With Halloween a month away, and spooky month just around a corner, I wanted to share some sapphic thrillers/horrors that I enjoyed and I would recommend.
To Break A Covenant
author: Alison Ames
summary: Moon Basin has been haunted for as long as anyone can remember. It started when an explosion in the mine killed sixteen people, making the town impossible to live in. The ex-mining town relies on its haunted reputation to bring in tourists, but there’s more truth to the rumors than most are willing to admit, and the mine still has a hold on everyone who lives there.
Clem and Nina form a perfect loop—best friends forever, and perhaps something more. Their circle opens up for a strange girl named Lisey with a knack for training crows, and Piper, whose father is fascinated with the mine in a way that’s anything but ordinary. The people of New Basin start experiencing strange phenomena—sleepwalking, night terrors, voices that only they can hear. And no matter how many vans of ghost hunters roll through, nobody can get to the bottom of what’s really going on. Which is why the girls decide to enter the mine themselves.
recommended for: lovers of the found family trope, multimedia books, and strong female friend groups
To Break a Covenant was such a fun novel. I loved the little group of friends and their loyalty to each other, and seeing their determination to find out what is going on in their town. The friends to lovers romance was so cute, and the atmosphere of the novel was great.
author: Claire Legrand
summary: Her name is unimportant.
All you must know is that today she will become one of the four saints of Haven. The elders will mark her and place the red hood on her head. With her sisters, she will stand against the evil power that lives beneath the black mountain–an evil which has already killed nine of her village’s men.
She will tell no one of the white-eyed beasts that follow her. Or the faceless gray women tall as houses. Or the girls she saw kissing in the elm grove.
Today she will be a saint of Haven. She will rid her family of her mother’s shame at last and save her people from destruction. She is not afraid. Are you?
recommended if you like: visceral horror novels, gothic imagery, and reading about the wrath of teenage girls.
I still get shivers when I think about Extasia. It was such an ominous atmospheric novel, with such vivid imagery. It reminded me of both The Crucible and Dare Me – how dangerous the world can be to teenage girls, and how dangerous they can be right back.
The Luminous Dead
author: Caitlin Starling
summary: When Gyre Price lied her way into this expedition, she thought her biggest problems would be gear malfunctions. She also thought that the fat paycheck meant she’d get a skilled surface team keeping her safe.
Instead, she got Em.
Em sees nothing wrong with controlling Gyre’s body with drugs or withholding critical information to “ensure the smooth operation” of her expedition.
As Gyre descends, little inconsistencies—missing supplies, unexpected changes in the route, and, worst of all, shifts in Em’s motivations—drive her out of her depths. Lost and disoriented, Gyre finds her sense of control giving way to paranoia and anger. On her own in this mysterious, deadly place, surrounded by darkness and the unknown, Gyre must overcome more than just the dangerous terrain and the Tunneler which calls underground its home if she wants to make it out alive—she must confront the ghosts in her own head.
But how come she can’t shake the feeling she’s being followed?
recommended for: fans of space-themed thrillers, and stories where things go bump in the dark.
The Luminous Dead was such a brilliant atmospheric novel. It felt incredibly creepy and claustrophobic, and it was so easy to put myself in Gyre’s shoes as she felt more and more scared and distrustful of her environment. The romance was very much on the back-burner in the story, but nonetheless so interesting.
As I Descended
author: Robin Talley
summary: Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten are their school’s ultimate power couple—even if no one knows it but them.
Only one thing stands between them and their perfect future: campus superstar Delilah Dufrey.
Delilah is a legend at the exclusive Acheron Academy, and the presumptive winner of the distinguished Kingsley Prize. But what Delilah doesn’t know is that Lily and Maria are willing to do anything—absolutely anything—to make their dreams come true. And the first step is unseating Delilah for the Kingsley Prize.
Maria and Lily will stop at nothing to ensure their victory… But when feuds turn to fatalities, and madness begins to blur the distinction between what’s real and what is imagined, the girls must decide where they draw the line.
recommended for: anyone who loved Macbeth but thought “if only this was sapphic and set in a boarding school”, and for any dark academia fans out here.
I will read any Macbeth retelling, and the premise for this one fascinated me because boarding school storyline?? It worked so well, seeing the same themes but now in a school setting, with high-strung Type A students who will do anything to get ahead.
The Girls I’ve Been
author: Tess Sharpe
summary: Nora O’Malley’s been a lot of girls. As the daughter of a con-artist who targets criminal men, she grew up as her mother’s protégé. But when mom fell for the mark instead of conning him, Nora pulled the ultimate con: escape.
For five years Nora’s been playing at normal. But she needs to dust off the skills she ditched because she has three problems:
– #1: Her ex walked in on her with her girlfriend. Even though they’re all friends, Wes didn’t know about her and Iris.
– #2: The morning after Wes finds them kissing, they all have to meet to deposit the fundraiser money they raised at the bank. It’s a nightmare that goes from awkward to deadly, because:
– #3: Right after they enter bank, two guys start robbing it.
The bank robbers may be trouble, but Nora’s something else entirely. They have no idea who they’re really holding hostage…
recommended if you like: non-linear storylines, heists and hijinks, and morally grey protagonists.
Who doesn’t love reading about a chaotic bi character? The Girls I’ve Been focused on Nora, who is planning the greatest con she’s ever done: escape a bank heist. The book reintroduced my love for non-linear storylines, jumping back and forth between present day and Nora’s past, and kept me on my toes the entire time.
The Grimrose Girls
author: Laura Pohl
summary: Four troubled friends, One murdered girl.
After the mysterious death of their best friend, Ella, Yuki, and Rory are the talk of their elite school, Grimrose Académie. The police ruled it a suicide, but the trio are determined to find out what really happened.
When Nani Eszes arrives as their newest roommate, it sets into motion a series of events they couldn’t have imagined. As the girls retrace their friend’s last steps, they uncover dark secrets about themselves and their destinies, discovering they’re all cursed to repeat the brutal and gruesome endings to their stories until they can break the cycle.
recommended for: fans of dark academia, multiple povs, and dark fairytale retellings.
The Grimrose Girls brings the old Grimm fairy tales into a modern day. Mixing both mystery and horror, Pohl brings to life the fairy tales in a dark academia murder-mystery setting. I adored the diverse cast of characters and seeing how the fairy tales manifested differently for all of them, and just the sheer terror of how the girls’ lives will follow the Grimm tale.
Ace of Spades
author: Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
summary: When two Niveus Private Academy students, Devon Richards and Chiamaka Adebayo, are selected to be part of the elite school’s senior class prefects, it looks like their year is off to an amazing start.
Shortly after the announcement is made, though, someone who goes by Aces begins using anonymous text messages to reveal secrets about the two of them that turn their lives upside down and threaten every aspect of their carefully planned futures.
As Aces shows no sign of stopping, what seemed like a sick prank quickly turns into a dangerous game, with all the cards stacked against them. Can Devon and Chiamaka stop Aces before things become incredibly deadly?
recommended if you like: dark academia, Gossip Girl + Pretty Little Liars vibes, and a mystery that will keep you guessing
I loved Ace of Spades so much, even though it was one of the most stressful books I’ve ever read. I was on the edge of my seat reading this and desperate to find out how it ended. The mystery and thriller aspect of the book was so good and well written, and the book itself was so heard to put down.
Thank you for reading!
If you have any recs, do let me know!
5 thoughts on “recs: sapphic thrillers & horror novels”
Great post 🥰 I love Rules for Vanishing and The Dead and the Dark! 😊 To Break a Covenant sounds really great, it has a lot of my favorite buzzwords!
Ace of Spades sounds so good!
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It really was, I really recommend it!! 💛