These Witches Don’t Burn – Isabel Sterling

These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: May 28th, 2019
Publisher: Razorbill
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, Mystery, Romance, Witches, Magic


I’ve been reading so many standalones lately that I almost forgot what it felt like to stumble upon a CLIFFHANGER oh so very unexpectedly after being shot in the heart with multiple revelations one after the other until I had to take my eyes off the book, look around me and whisper to absolutely no one, ‘‘How can the author be so cruel…’’

Well, well. This was much more dramatic than I expected from what I thought looked like a fun and quirky witchy romance. It’s entertaining for sure, because there is quite a satisfying amount of action—so much in fact that I could easily see this story be adapted to the big screen.

The relationships in this one are a little quirky, since the characters are connected in surprising ways, especially Hannah (the heroine) and her ex-girlfriend, Veronica. And, finally, there is indeed romance between Hannah and her new crush, but because it happens during a very dark time in this town, with witches being targeted by who-knows-what, the love story lost importance in my eyes.

I don’t think the author did anything particularly new here. Witch stories have existed for centuries and witches have been chased for even longer but Isabel Sterling did manage to make everything seem… realistic. Not once did I roll my eyes while thinking to myself, ‘‘AS IF.’’ It gets intense, as mentioned above, and people are actually scared by what happens, Hannah included. She believes something is wrong and is dedicated to finding out the truth.

I also enjoyed the dialog. When I said this would make a good movie, I meant it. The dialog feels natural and gives voice to the many characters featured in this witchy tale. Not all are memorable—some are sadly one-dimensional—but they all have a role to play in the story so if the author manages to give them more than one role in the sequel, I think I might just… love it.


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