The best LGBT+ reads for spooky season

Who am I?

While I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself a fan of horror, I have recently found myself drawn to darker books—especially at this time of the year with Halloween just around the corner. As a bisexual non-binary person, I love finding books with diverse LGBT+ rep in them, so these are just a few of the spookier LGBT+ books I think would make for great autumnal reading. Plus, my own book—My Name is Magic—features all kinds of mythological werebeasties and a race to save the day before the traditional Finnish Kekri festival, an equivalent of Halloween, although it involves less candy and more fire.


I wrote...

My Name Is Magic

By Xan van Rooyen,

Book cover of My Name Is Magic

What is my book about?

Despite coming from a long line of powerful Finnish mages, and their name literally meaning magic, Taika can’t perform the simplest of spells. Life at Myrskyjärvi International School for the Magically Gifted goes from bad to worse when Taika sees a liekkiö and recognizes the spirit's voice begging for help as that of their former BFF/major crush whose recent absence from class hadn’t gone unnoticed. When more students go missing, Taika leads a race against time to save friends old and new before a powerful group of chaos mages can destroy everything Taika holds dear.

For fans of witchcraft and wizardry looking for an inclusive story, My Name Is Magic is a story about finding strength from within and potential where you least expect it.

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

Summer Sons

By Lee Mandelo,

Book cover of Summer Sons

Why this book?

To be honest, I was a little nervous of the blurb given the emphasis on fast cars and hard drugs, but this book ended up being the sweaty, sultry, sexy, Gothic horror book I didn't know I needed, way more dark academia than drag-racing drug-gang. I particularly appreciated the messy and authentic way in which the main character was allowed to grapple with his identity while processing his grief. I quite liked that no explicit labels were ever applied and that there was a more fluid approach to identity and sexuality in this book. So, if you're into slow-burn southern Gothic horror with lush and vivid prose and don’t mind a gruesome ghost or two, this book is for you!


The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

By V.E. Schwab,

Book cover of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Why this book?

I doubt this book needs much introduction, but oh my is this an outstanding read, perfect for cold, dark autumn evenings. This is a slow, introspective, gloriously self-indulgent book that explores the evergreen theme of the meaning of life and love through a refreshing story that is equal parts historical, romance, dark fantasy, and contemporary novel. If you're looking for a plot-driven, action orientated story, this might not be for you, but if you like your books like a Friday night curled up on the couch under a knitted blanket with a rich hot chocolate—spiked with something harder—a storm raging outside, and maybe a cat purring on your feet, then you will love this book.


The Scapegracers

By Hannah Abigail Clarke,

Book cover of The Scapegracers

Why this book?

This book is a lot like The Craft only queerer and so much cooler. The story features an eclectic group of teenagers who come together, despite their differences, to form a badass coven to perform even more badass magic, be that casting curses on annoying dudebros or love spells for the lesbian main character, all while trying to evade a vicious group of witch hunters determined to steal the coven’s magic. If you loved films like the aforementioned Craft or even Lost Boys, then you’ll enjoy this book that subverts the mean-girls trope while giving readers a story that is as horror-tinged as it is dark humor-filled.


Elatsoe

By Darcie Little Badger, Rovina Cai (illustrator),

Book cover of Elatsoe

Why this book?

This YA novel is unquestionably one of my all time favourite reads. It’s about an asexual Apache girl with her ghost-dog sidekick in a world full of magic including faeries and vampires. The prose, the plot, the characters, the narrative structure—it was all brilliant and brought to life the story of a girl who can raise the ghosts of dead animals, a skill from her Lipan Apache family. A story that could’ve remained delightfully cute and sweet takes a decidedly darker turn when Elatsoe’s cousin is the picture-perfect town of Willowbee. As Elatsoe begins to investigate, she uncovers some seriously gruesome secrets in an alternate version of small-town America shaped by magic and monsters.


House of Slaughter

By James Tynion IV, Tate Brombal, Chris Shehan (illustrator)

Book cover of House of Slaughter

Why this book?

Despite being a spin-off of the equally gruesome but less queer Something is Killing the Children, this graphic novels stands all on its own and deserves a spot on the list. Although, please consider yourself warned, as this is not a story for the faint of heart. This graphic novel is very much the origin story of a character who is mostly portrayed as more of a villain in the main series. This installment, however, is just as harrowing, and terrifying as the original, with gorgeous, vibrant panels that somehow manages to turn gore into fine art. 


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in LGBTQ topics and characters, the Apache, and teenagers?

5,888 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about LGBTQ topics and characters, the Apache, and teenagers.

LGBTQ Topics And Characters Explore 110 books about LGBTQ topics and characters
The Apache Explore 5 books about the Apache
Teenagers Explore 64 books about teenagers

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Beast Player, The Cruel Prince, and Sky in the Deep if you like this list.