships and recover lost artifacts. 

Toshikazu Kawaguchi pulls at readers’ heartstrings in this story of love, loss and the chance to make things right. “Before the Coffee Gets Cold” is the first book in the series under the same title. 

You can purchase “Before the Coffee Gets Cold” at Barnes and Noble, Thriftbooks or Amazon.


“The Strange Case of The Alchemist’s Daughter” by Theodora Goss (2017)

Protagonist Mary Jekyll becomes curious about her father’s past after both of her parents’ murders. She learns that there is a reward for whoever has information on the whereabouts of Mr. Hyde, their killer. Wanting to solve her financial troubles, she follows a clue that suggests Mr. Hyde is close by. 

She teams up with Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson to continue the search for Mr. Hyde. However, her pursuit leads her to discover more women who have been left behind following neglect and experiments gone wrong. 

When Mary and the women stumble upon a secret group of power-hungry scientists, it becomes time for “the monsters to finally triumph over the monstrous.”  

You can purchase “The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter” at Barnes and Noble, Thriftbooks or Amazon.

“Plain Bad Heroines” by Emily M. Danforth & Sara Lautman (2020) 

Emily M. Danforth, author of “The Miseducation of Cameron Post,” is back with another queer novel, with a gothic mystery twist. 

The setting is  1902, and Flo and Cara are students at The Brookhants School for Girls. They are obsessed with each other and with the young, racy memoirist Mary Maclane. 

Flo and Cara decide to show their dedication by forming a private club called The Plain Bad Heroine’s Society. However, a club meeting leaves them both dead after a grizzly attack from hornets, with Mary’s book found between them. Less than five years later, three more students die, and Brookhant decides to shut down. 

Now, over a century later, Brookhant is back after Merritt Emmons publishes a book celebrating the school’s queer and feminist history. After Merritt’s book becomes a bestseller, a new horror movie inspired by Brookhants’ history is announced. 

When actresses Harper Harper and Audrey Wells are casted as Flo and Cara, Merritt decides to follow the film crew to Brookhant to shoot the film. But when history begins to repeat itself, it becomes “impossible to tell where the curse leaves off and Hollywood begins.”

Hollywood, horror and historical fiction unite as a triple threat in “Plain Bad Heroines,” which is paired with black and white illustrations by Sara Lautman. 

You can purchase “Plain Bad Heroines” at Barnes and Noble, Thriftbooks or Amazon.


“A Lesson in Vengeance” by Victoria Lee (2021)

Queer romance meets dark academia in “A Lesson in Vengeance,” when Felicity Morrow returns to Dalloway School a year after the death of her girlfriend. She is living in her old room in the Goodwin House, a dorm supposedly haunted by the spirits of five Dalloway students. 

Coined the Dalloway Five, the students were all rumored to be witches. Felicity was once drawn to the magic and mystery but after her tragic loss, she wants to move on. 

That is until she meets a new Dalloway student, Ellis Haley. At seventeen, Ellis is already a novelist, and she has decided to write her next masterpiece on the Dalloway Five. Ellis decides that Felicity’s history makes her the perfect resource. 

Naturally drawn to Ellis, Felicity can’t say no. However, when history starts repeating itself,

“Felicity will have to face the darkness in Dalloway–and in herself.” 
You can purchase “A Lesson in Vengeance” at Barnes and Noble, Thriftbooks or Amazon.