Recommended Reading: Teen Fiction - Witches
The origins of witches are largely unknown, but one of the earliest recorded references of a witch is in 1 Samuel (of the Hebrew Bible) believed to have been written between 931 B.C.E. and 721 B.C.E. Witches have practiced magic for thousands of years while facing persecution, as well as several witch trials throughout Europe and North America (most notably the Salem Witch Trials in 1692 C.E., which targeted several women accused of being witches). Many modern-day witches in the Western world openly practice Wicca, an official religion in the United States and Canada. Other modern-day witches continue to be persecuted and killed in certain countries in the world. You can read more about the history and origins of witches in this History.com article.
While the witches in the following books don't necessarily follow a particular religion, they practice their own style of magic - both ancient and modern. Each of these stories will enchant readers and leave them wanting more (and some of them DO give you more in sequels). So without further ado, here's our list of recommended witchy reads for teens.
Titles were chosen by Ellie Epperson, Youth Services Supervisor.
The Once & Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow (2020)
The year is 1893, and the Eastwood sisters - James, Agnes, and Beatrice - decide to join the suffragists of New Salem. The town of Salem, Massachusetts is known for its historic witch trials, but in 1893, the witch hunts have ended and the power of witches has been eradicated - or has it?
The Eastwood sisters join the suffragists to help further the women's movement and give a voice to women in America. But the sisters find themselves pursuing the forgotten magic of witches to lend power to their movement ultimately blending the women's and witch's movements. The sisters, however, find more than they bargained for - there are dark forces that don't want witches to thrive, and the sisters must delve into more complicated, older magic if they want the right to vote and, maybe even, to live.
A Wicked Magic by Sasha Laurens (2020)
Dan and Liss have a friendship built on their witchiness - that is to say, they've both been given the unbridled power of witches. And without any set of guidelines to follow, what could possibly go wrong?
The girls used The Black Book to gain their powers and practice magic. But things go south when one of their spells misfires. Specifically, Liss's boyfriend completely disappears, and subsequently, Liss and Dan's friendship falls apart. They each try to move forward but find themselves forced to work together when Liss realizes her boyfriend is alive but trapped by an evil entity. When Dan reenters Liss's life, Liss's friend Alexa is pushed to the side - but Alexa has magical secrets of her own...
As Dan and Liss try to bring back Liss's boyfriend, another teenager disappears, and the girls must find out what power they have awakened and how to undo whatever madness they've unleashed.
The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams (The Babysitters Coven Series #1) (2019)
Having a babysitters club is one way to make some cash without having a REAL job. At least that's how 17-year-old Esme feels about the babysitters club she's in charge of, plus she enjoys babysitting, so it's a win-win. But she's going to need a lot more babysitting gigs if she's going to pay for the destruction she seems to be causing lately...
Rebellious and gorgeous Cassandra is dying to get into Esme's babysitter's club - she will do whatever it takes. Cassandra seems like an odd choice for the club, but there's a simple reason she's trying so hard - a note left from her mom: "Find the babysitters."
Although seemingly opposite, Cassandra and Esme find common ground in their shared lineage of superpowers and their goal to protect the innocent from the ever-present powers of evil.
Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin (Serpent & Dove Series #1) (2019)
"Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." These are the words Reid Diggory, a Chasseur (hunter) for the Church lives by.
Lou is on the run and in hiding - she is a witch who has forsaken her magic so that she may live. Lou and Reid cross paths and, in a bizarre turn of events, end up married. How can they reconcile their deep-seated differences to let their love blossom? Hard choices must be made in this fantasy-romance blend of a novel.
The Witch Haven by Sasha Peyton Smith (2021)
Frances Hallowell is a 17-year-old seamstress in New York City. She mourns the recent death of her brother and wants answers to the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death. After an altercation with a strange man who ends up dead at her feet, Frances is whisked off to the Haxahaven Sanitarium to treat what she believes to be a deathly illness. But when she arrives at the Sanitarium, she finds not a hospital, but a school for witches.
The rules at Haxahaven are clear:
1) Mind Your Instructors
2) No Unsupervised Spellwork
3) Don't Leave After Dark
The headmistress warns Frances of the dangers that magic can hold. But Frances is determined to find answers to her brother's death, and the safe magic of Haxahaven won't produce those answers. As Frances' powers grow she attracts the attention of a power-hungry leader, desperate to control Manhattan. And ultimately, she must choose between the safety of her fellow witches and revenge for her brother.
We hope you enjoyed this list. Do you have a favorite witch book or series? Let us know in the comments!