Sapphic witches in modern day Salem with a mystery twist? Take my money. May was my first month of the Book of the Month YA club and wow, my selection, These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling did not disappoint. First off, the cover is totally gorgeous, and the pre-order stickers are absolutely adorable. I cannot wait to find the perfect place to put them.
These Witches Don’t Burn is set in a modern day Salem, Mass (home of the witch trials and namesake of my cat) and focuses on Hannah Walsh, a high-school aged Elemental Witch. Sure, she’s got witch lessons and school to focus on, but she’s also still reeling from a terrible breakup from her girlfriend, Veronica, who is also an Elemental witch in her coven, so it’s been hard to cut ties completely. When a casual party gets disrupted by what appears to be a ritual sacrifice Hannah is sure that a Blood Witch has come to town, maybe followed her. As time passes, Hannah’s personal life gets more and more complicated as she tries to figure out who is after the witches in Salem and how to protect herself and her coven. There’s mystery, there’s casual high school stuff, there’s blossoming love, and while I could have used a little more “witchcraft” exploration, I’m excited to see where the next books take us. Yeah,you heard me, there’s a sequel, and I kind of knew that going in, but this book still tells a complete story. It just keeps you wanting more. Something is happening in Salem, and Hannah’s going to figure it out.
I really enjoyed this book. It has a lot going on that I think could have been expounded on (like the witchcraft, the trip to NYC the month before) but I’m just hoping that means we get more and more books. I liked Hannah and her fellow characters, I was intrigued by the magic system in place (three kinds of witches) and I was devastated by the big loss, but I did kind of get glued into who the bad person was about 150 pages in. Nothing wrong with that, I still loved following Hannah’s journey to solve it as well. Can’t wait to see where the next book takes us.