Who hasn’t wanted magical powers to get them through high school? These books all feature witches using one sort of magic or another. I’m including more pictures than usual because a lot of these books have gorgeous covers. (The top image is the TV cover for The Secret Circle)
1. Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova
Alex the teen witch does something highly unusual: she attempts to get rid of her powers! Of course, this sends her, her family, and a couple friends to a parallel universe. This story is full of adventure, while still keeping things somewhat humorous throughout.
2. The Secret Circle by L.J. Smith
This series is, in my opinion, one of the quintessential teen witch book series. There’s a small town, an old leather-bound book, drama, and evil powers. What more could you want? Having read this in middle school, I’m still slightly disappointed that my high school life didn’t turn out more like this book, with late-night parties, glowing candles, and spooky adventures fighting evil in the woods.
3. Blue is for Nightmares by Laura Faria Stolarz
One of the few boarding-school stories that takes place in the United States, this book is one of the most suspenseful and eerie books I’ve read–although there’s plenty of fun along the way! The characters feel very real and have great banter. There are a lot of spells cast and downright mysterious stuff, making it immersive while still having a great plot to flesh out the atmosphere.
4. A Chalice of Wind by Cate Tiernan
Two twins, Clio and Thais, are reunited after years apart. Meanwhile, a mysterious group of adults makes plans in between the chapters that alternate between the girls’ perspectives. Not the most suspenseful or interesting story, and the atmosphere leaves something to be desired, but if you’re looking for a quick high-school-drama read, it doesn’t get much better.
5. Spellcaster by Claudia Gray
Spellcaster has an entertaining and diverse cast that, although a bit cliched, turns the tropes in a whole new direction to make an old storyline original. Not to mention the spells that Nadia, the main character, casts are a whole new look at witchcraft, in which Nadia mixes together her emotions and memories to make magic. It’s a bit similar to other books, but like many of the other books on the list, it has a good atmosphere and a plot that promises more in the sequels. Plus, it has an awesome cover.
6. Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter
This book includes an odd combination of man-like shells with stars for eyes, a talking pangolin, a goofy wooden doll, an evil convenience store, and the process of turning into a dog. Oh, and Russian folklore. In New York City. Trying to describe the plot from there would be like trying to explain how to plug in a random tangle of wires found in a hacker’s basement…which is what makes it so fun.
7. Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix
Normally, I try not to get overly opinionated about book covers, but this is, in my humble opinion, one of the best covers on a Garth Nix book I have ever seen. (The original covers for the Keys to the Kingdom series being a close 2nd through 8th.) The story isn’t his best work, but it was definitely a cute, funny, historical fantasy read with a bit of disguise/transformation, which is a totally under-utilized trope outside of spy novels and most magical-girl anime.
8. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
I don’t need to tell you to read Harry Potter. It’s full of witches and wizards and you’ve probably read it five times already. That being said, it’s another quintessential teen witch read.
9. Sabriel by Garth Nix
This book was a bit dull at first, but it speeds up quickly and the whole concept of the anti-necromancy in this book puts it on the list, especially considering that it’s a great take on the “Hero’s Quest” trope. I haven’t read the other books in the series, but I’ve heard great things and I definitely recommend this first one. Unlike Newt’s Emerald, the cover isn’t all that exciting, but that can be forgiven.
10. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
If you want a quick, funny, book about a teen girl with powers who also talks kind of like an actual teenager, this is it. There’s also a really cute teen vampire girl who reminds me of many of my best friends. Once you fly through the first book, the sequels Demonglass and Spell Bound make a great conclusion.
Happy (spellbinding) reading!