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All booksYoung adultThese Witches Don't Burn
These Witches Don't Burn by Isabel Sterling
Young adult

These Witches Don't Burn

We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Isabel Sterling, on your first book!

by Isabel Sterling

Quick take

Hannah is just your average teen—with one big sorcerous secret.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FastRead

    Fast read

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Feminist


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_LGBTQ

    LGBTQ+ themes

  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Series

    First in series

Why I love it

Britta Lundin
TV writer and author of Ship It

I read pretty broadly across genres. I love contemporary romance, I love action, I love fantasy. These Witches Don’t Burn deftly stirs all these genres together in a big cauldron, throwing in a coven of witches, frightening dark magic, and a cast rich with queer characters.

Hannah is an elemental witch living in modern day Salem. She leads a double life—attending coven meetings with her family, but keeping her witch identity a secret from her friends. But when dangerous dark magic shows up in Salem, Hannah must try to keep her community safe without revealing her own magic. On top of that, there’s a cute new girl in town, and Hannah’s finding it hard to figure out how to fit dating into her busy saving-the-world schedule.

This book is equal parts fun f/f love story and thrilling mystery. It’s fun to read a book set in the contemporary world with fantasy elements, and Isabel Sterling brings the world to life with fresh and thoughtful world-building. On top of that, there are some truly squee-worthy romantic moments. This is a book that’s able to appeal to readers of both contemporary and fantasy books, and that’s truly magical.

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Hannah's a witch, but not the kind you're thinking of. She's the real deal, an Elemental with the power to control fire, earth, water, and air. But even though she lives in Salem, Massachusetts, her magic is a secret she has to keep to herself. If she's ever caught using it in front of a Reg (read: non-witch), she could lose it. For good. So, Hannah spends most of her time avoiding her ex-girlfriend (and fellow Elemental Witch) Veronica, hanging out with her best friend, and working at the Fly by Night Cauldron selling candles and crystals to tourists, goths, and local Wiccans.

But dealing with her ex is the least of Hannah's concerns when a terrifying blood ritual interrupts the end-of-school-year bonfire. Evidence of dark magic begins to appear all over Salem, and Hannah's sure it's the work of a deadly Blood Witch. The issue is, her coven is less than convinced, forcing Hannah to team up with the last person she wants to see: Veronica.

While the pair attempt to smoke out the Blood Witch at a house party, Hannah meets Morgan, a cute new ballerina in town. But trying to date amid a supernatural crisis is easier said than done, and Hannah will have to test the limits of her power if she's going to save her coven and get the girl, especially when the attacks on Salem's witches become deadlier by the day.

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Check out a preview of These Witches Don't Burn.

Member thoughts

All (840)
All (840)
Love (429)
Like (354)
Dislike (57)
867 ratings
  • 49% Love
  • 41% Like
  • 7% Dislike
  • Evansville, WI

    The magic system in this book is well planned and thought out, and Sterling revealed the relevant information as needed in a way that didn’t feel awkward. The relationships are also spactacular. 9/10

  • Perrysburg, NY

    I absolutely loved this book. I had just recently visited Salem, MA and this book made me feel like I was right back there. The story was captivating and the characters, unique and realistic (mostly).

  • Holladay, UT

    This book has everything I want from a YA fantasy: an interesting magic system, memorable characters, and a splash of drama. The book worked as a stand-alone, and I was THRILLED a sequel is coming out

  • Hanover, PA

    This was one of my all time favorite books of the year. Sterling does an amazing job at creating characters that I truly felt connected to. I look forward to reading the sequel to this book very soon!

  • tivoli, NY

    Oh my goddess. I am obsessed with this book. I want everyone i know to read it. The storyline is amazing, swiftly crafted and gripping. I loved how many queer characters this story represented too!

  • Mountlake terrace , WA

    This book was amazing. With great lgbtq characters. I read it in 2 days. I couldn’t put it down. I can not wait till the sequel comes out. I’m hoping it will be turned into a multi book series.

  • Mount Shasta, CA

    These witches don’t burn, and yet, the desire to reveal their mysteries did as I devoured this novel. Easygoing and light to read, but maintains a mystery and develops characters extraordinarily.

  • Boston, MA

    Not only does it have an interesting story, but it is very well written which is something I love in YA fiction. It starts out a little slow but picks up. Overall it is a quick but enjoyable read.

  • Dayton, OH

    I love the inclusivity of this book. Gender identities/sexual preferences are not scoffed at or even responded to in any way...they just are. It's a soft read, but there are moments of adrenaline!

  • Lenexa, KS

    This was it. This was the book. It officially pulled me out of my slump. It was also an incredible read for the current season (spooky season) and had aspects, like witches, that I enjoyed a lot.

  • South Park, PA

    I really liked the world-building in this with the three distinct types of magic and their origin stories. I definitely suspected everyone at some point and was still surprised with the reveal.

  • Cleveland, OH

    I loved the characters; I found them relatable. I also loved the witchcraft throughout the story. The mystery kept me reading constantly. Overall it was a quick, easy, and very enjoyable read.

  • Dorr, MI

    I really enjoyed this book and couldn't put it down! I love all of the characters and how powerful the females in this story are. It has an interesting mystery to it as well as a fun romance.

  • Dedham, MA

    The reviews are spot on! I LOVED this book. Pulled me out of my reading slump, had me stalking the authors IG for the secone one, and is a quick read. LOVE LOVE LOVE! Super cute book. *swoon*

  • Houston, TX

    I did not expect to like this as much as I did! While I felt the main character mooned over her ex for too long, I did really enjoy this read and look forward to the next book in the series.

  • Rockland, ME

    This was a lot of fun to read. The (witchy) magic system was great and well developed. The characters were all well rounded, even if there are some you don't like. It was very entertaining.

  • College Station, TX

    This book captures your attentions from the very first page! I couldn’t put it down! The characters were relatable and the plot so intriguing, I finished the book in just a few hours!

  • Benton, AR

    One of the best YA books that I’ve read in a while! There were such great characters! You had to keep reading until you got to the end of the book. I will definitely read the sequel.

  • Davenport, FL

    I loved this book so much - I read it in a few hours! I did NOT see that plot twist coming at the end, and I just had so many emotions throughout the book. I can't wait for the sequel!

  • Ogden, UT

    This book was amazing. The character were all memorable and great. The story was great. Learning that a sequal is coming out makes me excited to go back into this world again.

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