98 books like Sawkill Girls

By Claire Legrand,

Here are 98 books that Sawkill Girls fans have personally recommended if you like Sawkill Girls. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Within These Wicked Walls

Lyssa Mia Smith Author Of Revelle

From my list on young adult fantasy with high-stakes romance.

Why am I passionate about this?

Long before I was an author of romantic fantasies, I was an avid reader of all things romance. Genre romance. Fantasy Romance. Romantic Fantasy. Romantic suspense. An adventure where the characters smile at each other for a heartbeat longer than usual. Give me even a hint of attraction between two characters, and I’m hooked. Give me life-or-death stakes and a first kiss that takes hundreds of pages, and I’m addicted. As a psychologist, helping young adults sort through real-life romance dilemmas is one of my favorite parts of the job. Now that I get to write these stories, I’ve made it my mission to devour all the best high-stakes YA romances I can find—or write.

Lyssa's book list on young adult fantasy with high-stakes romance

Lyssa Mia Smith Why did Lyssa love this book?

Jane Eyre retelling in Ethiopa with magic—need I say more? Rich, quirky Magnus lives in a seriously haunted house, and the only exorcist willing to help him is broke, blunt Andromeda. I could not love these two more. Magnus is a beautiful weirdo who has been haunted and spoiled for far too long, and Andromeda puts him in his place. The banter, the creepiness of the house that is literally trying to kill them—no wonder Reese Witherspoon picked this one for her book club! 

By Lauren Blackwood,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Within These Wicked Walls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?


"Lauren Blackwood’s can’t-miss debut is a magical, Ethiopian-inspired remix of Jane Eyre." - Harper's Bazaar

What the heart desires, the house destroys...

Andromeda is a debtera―an exorcist hired to cleanse households of the Evil Eye. She would be hired, that is, if her mentor hadn’t thrown her out before she could earn her license. Now her only hope of steady work is to find a Patron―a rich, well-connected individual who will vouch for her abilities.

When a handsome young heir named Magnus Rochester reaches out to hire her,…

Book cover of Dread Nation

C.M. Lockhart Author Of We Are the Origin

From my list on Black girls who aren’t all that nice.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Black woman who writes stories about Black girls who aren’t all that nice. And, to me, that means writing stories where Black girls are at the forefront of their stories and given the space to be whoever they are, wholly and without minimizing their character to make them fit into neat boxes next to others. I do this because being able to take up space as you are is, oftentimes, a privilege. And I want to make sure the stories I write offer that space to every reader who picks up one of my books.

C.M.'s book list on Black girls who aren’t all that nice

C.M. Lockhart Why did C.M. love this book?

I would not be a writer had I not read this book. It was the first time I saw a Black girl be the main character in a fantasy novel, and she doesn’t limit herself to playing by the rules.

Jane McKeene is a troublemaker with a smart mouth, but she’s fearless against the shamblers (zombies), resourceful, and her complicated friendship with Kate was something I loved every minute of.

By Justina Ireland,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Dread Nation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Trained at Miss Preston's School of Combat for Negro Girls in both weaponry and etiquette, Jane McKeene is poised for a successful career protecting the wealthy from the encroaching plague of walking dead. But when families begin to go missing, Jane uncovers a conspiracy that pits her against some powerful enemies. Sent far from home, Jane will need all her resourcefulness, wit and strength of character to survive.

A powerful, compelling tale of a young girl's journey through a hostile world, Jane McKeene is an unforgettable protagonist, and Dread Nation is an unforgettable book.

Book cover of The Dead and the Dark

Amelinda Bérubé Author Of Here There Are Monsters

From my list on young adult supernatural horror.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been terrified, fascinated, and delighted by scary stories my whole life, and my very favorites dabble in the speculative and supernatural: ghosts, monsters, magic, and worlds beyond our own. Give me all your haunted houses, your warped realities, your inexplicable horrors intruding on the everyday world. These fantastical elements are fraught with the power of nightmares and fairy tales, and that makes them the best tools we have to get around our news-hardened, cynical safeguards and explore what truly frightens us.

Amelinda's book list on young adult supernatural horror

Amelinda Bérubé Why did Amelinda love this book?

With a dash of sapphic romance and a heartbreaking final twist, this book imagines a sinister, sentient darkness lurking in a small town and egging its residents on into terrible acts. It cuts right to the core of a troubled family and the petty resentments that have built up between them. I totally cried.

By Courtney Gould,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Dead and the Dark as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Imagine Riverdale crossing streams with Stephen King's The Outsider and you'll get a sense of this gripping supernatural mystery...Gould's debut begins as a snappy paranormal yarn and unspools into a profound story about the complex interplay between grief, guilt, and identity." - Oprah Daily

Courtney Gould’s thrilling YA debut The Dead and the Dark is about the things that lurk in dark corners, the parts of you that can’t remain hidden, and about finding home in places―and people―you didn’t expect.

The Dark has been waiting―and it won't stay hidden any longer.

Something is wrong in Snakebite, Oregon. Teenagers are disappearing,…

Book cover of What We Harvest

Erica Waters Author Of The River Has Teeth

From my list on girls battling monsters.

Why am I passionate about this?

Maybe I’ve just watched too much Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I love stories about girls facing down terrifying monsters and coming out triumphant. These are often the kinds of books I like writing too, whether those monsters are ghosts, serial killers, or amorphous supernatural entities. As a writer of supernatural thrillers for teens, I know how empowering and cathartic it is to watch a character who has been through tough experiences face down her fears and fight for all she’s worth.

Erica's book list on girls battling monsters

Erica Waters Why did Erica love this book?

Action-packed and fast-moving, What We Harvest is one of those books that you can’t put down. A horrible (sentient?) blight infecting crops, animals, and people is a terrifying foe, and at times this book is brutal. But its main character and her friends are the most resilient, resourceful crew I’ve encountered in a long time. I rooted for them so hard.

By Ann Fraistat,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What We Harvest as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

For fans of Wilder Girls comes a nightmarish debut guaranteed to keep you up through the night, about an idyllic small town poisoned by its past, and one girl who must fight the strange disease that's slowly claiming everyone she loves.

Wren owes everything she has to her hometown, Hollow’s End, a centuries-old, picture-perfect slice of America. Tourists travel miles to marvel at its miracle crops, including the shimmering, iridescent wheat of Wren’s family’s farm. At least, they did. Until five months ago.
That’s when the Quicksilver blight first surfaced, poisoning the farms of Hollow’s End one by one. It…

Book cover of Dark Harvest

R.B. Thorne Author Of Listen: The Sound of Fear

From my list on when the body is dead, but the book goes on.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a fan of horror—specifically, supernatural horror—for as long as I can remember. Though the topic of life after death is perhaps one of the most long-standing debates in existence, almost every family has a story or two about things that can’t be explained. I’ve turned my lifelong interest in death, the occult, and how the two can coexist, into slow-burn horror stories for people who like a little weird with their fear. Stories that explore the beautiful complexity of queer people. Stories for the strange at heart.

R.B.'s book list on when the body is dead, but the book goes on

R.B. Thorne Why did R.B. love this book?

This book is fast and punchy. It’s filled with twists and a high level of unnerving emotions. Set during autumn harvest, this is an absolutely perfect Halloween read. It is rather short, which means a fast reader or someone with some time could devour it in a day or two. There’s also an upcoming film adaptation.

By Norman Partridge,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Dark Harvest as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It is Halloween, 1963. They call him the October Boy, or Ol' Hacksaw Face, or Sawtooth Jack. Whatever the name, everybody in this small Midwestern town knows who he is. How he rises from the cornfields every Halloween, a butcher knife in his hand, and makes his way toward town, where gangs of teenage boys eagerly await their chance to confront the legendary nightmare. Both the hunter and the hunted, the October Boy is the prize in an annual rite of life and death. Pete McCormick knows that killing the October Boy is his one chance to escape a dead-end…

Book cover of Chlorine

Iphigenia Jones Author Of What Would Wednesday Do?: Gothic Guidance and Macabre Musings from Your Favorite Addams Family Member

From my list on reading like Wednesday Addams and indulging your dark side.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since I was a child, I’ve been drawn to the creepy and kooky world of the Addams Family. I’ve watched every episode of the 1960s sitcom. I fell in love with the 90s films, and when the Netflix adaptation Wednesday aired, I streamed every episode immediately. I’ve written two books based on Wednesday and her family, and I have an upcoming cocktail book with recipes based on gothic literature. My love of horror books and my understanding of the Addams family led me to seek out the perfect list of Wednesday read-alikes.

Iphigenia's book list on reading like Wednesday Addams and indulging your dark side

Iphigenia Jones Why did Iphigenia love this book?

In this slow-burn literary horror, Ren Yu is an obsessive swimmer on her high school team. But beyond these human concerns, she is convinced that she is actually a mermaid. Her determination to assume her true form comes with no reservations, and she will achieve her transformation by any means necessary.

This book is strange. It’s both lyrical in some places and purposefully dry in others. It is an examination of an obsessive descent into madness, working to draw the reader into the protagonist’s unsettling perspective.

I found myself falling into Ren Yu’s world and swimming in her insanity, which Wednesday (and all the Addams) find quite satisfying.

By Jade Song,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Chlorine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the vein of The Pisces and The Vegetarian, Chlorine is a debut novel that blurs the line between a literary coming-of-age narrative and a dark unsettling horror tale, told from an adult perspective on the trials and tribulations of growing up in a society that puts pressure on young women and their bodies… a powerful, relevant novel of immigration, sapphic longing, and fierce, defiant becoming.

Ren Yu is a swimmer. Her daily life starts and ends with the pool. Her teammates are her only friends. Her coach is her guiding light. If she swims well enough, she will be…

Book cover of Mooncakes

Kelly Vincent Author Of Uglier

From my list on reminding us that nonbinary people are human too.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a Gen X kid growing up in a very conservative place, I struggled with gender, not feeling like the girl I was supposed to be. I knew I wasn’t a boy, and that just led to uncertainty and perpetual emotional discomfort. When I first heard about the concept of nonbinary gender a few years ago, my mind was blown. I knew if I were young, I would have immediately come out as nonbinary. But as an older person, it felt weird and pointless. Writing and reading books about people struggling with gender gave me the courage to finally be true to myself, and acknowledge that I am agender. 

Kelly's book list on reminding us that nonbinary people are human too

Kelly Vincent Why did Kelly love this book?

Reading this graphic novel just feels good. It’s so positive and full of all kinds of sweet relationships—romantic, friends, and family.

It’s also a fantastic portrayal of numerous people with something that makes them different from most others, including wearing hearing aids, lesbian grandmas, large bodies, and last but not least, being nonbinary. None of these things is an issue in the book, and instead they’re presented as being as normal as breathing.

I just love the normalization of human differences. Add to that the fun urban fantasy elements of magic and werewolves, and it’s a perfect mix.  

By Suzanne Walker, Wendy Xu (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mooncakes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

"Mooncakes is spellbinding. It had everything I love in a story-magic that felt inventive, characters that became my friends, and a romance that felt truly authentic. It was one of those books that I was sad to see end. Luckily, I can always reread." -Tillie Walden, creator of Spinning and On a Sunbeam

"Mooncakes transported me to a gorgeous magical realm that I never want to leave, and introduced me to lovable characters who stuck with me long after I finished reading. This graphic novel is the joyful fantasy romance we all need right now, and it might just restore…

Book cover of The Devouring Gray

David Ferraro Author Of The Alchemy of Moonlight

From my list on Gothic with dark and haunting family secrets.

Why am I passionate about this?

Horror has had a place in my life since my parents let me watch horror movies at far too young an age. But horror comes in many forms, and I’ve found that my love for atmosphere supersedes that of cheap thrills. In Gothic literature, atmosphere is everything. Done right, it paints an unsettling picture that builds tension for readers hoping to get lost in a disquieting world. A lover of classics, I was drawn to Gothic texts, from Dracula to the works of Edgar Allen Poe, and my Gothic novel The Alchemy of Moonlight is a love letter to the pioneers who shaped these shadowy worlds for generation of readers.

David's book list on Gothic with dark and haunting family secrets

David Ferraro Why did David love this book?

Roiling fog and shadows cloak the evil at the heart of this tale of hidden pasts and restrained magic.

Strange occurrences and vague prophecies push our cast of characters together, even if they would rather not be, creating an unsettling dynamic between the forces at work in the small town of Four Paths.

Violet doesn’t seem to fit in, but as a descendant of one of the founding families, it’s her destiny to confront what awakens in the woods, as well as her ties to a mysterious and dark legacy. In my opinion, this book is a perfect marriage of a Gothic novel and YA.

By C L Herman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Devouring Gray as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

On the edge of town, a beast haunts the woods, trapped in the Gray, its bonds loosening...

Uprooted from the city, Violet Saunders doesn't have much hope of fitting in at her new school in Four Paths, a town almost buried in the woodlands of rural New York. The fact that she's descended from one of the town's founders doesn't help much, either-her new neighbours treat her with distant respect, and something very like fear. When she meets Justin, May, Isaac, and Harper, all children of founder families, and sees the otherworldly destruction they can wreak, she starts to wonder…

Book cover of Pumpkinheads

G.G. Andrew Author Of Crazy, Sexy, Ghoulish

From my list on Halloween romance books.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a lifelong fan of Halloween, from the time I visited my town’s haunted house as a young kid in the 1980s to watching horror movies as an adult. As a writer of romance and romantic women’s fiction, love stories are also my jam. Many people think horror and romance aren’t compatible, but I combined both in my novella series Crazy, Sexy, Ghoulish, and the books in this list prove that Halloween and romance are meant to be.

G.G.'s book list on Halloween romance books

G.G. Andrew Why did G.G. love this book?

If I want to get into the mood for fall, there’s nothing better than reading this Rainbow Rowell graphic novel.

Set at a Nebraska pumpkin patch where high school seniors Josiah and Deja work each year, it’s absolutely crammed with the sights, sounds, and scents of the season leading up to Halloween–not to mention a sweet, slow-burn friends-to-lovers romance between two characters I absolutely rooted for.

By Rainbow Rowell, Faith Erin Hicks (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pumpkinheads as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

A 2020 Tayshas Reading List Selection
A 2020 Maverick Graphic Novel Reading List Selection

In Pumpkinheads, beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author Rainbow Rowell and Eisner Award–winning artist Faith Erin Hicks have teamed up to create this tender and hilarious story about two irresistible teens discovering what it means to leave behind a place―and a person―with no regrets.

Deja and Josiah are seasonal best friends.

Every autumn, all through high school, they’ve worked together at the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world. (Not many people know that the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world is…

Book cover of The Pigman

Kay Lynn Mangum Author Of The Secret Journal of Brett Colton

From my list on gritty YA that explore death, grief, and mourning.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a huge bookworm and have enjoyed writing stories of my own since my elementary school days. During junior high, high school, and college, along with a lot of literature courses, I enrolled in every creative writing class I could find. I loved the stories, poems, and novels dealing with hard subjects the most, which (of course) resulted in me writing my own piles of gritty short stories. Those short stories continue to inspire my writing today. No surprise that the novel I’m currently working on is also based on a dark, gritty story I wrote my freshman year of college. Wish me luck on getting this one published, too! 

Kay's book list on gritty YA that explore death, grief, and mourning

Kay Lynn Mangum Why did Kay love this book?

The Pigman was the first YA novel I ever read that’s told in two separate voices. Each chapter alternates between two high school sophomores: John Conlan and Lorraine Jenson. The two meet Angelo Pignati, a lonely widower, due to making a random prank phone call asking for a monetary donation to the “L. and J. Fund.” John and Lorraine nickname Mr. Pignati the “Pigman” because of his deceased wife’s collection of ceramic pigs. Their prank call soon leads to friendship, which horrifically ends in tragedy inadvertently caused by John and Lorraine, thus inspiring both to choose to deal with their grief by writing “a memorial epic” of their friend.

I love the writing style of alternating two character voices, which inspired me to write my own first novel in two voices. The dialogue in The Pigman is filled with dark humor and sarcasm, which for me, brings even more shock…

By Paul Zindel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Pigman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

One of the best-selling young adult books of all time, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Paul Zindel. John Conlan is nicknamed “The Bathroom Bomber” after setting off firecrackers in the boys’ bathroom 23 times without ever getting caught. John and his best friend, Lorraine, can never please their parents, and school is a chore. To pass the time, they play pranks on unsuspecting people and it's during one of these pranks that they meet the “Pigman.” In spite of themselves, John and Lorraine soon get caught up in Mr. Pignati’s zest for life. In fact, they become so involved that…

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