Book Review: These Witches Don't Burn by Isabel Sterling

TW: Animal death, death, dark magic, violence  I caught a glimpse of These Witches Don't Burn  months ago on Goodreads and ce...

TW: Animal death, death, dark magic, violence 

I caught a glimpse of These Witches Don't Burn months ago on Goodreads and certainly knew I wanted to read it just by the title and the cover. What I didn't realize was that the book wasn't only about teenage witches, it was about LGBTQ teenage witches and the book was a mystery/thriller type of sorts. And according to Goodreads, this one is just the first in what will be a series. What I didn't love was that (per the cover art), there are no teenage witches of color - at least within the main character group.

Hannah lives in Salem. That's right - that Salem, and she's part of a coven of elemental witches - meaning the power to control one or more of the elements. Her ex is part of the same coven and let's just say things are tense. But there appears to be dark magic suddenly appearing in town, and the adults don't really believe it's anything to be concerned about. So, obviously she has to team up with her ex to figure out who's behind it all. Oh, throw in some town newbies and a cute new crush. DRAAAAAMA!

I was super excited when I saw this was an extra for Book of the Month and one of the YA Book of the Month June picks. I'm a BOTM BFF, so I got to choose an extra book for my birthday - obviously I had to grab this one. It was a fairly quick read and I mostly read it on a flight to NYC. I will say I struggled in the beginning. The story was pretty standard rom-com with a mix of magic (which was a ton of fun), but the writing did not start off strong. I really had to push through those first couple of chapters. Eventually the writing matured and I felt a bit more invested in the characters and the surrounding story.

I thought the story was predictable, and while my mind jumped from character to character trying to figure out the suspect at first, I did figure it out fairly early in the book. There were a few other twists though, that weren't major plot points that I found surprising and that was fun.

"Her words cut deep, shame infecting the injured flesh." - These Witches Don't Burn, Isabel Sterling

Within this book, I both laughed and cried. I also got pretty endlessly annoyed and frustrated. Overall, I thought the story was pretty unique. I loved the diversity in terms of gender and sexuality, but I really would've loved if there were more POC characters, and I felt that was strongly lacking within the story. Though the story was pretty predictable, I can definitely see myself reading the next book in the series (once released). I say if you were of a fan of Undead Girl Gang, you'd likely enjoy this one as well.

Goodreads rating: ★★★★☆

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