Halloween’s almost here, and the witching hour is upon us! We’re stacking our TBR pile high with spooky, scary reads to get us into the Halloween mood before the 31st.
Witches have been a staple in literature for centuries, so we’d be remiss not to include them in our must-reads for October. Here are some of our favourite YA and teen books about witches and magic.
Alicia Jasinska’s moody, otherworldly enemies-to-lovers tale is one of our top fantasy picks of 2020. It follows Lina, who is determined to protect her brother from being sacrificed by the Witch Queen. Teaming up with her crush, Thomas Lin, Lina keeps her brother safe – but regrettably draws the queen's attention. A twist of fate throws Lina and the Witch Queen, Eva, together. What ensues is a story of sacrifice, loyalty and finding love in the strangest of places, with some seriously witchy elements.
This cult-fave YA book by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl is a dark and twisty tale of magic, good versus evil and young (possibly doomed) love. Ethan's life is turned on its head when a mysterious new girl, Lena, moves to town. Magic begins to infiltrate his daily life, and he quickly realises that Lena is the culprit. They become friends, and soon are embroiled in a race against time to unearth family secrets and make things right before Lena's 16th birthday.
Two star crossed lovers. A circus that comes alive at night. An unfathomable magic.
Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus started as a NaNoWriMo project, and ended up as a bestselling book that's been published in numerous languages and optioned for film. It's full of lush imagery and detailed world-building that will transport you right into its pages. Magic is threaded through The Night Circus's intricate plot, so while it's not specifically witchy, it's definitely full of fantastical elements.
Kiki's Delivery Service, a fan-favourite film by Studio Ghibli, has been reinvigorated in this gorgeous graphic novel featuring Eiko Kadono's original story and new illustrations by Joe Todd Stanton. This bright, quirky story sees Kiki, a newly 13-year-old witch, embark on an exciting adventure with her cat Jiji in tow. She's no good at potions or tonics, spells or hexes, but flying is her forte – so she sets out on her broom to find a new village, per an age-old tradition followed by the witches in her family.
Although Philip Pullman's masterful, universally-adored His Dark Materials and Book of Dust series aren't explicitly about witches, they're full of magic sure to put you in the mystical mood this October. Young Lyra lives freely amongst the scholars of Jordan College, accompanied by her daemon, Pantalaimon. After witnessing a secret conversation that exposes dark elements of her world, Lyra is plunged into a series of risky adventures, meeting a cast of characters – some sinister, some soon-to-be friends – and coming of age along the way.
Already love the works of Philip Pullman? Good news, diehard fans – a new book from the master himself is coming! Serpentine is out on 20 October.
Set in modern day Salem, Massachusetts, These Witches Don't Burn follows Hannah, an Elemental witch with the power to control fire, earth, water, and air. To her friends, she's pretty normal, but behind the scenes she's trying to get to the bottom of a mysterious new energy in town, one she thinks might be stemming from the presence of a corrupt Dark witch. Couple that with ex-girlfriend and new crush problems, and Hannah's life is anything but simple. Lots of magical fun coupled with intriguing dark elements, this is a spellbinding witchy read.
Perhaps one of the most well-known books 'about witches', Arthur Miller's The Crucible is a bit of a different take for Halloween – but just as spooky nonetheless. It chronicles the Salem Witch Trials of the 1600s, where women were persecuted for what we'd now consider harmless activities, such as dancing and congregating in groups. A classic that can inspire critical thinking and great debate, The Crucible is a fitting, albeit sobering, Halloween read.
What are you reading this Halloween?