Mystery, Drama, and Romance for Teens


Hannah has grown up in Salem, Massachussetts, knowing the truth about herself and the world around her:  witches exist, and she is among them. She also knows that her secrets aren't for everyone, and she that if she doesn't hide her elemental powers from non-magical humans she risks losing her abilities forever. Hannah learns spells on the side, but most of the time she is either with Gemma or working a shift at Fly by NIght Cauldron, a wiccan magic store, or dealing with her ex Veronica who keeps trying to get back together.

When a bloody bonfire ritual is discovered at a school party, Hannah's "normal" senior year is interrupted. Her coven thinks it was just a coincidence, but Hannah isn’t as sure. After signs of dark magic appear all over town, it’s up to her to find the dangerous witch responsible for the attacks. 

BTSYA / Teen Reader (13):
The relationships in the forefront of the plot are my favorite part. The story focuses on the dynamics between Hanna, her ex Veronica, and Gemma. Hannah and Veronica have just broken up from a toxic relationship, but Veronica persists in trying to get together again. Although she is tempted, I admire the strength and resilience Hannah demonstrates in turning her down each time. I think this was a really positive and strong example that was approached with drama, humour and plenty of feminism. I also enjoyed the diversity integrated in various aspects of the plot. So many different kinds of relationships, identities and personalities, added interest and creativity to the story. 

The story lacked development in three key areas: the system of magic, the setting, and overall atmospher. With few descriptors or interesting word choices, it is difficult to immerse and relate to the story completely. There are random references to Salem and the witch trials, without actually highlighting the other aspects of this city. For example, the “magical” shop Hannah works at gets a lot of attention, but it is more of a tourist attraction than the kind of place a local would actually visit. Lastly, there isn’t much emotional growth or evolution. Hanna isn't given enough time to process some of the major events and twists that occurred.


Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Part mystery, part romance, part magic ... something fun for teens who like to mash their genres together.

Content Awareness Factors:

There are some triggers such as family member deaths, fires and car accidents. 

Type of Book:
This is a young adult mysteryl set in Salem, MA, where a young witch is not just solving the case, but figuring out her own path.
Educational Themes:

This is a story for pleasure reading. As our teen noted, she wanted to learn more about the setting of the book ... a great opportunity to encourage further reading!

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
13 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
13 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer age: 13
Purchase Recommendation:
Borrow or skip. There are stronger mysteries and LGBTQ+ romances out there.

Title These Witches Don't Burn

These Witches Don't Burn, Book 1

Author Isabel Sterling
Publisher Razorbill, Imprint Penguin Young Readers Group © 2020
ISBN 9780451480347
Material Paperback
Cost $9.99
Genres Mystery, Contemporary Fiction, Romance
be the star you are

You May Also Like...

Check out these books you may also like


Author Mason Deaver
Publisher Push © 2020 (Reprint Edition)
ISBN 9781338608359


Publisher Scholastic Inc. © 2020
ISBN 9781338503265


Author Adiba Jaigirdar
Publisher Page Street Kids © 2020
ISBN 9781624149689


Alicia Jasinka
Sourcebooks Fire © 2020


Michael Scott
Ember, Imprint Penguin Random House Canada © 2008 (Reprint Edition)