Book Reviews

Fall Fantasy YA Reads

I know that fall is fully upon us, but I’m here to share some more fall reads that I think are perfect for the season. For me, fall is the epitome of fantasy – seriously how many more times am I going to type this – and so I wanted to share three releases I enjoyed this year. Keep reading this post for three mini book reviews of A Study in Drowning, If I Have to Be Haunted, and Together We Rot.

(Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links. For more information you can look at the Policy page. If you’re uncomfortable with that, know you can look up the book on any of the sites below to avoid the link)

A Study in Drowning by Ava Reid

Effy Sayre has always believed in fairy tales. Haunted by visions of the Fairy King since childhood, she’s had no choice. Her tattered copy of Angharad—Emrys Myrddin’s epic about a mortal girl who falls in love with the Fairy King, then destroys him—is the only thing keeping her afloat. So when Myrddin’s family announces a contest to redesign the late author’s estate, Effy feels certain it’s her destiny.

But musty, decrepit Hiraeth Manor is an impossible task, and its residents are far from welcoming. Including Preston Héloury, a stodgy young literature scholar determined to expose Myrddin as a fraud. As the two rivals piece together clues about Myrddin’s legacy, dark forces, both mortal and magical, conspire against them—and the truth may bring them both to ruin.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

I’ve deeply enjoyed everything I’ve read by Ava Reid, so when I saw A Study in Drowning I knew I had to read it. It’s a story about waterlogged secrets that can never be drowned. About houses with terrible chilling wind that brings forth shadows in lingering glances. It’s both heartbreaking and inspiring in the ways it tackles sexual assault and women’s voices as well as love and speaking out. All the tears were shed and I couldn’t stop reading even when I was waiting for my laundry to dry.

The rage was simmering in my bones while reading A Study in Drowning. It’s a book which left me feeling emotional on every side whether it be my tender aching desire for everyone to have soft spaces to land, support systems, and those who believe us. Or the boiling anger seething at the ways the literature and silencing of women’s voices, the ways the world of A Study in Drowning resembles the sexism in ours, and the predatory relationships haunting the pages. But A Study in Drowning is all about the tenderness in this world that they seek to steal, to break, to destroy.

About a history of men taking, heroes who break into flocks of shadowy birds and shard edges. And a house which is hiding secrets long bleached by darkness, rotted to the core, leaking out of hidden doors and contaminating the well of legacy. It’s deeply atmospheric and a testament to survival, love, and the power of our voices. Find A Study in Drowning on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon (US)(UK),, & Blackwells.

If I Have to Be Haunted by Miranda Sun

Cara Tang doesn’t want to be haunted.

Look, the dead have issues, and Cara has enough of her own. Her overbearing mother insists she be the “perfect” Chinese American daughter—which means suppressing her ghost-speaking powers—and she keeps getting into fights with Zacharias Coleson, the local golden boy whose smirk makes her want to set things on fire.

Then she stumbles across Zach’s dead body in the woods. He’s even more infuriating as a ghost, but Cara’s the only one who can see him—and save him.

Agreeing to resurrect him puts her at odds with her mother, draws her into a dangerous liminal world of monsters and magic—and worse, leaves her stuck with Zach. Yet as she and Zach grow closer, forced to depend on each other to survive, Cara finds the most terrifying thing is that she might not hate him so much after all.

Maybe this is why her mother warned her about ghosts.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Spirits and high school, we love a good nemesis so I was so excited for If I Have to Be Haunted. I also grew up reading the Mediator series, so I’ve been preparing for years now. I immediately loved that If I Have to Be Haunted is rooted not only in her family, but also in the divide she feels between her mother and her grandmother. Between embracing her powers and ignoring them. This book is perfect for those who love rivalries and reluctant allies because what’s more perfect than having to try to save her rival from death?

Within If I Have to Be Haunted, Sun asks whether or not Cara really has what it takes. If she knows what she can or cannot sacrifice to save Zach. It’s a story about power and not knowing if she should embrace it or not. With lots of action and plenty of swooning, if you love the idea of ghostly rivals then this is for you. Find If I Have to Be Haunted on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon,, & Blackwells.

Together We Rot by Skyla Arndt

Wil Greene’s mom has been missing for over a year, and the police are ready to call the case closed–they claim she skipped town and you can’t find a woman who wants to disappear. But she knows her mom wouldn’t just leave…and she knows the family of her former best friend, Elwood Clarke, has something to do with it.

Elwood has been counting down the days until his 18th birthday–in dread. It marks leaving school and joining his pastor father in dedicating his life to their congregation, the Garden of Adam. But when he comes home after one night of after a final goodbye with his friends, already self-flagellating for the sins of drinking and disobeying his father, he discovers his path is not as virtuous as he thought. He’s not his father’s successor, but his sacrifice. For the woods he’s grown up with are thirsty, and must be paid in blood.

Now on the run from a family that wants him dead, he turns to the only one who will believe him: Wil. Together, they form a reluctant partnership; she’ll help him hide if he helps her find evidence that his family killed her mother. But in the end they dig up more secrets than they bargained for, unraveling decades of dark cult dealings in their town, led by the Clarke family.

And there’s a reason they need Elwood’s blood for their satanic rituals. Something inhuman is growing inside of him. Everywhere he goes, the plants come alive and the forest calls to him, and Wil isn’t sure if she can save the boy she can’t help but love.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the author. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Who else loves when you start a book and know that the main character is trouble in a town that hates trouble? That is instantly the vibe I got from Wil and the ways in which it is so clear that the town wants to sweep whatever happened to her mom under the rug. If you’ve ever grown up in a town or community which will do anything it can to hide the dirtiest secrets, the things they never want exposed to the light, then I think you’ll enjoy Together We Rot. Because the core of this story is characters who are determined to find the truth and a community who is determined to never let it breathe.

It’s also deeply committed to showcasing the religious trauma, the fact that communities and families have secrets and dangerous power. Words which twist upon themselves to form “collateral damage” and “necessary sacrifices”. The core of Together We Rot is what we will choose when it comes down to us or our family. And as the clock ticks down, as questions of the ‘greater good’ arise, what forces will prevail? Find Together We Rot on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon,, & Blackwells.

Share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.