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These Witches Don't Burn Paperback – April 28, 2020
"Devoted" by Dean Koontz
For the first time in paperback, from Dean Koontz, the master of suspense, comes an epic thriller about a terrifying killer and the singular compassion it will take to defeat him. | Learn more
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“Though this is not a coming-out story, Hannah’s proud lesbianism is prominent in this thoroughly entertaining mystery. With the presence of a fluffy romance and the promise of an action-packed sequel, readers will drink this one up.” —BCCB
"A quick, fun read with magic and light romance." —VOYA
“Propelled by suspenseful paranormal drama, Sterling’s debut also touches on deeper subject matter in its thoughtful depiction of the manipulative, potentially abusive relationship between Hannah and Veronica.” —Publishers Weekly
“Sterling’s rich, magical world dazzles readers with its fantastic intricacies. Suspense, romance, and wit go hand in hand, and the thrills run right up to the last page.” —Richelle Mead, #1 international bestselling author of The Glittering Court and Vampire Academy series
"An enchanting mystery, simmering with intrigue. Once you start These Witches Don't Burn, you'll be utterly spellbound." —Sarah Glenn Marsh, author of the Reign of the Fallen series
"These Witches Don’t Burn is an original, thrillingly romantic spin on the classic teen witch tale. Infused with page-turning suspense, bittersweet romance, shocking twists, and tragic turns, Sterling has written a standout debut. Never sentimental, often sweet, but unafraid to break your heart, the writing is as lovely, vibrant, and ruthless as its characters." —Dana Mele, author of People Like Us
"An enchanting debut from Isabel Sterling. I'd be in for the note-perfect f/f romance alone, but These Witches Don't Burn perfectly blends a fun teenage relationship story with a delightfully dark and twisty supernatural thriller. A lovely witchy book full of complicated girls and a world rich with queer characters. It'll leave you wanting a coven of your own." —Britta Lundin, author of Ship It and writer on Riverdale
"Sterling's debut meshes high magical stakes with the raw, real human emotions of broken hearts and new love, creating a book that's utterly bewitching in every way." —Dahlia Adler, author of Under the Lights
“A fun, fresh contemporary fantasy with one of the most endearing and authentic casts I've read. Complicated friendships, deeply relatable romantic entanglements, and Salem's long history make this book an unforgettable read.” —Katherine Locke, author of The Girl with the Red Balloon
About the Author
- Lexile Measure : HL660L
- Grade Level : 7 - 9
- Item Weight : 11 ounces
- Paperback : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0451480341
- ISBN-13 : 978-0451480347
- Product Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.86 x 8.31 inches
- Publisher : Razorbill; Reprint Edition (April 28, 2020)
- Language: : English
- Reading level : 12 - 17 years
- Best Sellers Rank: #63,704 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Overall, this book was adorable and I’m already looking forward to its second act. The characters were endearing and relatable. The dialogue was fluid and fit these teenage girls perfectly. The twists & turns kept everything fast-paced and, even though the concept could be considered “far-fetched,” it was believable & entertaining. The witchcraft isn’t all spells & darkness like most witchy books and Sterling emphasizes the way their elemental magic *feels* within their bodies, which was a neat & interesting breath-of-fresh-air take.
I’d recommend this to any young adult - he/she/they - and anyone with interest in witchcraft, teen drama, or the queer community. Five Rainbow Stars.
The types of witches in the book are actually widely acknowledged types of magic (in real life). I don’t know if the author is part of a coven or if she just did her research, but it makes the whole story come alive when you realize that you might be buying coffee from a member of one of these covens.
Okay, so let’s start with setting. I’ve only been to Salem three times, but Sterling put me back there pretty much immediately. From the touristy areas where all the witch shops are, to where the more suburban houses are, it was New England through and through. She did a great job at setting the scene and using the historic undercurrent to highlight the very real threat for her main characters in 2019. I loved how this modern day clan of witches lives and breathes the history of what happened in 17th century Salem, and Sterling’s writing made that happen for me.
Another thing I quite enjoyed about this book are the very real and relatable characters in this book. Hannah is a solid main character. She’s, like many of the other MCs I tend to like, not perfect, but learning and growing. She relies on others, seeks truth, doesn’t just accept things as fact, and questions everything the adults tell her to believe. Go Hannah!
She trusts her judgment and believes in her friendship with Gemma, even when she knows it goes against everything she’s ever learned. She trusts her heart and her mind. But she’s a teenager, so she’s also learning how to come to terms with heartbreak, and relationships. She’s also a really strong example of an unapologetic and badass lesbian. I love Sterling’s writing of her character.
At one point, a side character, Benton thinks he can persuade her to date him, and she’s like, um, “no dude, I’m gay.” The way Sterling injects the social commentary of turning girls straight here was so smooth and so easily done, just a quick conversation. Then it was done and handled, and then both Hannah and Benton move on, as friends.
Morgan is also badass. She’s bi, and so cool. Hannah assumes she’s a lesbian, there’s a clarifying convo in there about assumptions, and then they move on and it’s literally no problem. Another cool move by Sterling. Morgan is confident, calm, and perfect for Hannah— the complete opposite of Hannah’s ex, Veronica.
Veronica is the epitome of unhealthy relationship.
———-Okay, hold up————
Listen. I promise this book is about witches. But Sterling’s writing is SO GOOD we have to talk about how she writes these characters.
Okay, back to Veronica. So unhealthy. Manipulating. Wishy washy. She wants Hannah back, but only so Hannah doesn’t have someone else. Ugh. But so well written. Isabel Sterling. You are so so good at writing characters and character interactions. For real.
The plot itself is kind of like a mystery whodunit but with witches and a teenage love triange thrown in for good measure -- if you're into that sort of thing. As it’s in Salem, and it’s called These Witches Don’t Burn, there are some assumptions you can make, right? Someone wants to burn witches. So people are after Hannah - the witch. Despite, everything though, throughout the whole book, I wasn't actively trying to figure out who it was that was trying to hunt witches. I'm usually pretty good at guessing who the bad guy is, but this time, it took me a bit to figure it out.
I REALLY LIKED that. I liked not knowing. I didn’t want to figure it out. I wanted to enjoy the story and the mystery. I was so wrapped up in the characters and the drama of the romance and the family / clan dynamic that I didn’t guess who the witch hunter(s) was/were until the end.
These Witches Don't Burn was amazing. I am putting it in my classroom with a big huge 5 Stars on it so my kids know it was an amazing read.
Isabel is a debut author so the attachment she managed to cause between the characters and I is amazing. It normally takes a while for a character and I to click, if we even do, but Isabel managed to do just that within the first few pages of These Witches Don't Burn. Also, while I do not pick up much on the atmosphere of books, this one made me feel like I was in the middle of it all, watching these scenes unfold. I held my breath with these characters, I gasped with them.
Hannah is a character who is dealing with some PTSD of an incident in New York and she is also recovering from a breakup from her best friend and girlfriend, Veronica. The relationship between these two made me roll my eyes, not because of the cliche of it but because Veronica annoyed the crap out of me but I still adored her.
Another thing that this book touched on besides lesbian witches is the addition of bisexual characters as well as a transexual character! I had a feeling going into the book that the main character was lesbian but the addition of the bisexual representation and then the transexual character was a very welcome surprise.
Top reviews from other countries
This story was the perfect blend of fantasy and normality - A coven of witches living in a town, trying their best to not be discovered by the Regs (Non-witch folk, or Muggles if you prefer!) whilst the magical world appears to be going up in flames around them (Quite literally at times!). Then you have the normality mixed in; Hannah, teenage witch in high school, trying her best to get by whilst continually running into her ex-girlfriend, being hit on by oblivious guys, and trying to kick start a new relationship whilst being one of the most awkward flirters to walk the planet.
I was engrossed in this from the very first page, both following the day to day goings of Hannahs life, along with trying to unravel the mystery with her when strange magic starts happening, strange people appear in the town, and she comes closer and closer to being exposed as a witch to all the wrong people. I cannot wait for the sequel to come out!
Not only is there more than a handful of token queer characters, but the main character is queer.
I love witchcraft stories and love how the author has woven this world, where different types of witches exist.
I really hope there are more to come. Can’t wait to read the next one.