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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


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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Free sample

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

Why I love 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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Member ratings (1,048)

  • Michelle G.

    Los Angeles, CA

    me and WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO??? absolutely positively obsessed with this book and these characters thankQ. loved the queer representation, the relationships, and the chaos. fully ready to coven up ฅ^•ﻌ•^ฅ

  • Liz G.

    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

  • Bree T.

    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

  • Kyra D.

    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).

  • Lauren M.

    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!