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Witchy Reads for the Summer Solstice

ATTENTION ALL WITCHY FRIENDS! June 20th is fast approaching- get your flower crowns and crystals ready because we are prepping for the summer solstice. And, of course, no preparation at NOVL would be complete without adding some witchy reads to your TBR. Luckily, the solstice coincides with the publication of STUNNING graphic novel celebrating the OG queens of the Salem witch trials (SPOOKY COINCIDENCE!). Whether you are a full-blown sorceress or a bit of a basic witch, we at NOVL have got you covered!

And remember: Change is inevitable, as expressed in nature, and we are READY FOR IT! *Insert witchy cackle here*

An Outbreak of Witchcraft

by Deborah Noyes, illustrated by M. Duffy

EEE! If you, like me, are kind of obsessed with the Salem witch trials, this is FOR. YOU. Winona Ryder had me in a death grip in The Crucible, guys. Vividly illustrated and researched, this graphic novel will make you feel like you are literally in the year 1692 in the Massachusetts Bay. It’s a must read, witches!

A gripping tale of paranoia at its worst, this bewitching narrative nonfiction graphic novel visually imagines the haunting details behind the Salem witch trials.

From 1692 to 1693, fear reigned in the small village of Salem, Massachusetts. The night Abigail Williams and Betty Paris first accused their servant of witchcraft was only the beginning. 

Several more accusations would follow suit, sparking a widespread panic that consumed Salem in one of the longest cases of witch trials in America, where more than twenty innocent lives were lost, and mistrust ran amok.

The community was in ruins, from the afflicted who fanned the flames of superstition to the judges who used their power unjustly and the accused who were falsely charged and hanged in consequence. In the absence of due process and with hysteria abounding, no one in Salem was safe.

Journey into how it all began in this arresting, true-to-life look at how lies became facts, friends turned to foes, and loved ones turned to enemies.

Wolfpack

by Amelia Brunskill

This novel-in-verse will cast a spell over you. Think Midsommar, think The VVitch, think gathering herbs all day and then dancing around the Maypole with all your best friends. COTTAGE CORE WITCH! I’m 100% obsessed!

This shocking, suspenseful novel about a group of teenage girls living in a cult reveals the terrifying paranoia and suspicion that emerges when one of them goes missing– perfect for fans of We Were Liars.

Nine girls bound together
in beautiful, virtuous Havenwood,
a refuge from an unsafe world.

Then there are eight
one of them gone — 
departed with no warning.
Did this member of their pack
stray willingly,
or did something more sinister occur?

The girls seek answers
not knowing if they should be angry
or frightened
or perhaps,
they should be both. 

So Witches We Became

by Jill Baguchinsky

This gorgeous and haunting novel is a must-have on any witchy shelf. Nell shows us that not all power is loud and in-your-face; the strongest people know when and where to unleash their might!

A queer, feminist spin on Stephen King’s The Mist, this ode to female-rage is a perfect pick for fans of She Is a Haunting, and a reminder that if “boys will be boys”, girls will fight back.

For high school senior Nell and her friends, a vacation house on a private Florida island sounds like the makings of a dream spring break. But Nell brings secrets with her—secrets that fuse with the island’s tragic history, trapping them all with a curse that surrounds the island in a toxic, vengeful mist and the surrounding waters with an unseen, devouring beast.   

Getting out alive means risking her friendships, her sanity, and even her own life. In order to save herself and her friends, Nell will have to face memories she’d rather leave behind, reveal the horrific truth behind the encounter that changed her life one year ago, and face the shadow that’s haunted her since childhood.  

Easier said than done. But when Nell’s friends reveal that they each brought secrets of their own, a solution even more dangerous than the curse begins to take shape. Reading like a YA feminist spin on Stephen King’s The Mist, So Witches We Became is a diverse, queer horror about female friendship, the emotional aftermath of surviving assault, and how to find power in the shadows of your past. 

Step into your witchy power or be swallowed by the curse–the choice is yours.

B*Witch

by Paige McKenzie and Nancy Ohlin

Murder mystery! Rival covens! What more could you want?!? If you love The Craft, this book is for you. Who says Halloween can only be once a year?!!? I’m here for the non-stop SPOOKS!

When the new girl in school joins a group of teen witches, she and her friends must team up with a rival coven to take down a mysterious killer.

New girl and secret witch Iris just wants to get through her first day of school without a panic attack. The last thing she expects is to be taken in by a coven of three witches: soft-spoken Greta, thoughtful and musical Ridley, and fiery and spirited Binx. They may be the first witches Iris has met IRL, but their coven is not alone in their small northwestern town.

The Triad is the other coven at their school. When the Triad’s not using spells to punish their exes or break up happy couples for fun, they practice dark magic. The two covens have a rivalry stretching all the way back to junior high.

When tragedy strikes and one of their own is murdered, the rival covens must band together to find out who is responsible before it’s too late. Someone’s anti-witch ideology has turned deadly . . . and one of them is next.

With an inclusive cast of teen witches who leap off the page with style, attitude, and charm, B*Witch is a bingeable read perfect for fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Mean Girls alike.

Kingdom of the Wicked

by Kerri Maniscalco

OK. If you haven’t already read this lush, darkly glamourous, iconic series, it’s about time you start, witches. Emilia and Vittoria are everything!!! Not to mention, this one has demons too… and it’s set in ITALY?! It’s giving Met Gala 2018.

From the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Stalking Jack the Ripper series comes a new blockbuster series…

Two sisters.
One brutal murder.
A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself…
And an intoxicating romance.

Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin…desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister’s killer and to seek vengeance at any cost–even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.

Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked–princes of Hell she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia’s side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women’s murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is as it seems…

From the moment Rachel’s family takes in her orphaned cousin Julia, strange things start to happen.

Rachel grows suspicious but soon finds herself alienated from her own life. Julia seems to have enchanted everyone to turn against her, leaving Rachel on her own to try and prove that Julia is a witch. One thing about Julia is certain-she is not who she says she is, and Rachel’s family is in grave danger.

Summer of Fear

by Lois Duncan

OMG you guys! Lois Duncan (of I Know What You Did Last Summer fame) has delivered with another summer page-turner. The mysterious Julia could or could NOT be a witch, and it’s up to Rachel to uncover the truth.

From the moment Rachel’s family takes in her orphaned cousin Julia, strange things start to happen.

Rachel grows suspicious but soon finds herself alienated from her own life. Julia seems to have enchanted everyone to turn against her, leaving Rachel on her own to try and prove that Julia is a witch. One thing about Julia is certain-she is not who she says she is, and Rachel’s family is in grave danger.

The Drowned Woods

by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Brimming with magic, this novel is set in the same realm as The Bone Houses and follows a magical water diviner. If that doesn’t draw you in, the cover ALONE is gorgeous enough to be added to your witchy shelf, just for the aesthetic! Did I mention there is a corgi?!?!

In this magical, ethereal fantasy novel from the bestselling author of The Bone Houses a crew led by a magic welding woman fight to take down the overpowered prince that used and abused them.​
 
Once upon a time, the kingdoms of Wales were rife with magic and conflict, and eighteen-year-old Mererid “Mer” is well-acquainted with both. She is the last living water diviner and has spent years running from the prince who bound her into his service. Under the prince’s orders, she located the wells of his enemies, and he poisoned them without her knowledge, causing hundreds of deaths. After discovering what he had done, Mer went to great lengths to disappear from his reach. Then Mer’s old handler returns with a proposition: use her powers to bring down the very prince that abused them both.
 
The best way to do that is to destroy the magical well that keeps the prince’s lands safe. With a motley crew of allies, including a fae-cursed young man, the lady of thieves, and a corgi that may or may not be a spy, Mer may finally be able to steal precious freedom and peace for herself. After all, a person with a knife is one thing…but a person with a cause can topple kingdoms.

The Drowned Woods—set in the same world as The Bone Houses but with a whole new, unforgettable cast of characters—is part heist novel, part dark fairy tale.