Are witches the hot new trend this year in YA? If so, sign me up. I’m sold. I’m totally on board. I love a good story with magic and mayhem, full of characters that aren’t always what they seem. And that’s what novels about witches almost always deliver. Last year, readers were lucky enough to get Hexed, by Michelle Krys and Half Bad, by Sally Green. This year? We’re getting their sequels, and a number of awesome debuts as well.
From witch hunters who befriend witches to witches who fall in love with witch hunters, there are twists and turns galore waiting for you below. Get your to-be-read list ready, readers.
Hollywood Witch Hunter, by Valerie Tejeda
Out this month, Tejeda’s debut novel introduces readers to Iris, the only girl on a special ops team trained to kill witches. Iris gets assigned to Southern California and finds herself training Arlo, a new recruit in the Witch Hunters Special Ops Team. There’s a lot to like in this diverse, Buffy the Vampire Slayer-esque novel, including a fun love story, twists galore, and memorable characters you wish you could hang out with. And at a little over 230 pages, it’s easily devoured (or slain, perhaps?) in a single evening.
Charmed, by Michelle Krys
Hexed was one of my favorite debuts last year, and Charmed picks up right where the first book left off. Indigo’s best friend, Paige, has gone missing, and Indigo can’t help but blame herself. The stakes are raised higher than ever before when Indie discovers where her friend is: an alternate dimension, an underworld packed full of horrors, and Indie is the only one who can save her. I challenge you to read Krys’s series and not ship Indie and Bishop. You cannot do it. You can’t. Oh, and bonus? For $1.99 you can pick up Krys’s Blackwood, a short story that serves as a prequel to Hexed.
The Witch Hunter, by Virginia Boecker
Say you’re a witch hunter. You’re going around, doing your thing. Slaying witches, delivering swift justice to those practicing witchcraft. All that good stuff. Now, imagine you get accused of being a witch yourself, in an era when that accusation gets you arrested and burned. That’s how Boecker’s The Witch Hunter starts, and things get even more intense from there, aligning accused witch hunter Elizabeth with one of her mortal enemies, Nicholas, one of the most powerful wizards in the realm. Lots of magic and political intrigue fill these pages, making for an intense, riveting read. Sequel, please.
Half Wild, by Sally Green
Speaking of sequels, here we have the second book in Sally Green’s Half Bad trilogy. Half Bad introduced readers to Nathan, the son of one of the most powerful, violent witches in the world. In the second novel, he’s being hunted by everyone, in a world where warring factions of witches are battling it out among unwitting humans. Danger is everywhere in this thrilling sequel, and I’ll be eagerly awaiting the arrival of Half Lost in 2016.
Blood & Salt, by Kim Liggett
This is the part where I torture you, dear blog readers: this book and the next aren’t out yet. And you are absolutely going to want them. The marketing speak for Blood & Salt refers to it as a Romeo & Juliet meets Children of the Corn, and I can absolutely see that. Set in modern times, Liggett’s debut novel introduces you to Ash Larkin, a girl who has grown up with her quirky, spiritual mother and her cynical, levelheaded brother. When her mom goes missing, Ash goes on a mission to save her…and quickly discovers all the stories her mother told her, of magic and alchemy, witches and immortality, were in fact true. And hidden in the cornfields of Kansas sits a village lost to the modern world, filled with some seriously dark magic. I’ll say it right now, this is one of my favorite books of the year, and I’m sorry you have to wait until September to get it.
Truthwitch, by Susan Dennard
Some of you might know Susan Dennard from her amazing Something Strange and Deadly series. Well, she’s back, with a tetralogy called The Witchlands. The first book, Truthwitch, doesn’t quite come out this year, but it’s close, debuting on January 5. The new series centers on different kinds of magical skills, called witcheries, that some people are born with. In the case of Safiya, she’s a Truthwitch, born with the ability to tell when someone is lying. Her friend, Iseult, is a Threadwitch, able to see how people are tied together. As war makes its way to the realm, the two have to battle their way past enemies galore to hold onto their freedom.