Seeing witches and witchcraft represented in fiction is always a lot of fun. Sometimes these representations are funny because they are so wrong; other times, they can warm our hearts because of the respect and power given to those who choose to follow the path. My favorite way to consume fiction is through reading books (when I have the time), so I thought it would be fun to look at some of the best witchy books I have read. \nBooks were chosen based on how well-written and fun to read they are. I’ll give bonus points on the accuracy of the witchcraft depicted, but it isn’t a top priority, since most fiction exaggerates magick and its effects for the sake of dramatics. I also included a variety of categories – Young Adult, Adult Fiction, and Children’s books – to ensure there would be something for everyone to enjoy!\n\n\n\n Sweep by Cate Tiernan\n\n\nThere are a lot of flaws in the Sweep series – it is overdramatic, most of its representation is heavy handed, and everything always seems a little too convenient for Morgan, the main character. However, the series is still a lot of fun. Morgan was born and raised a Catholic, but her whole world changes when she discovers Wicca, as well as the attention of Cal, the new boy in town. Tiernan shows her research in scenes where Morgan’s coven discusses gemstones, runes, and moon phases and takes the time to detail rituals and meditations. It’s an accessible read for beginners and an easy one for experienced witches! \n\n\n The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling\n\nHarry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was one of the first YA\/children’s books to depict witchcraft and was met with bouts of controversy as a result. The story of Harry and his friends at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry is one that many of us grew up on, and there is even more to be gained from the series when you read it as an adult. Featuring strong and iconic characters, the Harry Potter series showed us that destiny could always be changed. It was an ode to friendship and bravery and pushed many of us to question authority and the status quo. \n \n\n\n Bless me, Ultima by Rudolpho Anaya\n\n\nThis might have been my introduction to Chicano literature, and the story still holds up after years and years of other witchy books coming out. It is a beautiful story about the mentor-mentee relationship between Ultima, a curandero (a traditional healer), and Antonio Márez y Luna, a boy fast approaching adulthood. While no character could be strictly defined as a witch, the novel looks at folk magic and medicine, and in the tradition of magical realism, paints a mystical picture of New Mexico and her people.\n \n\n\n The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow\n\n\nThis book is a recently published novel that follows the three Eastwood sisters – Juniper, Agnes, and Beatrice – on their journey to reclaim the witchcraft stolen from them by society. Taking place in the year 1893, The Once and Future Witches connects the suffragist movement and witchcraft, showing how both are intended to liberate women, but can also hinder them if done the wrong way, especially when it comes to women of color. One of my favorite aspects of this book is the heavy triple goddess imagery; each Eastwood sister is associated with one facet of the Triple Goddess, and it plays a heavy role in that character’s arc.\n (I’d like to issue a content warning – Harrow does not shy away from violence against women, and some scenes can be intense to read.) \n\n\n\n Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman \n\n\nYou know that Practical Magic had to go on this list. It’s considered a witchy staple at this point! It follows Gillian and Sally Owens, sisters with a family history steeped in witchcraft, who have been ostracized their whole lives. To cope, the sisters take opposing paths in life, resulting in dead boyfriends, investigations, and love spells. It isn’t easy, but Gillian and Sally unite to work together and protect each other, showing the value of sisterhood. I feel guilty for keeping this section so short, but at this point, I’m sure anyone reading this knows more about the book than I do! \n \n\n\n A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness\n\n\nI’ll be the first to admit that I struggled getting through this series. It’s long and drawn out, and Matthew is a problematic love interest. However, A Discovery of Witches combined science and witchcraft, taking a genetic approach to magic and the supernatural. It’s something that hasn’t been done too often, and it made Harkness’s mythos unique! Diana is also an interesting take on the “reluctant witch” trope, and she has strong connections with the female role models in her life. The book also jumpstarted a renewed interest in witchy books for publishers and readers, which is never a bad thing.\n\n\n\n Balefire by Cate Tiernan\n\n\nBalefire suffers from many of the same problems as the author’s previous series, but it somehow has more fun with them. Twins Thais and Cleo are doomed to meet a tragic fate, one wrapped up with a coven comprised of jaded immortal witches from an old French village. Set in New Orleans, the story’s magic draws from French culture, with a dash of African magic, creating a unique magic system that feels genuine. I especially like this book because there are nearly fifteen main characters, allowing for representation of genders, race, religion, philosophy, and more. Many people will probably enjoy the diversity of male witches as well. \n\n\n\n Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynn Jones\n\n\nHowl’s Moving Castle may have originally been written as a children’s book, but I think there’s a lot in this story for everyone to enjoy. It follows a young woman named Sophie who has been cursed by the Witch of the Waste and turned into an old woman. She meets an infamous wizard, Howl, and finds shelter in his moving castle, piloted by a fire demon. Sophie is a good representation of a cottage witch, as her magic comes from her sewing and ability to create and command the things around her. It’s also one of the few books I’ve read where magic itself is entirely neutral, leaving it up to the witch\/wizard to use it for good or evil.\n\n\n The Southern Vampire Mysteries series by Charlaine Harris\n\nThere is something to be said for more lighthearted witchy media, and I think the Sookie Stackhouse series (aka The Southern Vampire Mysteries) by Charlaine Harris is a good example of this. With titles like Dead as a Doornail and From Dead to Worse, it’s clear that readers aren’t meant to take the series as seriously as other witchy media. It could be debated that this series isn’t “witchy” so much as it is paranormal, but there are a lot of magical elements incorporated into the mundane setting, and witches are one of the magical “races” affecting things. Harris even differentiates between Wiccans and witches, offering them different roles within her mythos. It may not be strictly witchy, but it’s nice to have a break from fiction that shows witches being burned at the stake (literally and metaphorically). \n\n\n\n The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco\n\n\nThe Bone Witch is one of the most unique witchy books I have ever read. Focusing on Tea, a girl who accidentally resurrects her brother and is thus declared a “bone witch,” the series is a descent into anti-heroism and rebellion. Tea is suddenly maligned by society and pulled into the social circle of her fellow witches, where she learns that things may not be as they appear. Each witch, or asha, has a different type of ability, and they are treated as both performers and soldiers by their society. The series is heavily influenced by Asian culture, from the clothes the asha wear, to the monsters Tea is tasked with fighting, to the titles held by royalty and superiors. The Bone Witch is a beautiful book with equally engaging sequels, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a new witchy read. \n\nHonorable Mentions\nThe Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott\nThe Witch’s Kind by Louisa Morgan\nThe Babysitter’s Coven by Kate M. Williams\nA Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan\n\nDid I miss any vital witchy reads? Are there any upcoming books that are worth a look? I’d love to hear everyone’s favorite witchy books and what made them enjoy it so much.\n~Nicole\nAuthor Bio: Nicole is an eclectic witch with interests in the Tarot, Celtic mythology, gemstones, and folk magic. She has recently graduated college from the University of Arizona and is looking forward to expanding her magical knowledge with Inked Goddess Creations.