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Welcome to Read This Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that should absolutely be put at the top of your TBR pile. Recommended books will vary across genre and age category and include shiny new books, older books you may have missed, and some classics I suggest finally getting around to. Make space for another pile of books on your floor because here we go!
Today’s pick is a fun witchy read that takes place in present day Salem, Massachusetts.
These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling
Hannah works at the magical supply shop—not a shop of magic tricks but supplies for use in witchcraft. Hannah just finished her junior year of high school and recently broke up with her ex, Veronica, a graduating senior. Both Hannah and Veronica are witches. Specifically, they are Elemental witches who can both manipulate and draw power from the elements: earth, fire, air, and water. There are two other types of witches as well, Caster witches (who cast spells) and Blood witches. Blood witches are rare. They are also frowned upon and even feared by the other types of witches.
We learn right away that Hannah absolutely despises Veronica. It’s not super clear why they broke up but it all centers around a past terrifying experience during a trip. There was a Blood witch involved, so they’re both hyper-sensitive and paranoid about a Blood witch being around, but there haven’t been Blood witches in Salem in forever.
Hannah’s best friend is Gemma, who is a reg which is short for regular which is what the witches in this universe call non-witches. Gemma does not know that Hannah is a witch nor even that magic exists. As you can expect, Hannah would get in huge trouble with the council if that secret were let out. The person in charge of the coven is Lady Ariana, who is not someone to be reckoned with.
This book begins around the end of the school year but before graduation. There’s a celebratory bonfire that the incoming seniors and graduating seniors attend. This is where the excitement starts. There’s a scream and not far from the bonfire someone had started a different fire and by the looks of it, they were attempting and maybe even succeeding at some kind of magic. There’s blood. Was it a blood witch, even though there aren’t supposed to be any around for many decades? Was it some witch who isn’t part of their coven? Was it a reg trying their hand at magic?
This book is mystery and teen messiness and magic and really bad relationship decisions and I love mess! At the end of the book, it’s very clear that the story continues into the second book, This Coven Won’t Break (which is already available for purchase).
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That’s it for now, book-lovers!
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