• By Jacquelyn White
  • Posted Thursday, October 1, 2020

"Something Wicked this Way Comes" A Reading List for Teens

Well it’s official, the most wonderful time of the year is upon us. No...not that holiday season...that’s right it’s spooky time. Now I could just bombard you with all the spooky books but just like most things in life, there are nuances in reading ya spookiness that I want to explore. Levels to the spookiness. So as a slightly disturbed lion once said be prepared.

Today’s list is centered around witches.

The wise and the wicked by Rebecca Podos

What it's about: 16-year-old Ruby Chernyavsky family has traditions, like most families have tradition. They have birthday parties, family get-togethers, dishes only served during the holidays, you know traditions. They also have a tradition that isn’t so traditional. Turns out when the women in Ruby’s family enter their teenage years, they can predict the future. Well, not all of the future it’s really one specific event in the future. The very moment where they die. Can you imagine that? Knowing the exact date, time, and way you are going to die? Ruby’s demise? In a car on the way to her 18th birthday. Ruby’s resigned to her fate, but then she learns that her great aunt somehow managed to not only avoid her fated death but live for many years later. Now Ruby, along with her cousin, wants to know can she too change her fate? What is the truth behind the stories that have been passed down for generations?

Why you might like it: This time we have a mixture of magic, suspense, folklore, and some lowkey romance.  Anyone with an interest in old-world folklore and how family histories get twisted over time, how ancestral trauma, particularly among immigrant families, can resonate among younger generations in surprising ways will enjoy this book.

Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron

What it's about : Despite being the daughter of two powerful witch doctors, Arrah hasn't been gifted by the orisha of magic. This leads her to be seen as a disappointment to her powerfully magical family. When she turns 16, kids start disappearing, and Arrah is determined to figure out what’s going. Well in order to do that she decides to sacrifice years of her life for scraps of magic to uncover why children are going missing throughout the city. And of course, that backfires as it usually does and now she has to figure out how to stop a soul-devouring Demon King from escaping his prison.

Why you might like it : This book is for fans of folklore-inspired fantasy. It’s got drama, vengeance, greed, sacrifice, and star-crossed romance. The West African mythology that Barron draws from is very evident. This read is one of those books that ends up having you internally wondering some things like what is faith and what is free will?

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

What it's about : Despite coming from a long line of brujas, 17-year-old Alex Mortiz is desperate to ditch her powerful encantrix abilities. And on her Deathday when she comes into her full powers she’s devastated to learn that not only is she powerful she might just be the most powerful brujas in generations. So like any normal human she decides to nope right out of that situation. She tries a spell to get rid of her magic and naturally it backfires and endangers her whole family. Alex -- along with best friend Rishi and shady brujo Nova – must journey through the underworld of Los Lagos to save them.

Why you might like it : Labyrinth Lost succeeds in mixing the use of Latin American mythologies with an unexpected love story. The complex cast characters and realistic world-building are the backbones of this first in a series. I recommend this to fans of diverse or urban paranormal stories.

These Witches Don't Burn by Isabel Sterling

What it's about : Everyone knows about Salem and the witch trails right? Right. Well, imagine being a teen who lives in modern Salem and happens to be an Elemental Witch, who can manipulate the world around you, obviously you’ll have to keep your powers a secret from any nonwitches, like most of your friends. That’s Hannah’s life. So when gruesome evidence of dark magic surfaces in Salem, Hannah does the responsible thing and goes to her coven for help. But they all like "Nah fam we gonna go stand over here in this corner". This leaves her with only one ally in her investigation: her ex-girlfriend, fellow witch Veronica.

Why you might like it : If you like a drama-rich paranormal mystery with some romance sprinkled in this is the book is for you. But I got to warn you, Sterling, isn’t afraid to get a bit dark and in your face with it. But fans of the Netflix show The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina will enjoy this read.

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

What it's about : If you have read Rowell’s Fangirl then you would have gotten a glimpse of Simon Snow and the world of Watford. Now it’s your chance to fully submerse in this fantastical magical world. During his final year at the Watford School of Magicks, reluctant "Chosen One" Simon Snow is not having the best time. His girlfriend is distant, and he’s afraid he’ll lose touch with his best friend after graduation. He should be worrying about how to defeat the magic-devouring Humdrum -- yet all he can do is obsess about his sneering vampire roommate, Baz. Why did he disappear for weeks? What has he been doing? And why can't Simon stop thinking about him?

Why you might like it : Read it for sly use of fantasy tropes, a deliciously thorny romance, and an intriguing magic system. Those looking for Harry Potter alternatives, here you go. Anyone who’s stayed up late into the night reading Harry/Draco fanfic, here you go.

Part of this webstory HTML was inspired by April Mittelstaedt.

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