It’s no secret that I’m pretty witchy, so I thought I’d share these magical witch books for those of you looking for a little magic in your TBR piles.

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Original photo by Michael Dziedzic

I don’t have a set checklist for what makes a witch book good to me. But I do know that I like characters who use their agency, and I like weird historical bits and pieces.

I think it’s also important that the magic system make sense. You don’t want to have the magic save the day in a way that makes you ask why the protagonist waited until the climax to use a certain power when they could’ve just nipped the whole story in the bud. And I definitely lean more toward magics that aren’t so overwhelmingly powerful.

I like epic, sprawling tales, and short one-off stories. I like female and male witches. I like riding brooms and wiggling noses and chanting in Latin and scrying in shallow bowls of water.

Basically, if it’s magical, I’m here for it.

So, with all that in mind, I’m sharing a list of magical witch books that I believe will spellbind any reader. All of these books are on my shelves, my Kindle app, or someone has loaned them to me in the past. (Thanks, Mom!)

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(Psst! If witchy books aren’t your thing, then may I suggest some fun reads or escapist books? Or, if you need some witchy nonfiction, check out my 2020 syllabus for self-study.)

Magical Witch Books

001: Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey

Everything Sarah Gailey writes is a joy. They are such a capable and smart writer, and they are great at putting their characters in terrible situations and getting them out, but with the requisite punishment.

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Magic for Liars is a book about a private detective hired to investigate a murder at a magical high school. (Spoilers: This school is more like a real high school than Hogwarts — so the teens act like real teens.)

Not only is there magic, but there’s a very interesting murder mystery, and a strong pro-choice message. I really enjoyed this one, and recommend it if you’re an urban fantasy fan looking for something that isn’t so damn grimdark and gritty.

002: Livingston Girls by Briana Morgan

I am very lucky to have received a copy of this one as an ARC from Briana Morgan herself, and I love the whole premise of the story.

Our protagonist is a teen girl sent to a boarding school to escape some of her past transgressions (love me a girl with a messy past!) and she struggles to fit in at first. Until she gets to join a coven…

Along the way, she discovers some interesting things about the founding of the school, the true power of poetry, and love.

This story was so fun to read, and I’m anxiously awaiting the sequel. (No pressure, Briana. But if you could have that ready by the weekend, that would be great!)

003: The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness

I know a lot of people who didn’t like this series and compared the whole thing to Twilight. I disagree, though, there are vampires in this one, and a very broken alpha male.

(Show me an alpha male that isn’t broken, and I’ll call you a liar.)

(Also, stop hating on Twilight. I get that a lot of people didn’t like it and it’s hard to understand why some people do. But maybe the story isn’t for you. If stuff doesn’t hit you just right, it’s not for you. Move on.)

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(Also also, stop comparing books with vampires in them to Twilight. If that’s where the similarities end, then you’re not using your critical thinking skills when you’re reading.)

This trilogy is a big honking series, and I loved every single page of it. I remember having seen the books at all the bookstores, and then finally just borrowing them from my mom.

Because they’re so big, these are not books that you just throw into your bag and take with you. They are books that you’ll really fall into though. The settings are to die for, and include places like Oxford’s Bodleian Library and an ancient castle in France.

I wish I could share some of the other settings, but I don’t want to spoil this series for you. So, please go read it now, and then let me know when you’re done so we can swoon over it all together.

004: The Three Sisters Island Trilogy by Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts knows how to pace a story, y’all.

I love this series (and a lot of the series that Nora Roberts has put out) because the characters have such interesting occupations that they do well. And the setting is so perfect — an island off the coast of New England.

The series focuses on three different women, and each woman gets her own book and love story. And because it’s by Nora Roberts, each woman is real. She has a life and does things and lives like a real damn person, not some woman fainting at the thought of love or swooning the moment a dude walks in.

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I recommend this series alone for the setting and the details about a very neat book store and cafe. This was a really fun place to escape to in my brain.

005: When We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey

This is another story about teen witches, and another book by Sarah Gailey.

This novel starts when the main character has accidentally killed a boy with her magic on prom night while trying to put a condom on. 

Seriously, that’s the first page. Sarah Gailey really knows how to start novel, gang.

The story follows a group of friends who can do magic, and shows how the try to clean up after the accidental death all while finishing their senior year of high school.

This book was great for a number of reasons, but I really loved the relationships between the friends and how healthy they are. It was something that kind of made me nostalgic for a high school experience I didn’t have.

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What are Your Favorite Witch Books?

What stories about witches could you read over and over? Any books that you’d recommend for me? What kind of witches are your favorite to read about — modern, old school, or somewhere in between?

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