Witchy YA Books Sure To Put a Spell on You
by Devon A. Corneal
The days are getting shorter, the nights longer, and a chill will soon be in the air. It’s the perfect time to read books with a bit of magic and mystery, and there’s nothing more magical than witches. Forget what you know about warts and broomsticks — the witches in these YA books are complex, bold, and unpredictable, whether they’re wearing corsets in 17th century Massachusetts or the coolest mini-skirts in modern times.
These Witches Don't Burn
Salem, Massachusetts, has been home to more than one witch story, but Isabel Sterling’s debut novel is anything but predictable. Sterling’s witches are high schoolers hiding their elemental magic from non-witches while tracking down the source of a new dark magic and dealing with complicated love triangles. And if this story leaves you wanting more, but sure to check out the second book in the series, This Coven Won’t Break.
A Wicked Magic
A powerful book of spells? Ancient demons? Teenage romance? Liss and Dan are dealing with it all and trying desperately to use their fledgling magic to save their friends and stop the darkness from consuming everything around them.
Camelot Rising Trilogy
Although the Arthurian legends are best known for Merlin, the Knights of the Round Table, and the doomed romance between Lancelot and Guinevere, Kiersten White reimagines Guinevere’s story in a bold departure from tradition. Here, Guinevere is a changeling who sacrifices everything to protect Arthur and Camelot. Her magic has the power to destroy or save everything she believes in.
Undead Girl Gang
If you like a dash of snark and a helping of fun with your witchcraft, Undead Girl Gang is for you. Where else could a Doc Martens-wearing teenager bring three girls back to life with a tube of lip gloss? That’s what Mila Flores does when she sets out to solve the suspicious death of her best friend—only to find herself wrangling an uncooperative group of undead mean girls into helping her track down the truth.
Cate Cahill and her sisters live in a New England town run by a puritanical order called the Brotherhood. Here, witches get hunted, and all women over the age of 17 must marry or join the nun-like Sisterhood. The Cahill girls are beautiful, educated, and hiding a deadly secret — they are witches, and it’s up to eldest sister Cate to keep them safe, no matter the cost.
How to Hang a Witch
How to Hang a Witch tells the story of Samantha Mather, who moves with her stepmother to Salem, Massachusetts, after her father becomes ill. Samantha (like the author, Adriana Mather) is a descendant of Cotton Mather, a Puritan minister who advocated for persecuting men and women during the Salem Witch trials, which makes Samantha less than popular at her new school. And as Samantha discovers, dark forces are once again at work in Salem. She can’t fight them alone, but thankfully, she has a 324-year-old ghost on her side.
Sunny was born in America, lives in Nigeria, and just discovered that she’s a witch. Or, more accurately, a “free agent” with magical powers. As she explores her talents, Sunny must team up with fellow free agents to stop a far more powerful criminal force. A rich exploration of African magic and mythology, Akata Witch is also an imaginative and extraordinary story of belonging and finding one’s place in the world.
Bad Witch Burning
Until now, Katrell has been using her ability to talk to the dead to make ends meet. She doesn’t have much choice — it’s that, or she starves. But when Katrell goes a step too far and raises someone from the dead, things get a lot more complicated.
The Babysitters Coven Series
If you think babysitters are just bored teenagers with nothing better to do on a Saturday night, think again. As Esme and Cassandra find out, some babysitters are powerful witches responsible for protecting the innocent from a host of evils.
Sabrina the Teenage Witch
I first met Sabrina as a kid reading comic books, then again when she appeared in her television show in the ‘90s, and again in the revamped Netflix series. Loyal fans will adore Kelly Thompson’s latest comic/graphic novel that captures the unique charms of our favorite teenage witch as she navigates her magical powers, boyfriends, best friends, and life with two witchy aunts.
Set in the 17th century, Witch Child tells the story of Mary Newbury, a powerful healer whose grandmother gets murdered for being a witch and who must flee to the New World for a chance at a better life. As Mary is about to learn, however, intolerance can reach across oceans.
The first book in the Half Bad trilogy takes place in modern-day England and follows 16-year-old Nathan who is half White witch (good) and half Black witch (evil). His mother is dead and his father is the world’s most powerful Black witch. Both sides are hunting him and there is no one he can trust. Trapped in a cage, Nathan has to find a way to escape before his 17th birthday, when his father will give him three gifts and he will come into his own as a witch — or he’ll die.
Egg and Spoon
Fans of Maguire’s unique spin on class fairy tales (think Wicked) will love this marvelous take on the Russian witch Baba Yaga. Set in Tsarist Russia, Egg and Spoon follows the lives of Elena and Ekaterina as they set out on an adventure that brings them into the orbit of the salty Baba Yaga, complete with her chicken-leg house and a plethora of magical creatures.
The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea
This book has it all — mermaids, witches, pirates, dangerous ocean journeys, and forbidden love. Flora has been living as the pirate Florian for years, just trying to survive. When she meets and falls in love with Lady Evelyn, the two will do anything to be together, even if that means challenging the Sea itself.