The best witchy books that aren’t YA for YA readers

Who am I?

I have always been drawn to the archetype of the witch, ever since I was a little girl and one used to visit me at night beside my childhood bed. If Harry Potter had been around when I was a kid, I would have been in heaven, but I had to piece my understandings together over the years, complicated by what society told me about witches being evil and scary. When I read Starhawk in college, my mind was blown. I am always on the lookout for beautifully written books about the powerful healers that are witches. As for that witch beside my bedside, I sometimes wonder if she was a version of myself that didn’t yet exist. If she was in fact me, now.

I wrote...

When My Heart Was Wicked

By Tricia Stirling,

Book cover of When My Heart Was Wicked

What is my book about?

16-year-old Lacy believes that magic and science can work side by side. She's a botanist who knows how to harness the healing power of plants. When her father dies, Lacy tries to stay with her stepmother in Chico, where her magic is good and healing. She fears the darkness that her real mother, Cheyenne, brings out, stripping away everything that is light and kind.

Yet Cheyenne never stays away for long. Cheyenne will stop at nothing, not even black magic, to keep control of her daughter's heart. She forces Lacy to accompany her to Sacramento, and before long, the "old" Lacy starts to resurface. When Lacy survives a traumatic encounter, she finds herself faced with a choice. Will she use her powers to exact revenge and spiral into the darkness forever?

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The books I picked & why

Initiated: Memoir of a Witch

By Amanda Yates Garcia,

Book cover of Initiated: Memoir of a Witch

Why did I love this book?

“What if, when we visited the underworld, instead of trying to escape, we listened?” This is a line plucked from the middle of an unobtrusive paragraph in Initiated, but one that shatters me, one of a million perfect insights. In this book, Amanda Yates Garcia shares the story of her youth, often mired in trauma and hardship, yet she is always able to find the beauty and magic glimmering at the edges of experience. This book is particularly relevant now, as we find ourselves collectively gathering in the expanses of the underworld. Yates holds up a beacon and if we are willing to do the work, we may follow it to our own unique brand of glimmering magic.

By Amanda Yates Garcia,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Initiated as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An initiation signals a beginning: a door opens and you step through

Amanda Yates Garcia's mother initiated her into the goddess-worshipping practice of witchcraft when she was thirteen years old, but Amanda's true life as a witch only began when she underwent a series of spontaneous initiations of her own.

Descending into the underworlds of poverty, sex work and misogyny, Initiated describes Amanda's journey to return to her body, harness her natural power, and finally reclaim her witchcraft to create the magical world she envisioned.

Peppered with mythology, tales of the goddesses and magical women throughout history, Initiated stands squarely…

Book cover of Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power

Why did I love this book?

This book is part memoir, part history of the Witch. Peppered with pop culture and artistic references, it is a portal to a number of fantastic rabbit holes. For this reason, I needed to keep an open notebook beside me as I read to jot down this artist, that film, this musician. I finished feeling like I had taken an immersive art class, and my understanding of the iconic Witch was so much richer for it. 

By Pam Grossman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Waking the Witch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the podcast host of The Witch Wave and practicing witch Pam Grossman-who Vulture has dubbed the "Terry Gross of witches"-comes an exploration of the world's fascination with witches, why they have intrigued us for centuries and why they're more relevant now than ever.

When you think of a witch, what do you picture? Pointy black hat, maybe a broomstick. But witches in various guises have been with us for millennia. In Waking the Witch, Pam Grossman explores the impact of the world's most magical icon. From the idea of the femme fatale in league with the devil to the…


By Madeline Miller,

Book cover of Circe

Why did I love this book?

When I first picked up Circe years ago, I didn’t know what to expect, only that I was always up for a retelling of a myth and the witch Circe was someone I didn’t know much about. By the time the witch lands alone and exiled on her island, I was head over heels in love. Who was this beautiful writer? What couldn’t she do? Turns out, everyone else in the world was thinking the same thing. If you love myth, magic, and gorgeous storytelling, I heartily recommend this book. 

By Madeline Miller,

Why should I read it?

26 authors picked Circe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The international Number One bestseller from the author of The Song of Achilles, shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction

Woman. Witch. Myth. Mortal. Outcast. Lover. Destroyer. Survivor. CIRCE.

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. Circe is a strange child - not powerful and terrible, like her father, nor gorgeous and mercenary like her mother. Scorned and rejected, Circe grows up in the shadows, at home in neither the world of gods or mortals. But Circe has a dark power of her own: witchcraft. When her gift threatens…

Book cover of Pamela Colman Smith: The Untold Story

Why did I love this book?

Witches everywhere are rejoicing the fact that Pamela Coleman Smith is finally being celebrated. If you don’t know (but I’m sure you do,) Coleman Smith illustrated the most iconic tarot deck that exists, which used to be referred to only as the Rider-Waite deck (Waite directed the project and Ryder was the company that published it). Now the decks are being renamed after their creator, a fascinating woman who went by “Pixie” and hung out with Bram Stoker and William Butler Yates. This book is the most beautiful tribute, thick with her illustrations and writings. A deep dive into the life of an important and most magical witch. 

By R. Kaplan Stuart,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pamela Colman Smith as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Pamela Colman Smith: The Untold Story brings together the work of four distinguished scholars who have devoted years of research to uncover the life and artistic accomplishments of Pamela Colman Smith. Known to millions as the creator of the Rider-Waite Tarotƒƒ‚‚ƒ‚‚ deck, Pamela Colman Smith (1878ƒ‚‚-1951) was also a stage and costume designer, folklorist, poet, author, illustrator of ballads and folktales, suffragette, and publisher of books and broadsheets.

This collaborative work presents: a richly illustrated biography of Pamela's life with essays on the events and people that influenced her including Jack Yeats, Ellen Terry, Alfred Stieglitz, Bram Stoker and William…

Practical Magic

By Alice Hoffman,

Book cover of Practical Magic

Why did I love this book?

A classic. Published in 1995, long before children everywhere started waiting for their letters to arrive from Hogwarts, this book made grown women long to be witches, and many started on their journey after reading it. You may have seen the movie, but the book is every bit as delightful. The writing is lyrical and sensuous. Reading it is like taking a long bath with bubbles and candles on the night of a full moon. This was one of the books that made me want to become a writer. 

By Alice Hoffman,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Practical Magic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*25th Anniversary Edition*-with an Introduction by the Author!

The Owens sisters confront the challenges of life and love in this bewitching novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Rules of Magic, Magic Lessons, and The Book of Magic.

For more than two hundred years, the Owens women have been blamed for everything that has gone wrong in their Massachusetts town. Gillian and Sally have endured that fate as well: as children, the sisters were forever outsiders, taunted, talked about, pointed at. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery, with their musty house and…

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