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These Witches Don't Burn

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Hannah's a witch, but not the kind you're thinking of. She's the real deal, an Elemental with the power to control fire, earth, water, and air. But even though she lives in Salem, Massachusetts, her magic is a secret she has to keep to herself. If she's ever caught using it in front of a Reg (read: non-witch), she could lose it. For good. So, Hannah spends most of her time avoiding her ex-girlfriend (and fellow Elemental Witch) Veronica, hanging out with her best friend, and working at the Fly by Night Cauldron selling candles and crystals to tourists, goths, and local Wiccans.

But dealing with her ex is the least of Hannah's concerns when a terrifying blood ritual interrupts the end-of-school-year bonfire. Evidence of dark magic begins to appear all over Salem, and Hannah's sure it's the work of a deadly Blood Witch. The issue is, her coven is less than convinced, forcing Hannah to team up with the last person she wants to see: Veronica.

While the pair attempt to smoke out the Blood Witch at a house party, Hannah meets Morgan, a cute new ballerina in town. But trying to date amid a supernatural crisis is easier said than done, and Hannah will have to test the limits of her power if she's going to save her coven and get the girl, especially when the attacks on Salem's witches become deadlier by the day.

336 pages, Kindle Edition

First published May 28, 2019

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About the author

Isabel Sterling

4 books1,564 followers
Isabel Sterling is a writing coach, LGBTQ advocate, and author of These Witches Don’t Burn, This Coven Won’t Break, and the forthcoming f/f vampire novel The Coldest Touch. When she’s not writing, Isabel can be found crocheting projects she’ll never finish, completing crosswords with her wife, and trying not to destroy her garden. She lives in Central New York, where the winters are frigid, the summers are too hot, and autumn is perfect.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 5,529 reviews
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,607 reviews10.8k followers
July 11, 2023
**3.5-stars rounded up**

After disturbing remnants of a ritual are found at a celebratory end-of-the-school-year bonfire, Hannah suspects a Blood Witch may be to blame.

As an Elemental Witch herself, Hannah has been raised to fear Blood Witches. This horrific act seems to be a sign that one has come to their small town.

The story alludes to the fact that Hannah had a previous run-in with a Blood Witch on a trip to New York City. This altercation truly frightened her and she feels that this same witch may have tracked her down to kill her.

It seems she may be correct, as signs of dark magic begin to pop up all over Salem.

Yes, that's right. Salem, Massachusetts, one of my favorite places in the world!

That fact alone sold me on this book.

Along with her confrontational ex-girlfriend, Veronica, Hannah tries to figure out the identity of the potential Blood Witch before it's too late.

Although at its heart, a witchy story, this YA Contemporary offers up a lot more by way of teens struggling with relationships and identity.

I appreciated that Sterling went a bit deeper with her characters, examining everyday issues, not just focusing on paranormal action. However, for me, because of this, the pacing sometimes seemed off.

We would have fast-paced action, building up suspense, and then it would be brought way down by a serious life issue suddenly appearing.

It's not a big deal, I still enjoyed the story, it just felt a little uneven. I also would have liked the full story on the Blood Witch issue Hannah had when she traveled to New York.

This being said, I did love the different types of witches and the various powers associated with each. I thought that was really fun and I can't wait for it to be elaborated upon in the next book.

Oh yeah, I am definitely planning to read the next book. In fact, I can't wait for it!

The final lines of this book were perfect to get the Reader pumped to continue on with Hannah's story.

Overall a solid debut!
Profile Image for may ➹.
494 reviews2,075 followers
August 14, 2019
3.5 stars

Is it really Pride month if you don’t read a gay witch book?

These Witches Don’t Burn follows an Elemental witch named Hannah, who lives in Salem, Massachusetts. At first it seems like the hardest thing she’ll have to do that summer is avoid her ex-girlfriend, but her problems become much worse when signs of dark magic pops up around town.

This book is filled with intrigue and mystery, as Hannah and her coven faces more and more danger and are forced to figure out the identity of the person behind it all and stop them. Hannah also juggles with a crush on the new girl in town, and overall, the book is quite entertaining and enjoyable to read.

We stay like that for a long time.
Until, finally, something inside starts to stitch itself back together.

I had a lot of fun reading this book. Hannah is a really interesting character to read about: she’s dedicated to helping people—which is especially hard when she has to conceal her witch identity—and she’s also somehow both sweet and fierce.

I also really enjoyed the side characters! I wish some of them had been more developed (I feel like certain characters were important in the beginning and then just kind of disappeared), but I absolutely loved the friendship between Hannah and Gemma. There’s also Hannah’s new crush, and I absolutely loved the sweet romance that was blooming between the two of them. (The most relatable part of this book was when Hannah was having a gay panic at whether or not Morgan was flirting with her.)

This book was filled with a lot of action, but also quieter moments in between that I enjoyed. I have to say, I wasn’t particularly immersed in the book in the beginning, but as I read more, my interested piqued! There’s definitely a lot of high stakes, and it made for an exciting, thrilling read.

Is she actually…
Flirting. With me?
Oh god. What do I do?

Another aspect of this book that I really liked was, of course, the witchy magic! I loved how those magical elements were blended with a contemporary time and setting. I’m someone who finds contemporaries a lot easier to read than fantasies, but really loves fantasy elements, so this was perfect for me. Plus, the book was very atmospheric and it was somehow the perfect combination of summer and autumn vibes!

However, I think I would have enjoyed this more if I hadn’t accidentally completely spoiled it for myself. The whole book was spent trying to figure out who the “bad guy” was, and I knew who it was from the beginning because I accidentally saw the name. That really affected my reading experience, because I was bored at times and the mystery and intrigue was useless for me.

I was still shocked by some reveals in the book, though! I didn’t see quite a few of them coming, and I definitely don’t think I would have been able to guess who the “bad guy” was without having spoiled it for myself. (Speaking of shock, though, there was one event that happened in this book that surprised me and actually was a little triggering, even though it wasn’t personal to me, so please be careful when reading this! It does get quite violent at times.)

There’s a war brewing.
And I intend to win.

I think the biggest issue I have with this book is, first of all, not a terrible issue. But I just don’t feel very passionately about the book, and I think it comes down to a lack of any particular themes. This book was fun for me to read, and I enjoyed it, but I personally love to see themes and messages in the book, subtle or not, and I can’t name any that this book had.

It’s not a bad thing though! I still liked the book, and in some ways, it was actually easier for me to read because I thought it to be just an entertaining book. I definitely recommend this for those who are looking to have a fun book to read, full of atmospheric witchy magic and mystery!

:: rep :: lesbian MC, bi female LI, sapphic ex, queer trans male side character, minor old queer couples

:: content warnings :: parental death, animal death, blood, fetishization of wlw (challenged), violence, car crash, burning at stake

Thank you to Penguin for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for a spot on this blog campaign! This did not affect my opinions in any way.
Profile Image for Sarah Glenn Marsh.
Author 21 books774 followers
June 29, 2018
I see a lot of folks here saying they're excited for a gay witch book, and let me tell you...THIS STORY DELIVERS!!!

I loved it. I'm already ready for the sequel, but I guess I'll have to wait for 2019 to start bugging the author about the next book ;) Maybe.

From unexpected twists to a dynamic and mostly queer cast of characters, there's so much for everyone to love here. Really, well done.
Profile Image for Amy Imogene Reads.
980 reviews854 followers
August 19, 2020
These Witches Don't Burn? More like these witches don't bore! (Couldn't resist.)

Concept: ★★★
Relationship dynamics:★★★★
Pacing: ★★★★
Enjoyment: ★★★★★

I absolutely loved reading These Witches Don't Burn. Fun, filled with memorable characters, extreme relationship drama, and so well paced it's basically ready for its movie adaptation, this book is a great LGBT+ contemporary read.

Everyone knows the history of Salem, Massachusetts. People went mad and claimed girls were witches, and they killed them. As many other novels have explored—what if the witches were real? These Witches Don't Burn covers the same ground relating to Salem, but it does it with a surprising sense of diversity, humor, and heart.

Hannah is an Elemental witch in her junior year of high school. She's training to be a full witch in her coven, she's attempting to balance her home life with school, and she's dealing with her persistent ex. Adding some fire to the flames, Hannah's ex is one of the witches in Hannah's coven, and she's everywhere Hannah is. Awkward.

The main drama for These Witches Don't Burn lies in the relationship dynamics between Hannah, her ex Veronica, Hannah's friend Gemma, and the new girl in town, Morgan. There is an action-based pseudo-mystery plot going on in the background as the witches discover that a Witch Hunter is in town—attempting to murder them in the style of the 1600s Salem witch trials—and Hannah finds herself in the middle of the drama, but for me the main narrative lay in the relationships.

To be honest, that's why I enjoyed it so much.

These Witches Don't Burn is feminist, fun, and filled with the kind of relationship drama that everyone can relate to. I loved it. My only caveat to the story was that it fell into some of the anti-men tropes that these novels often have. The men in this novel were either suspicious, problematic, dead, or part of the mystery in a nefarious way. I can't get into the spoilers, but once you've reached the finale you'll see what I mean. I wish there had been a few positive male characters in the story not because we need positive male roles in every story, but because it seemed like an intentional oversight and felt like an over correction in the name of female empowerment.

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Profile Image for Hilly 🎐.
710 reviews1,324 followers
November 28, 2019
Witch-hunt (compound)
Me reading this book and hunting for something other than whiny flat characters who say they can do magic but can’t use their brains for shit.

I want to go back in time and scold my past self for not keeping notes while reading this book because it's been only a week but I already forgot big chunks of what happened. I guess this is indicative of how much I didn't care for this book.

Chapter one starts like a bomb. It dips you completely in the story with two sentences and it already sets up the mood of the entire book. I've been looking at that beginning for months and it made me so excited for when I would finally pick the book up. Unfortunately the book didn't deliver in the end.

I don't know what it is about the writing style and the characters and why they result so immature, but even if the book has some slightly darker themes and it is classified as YA, it feels more like a middle grade. The dialogue between characters is cringey and it seems more of a caricature of what real teenagers would say.

The plot wasn't the best either, I would have liked something a bit more complicated instead of a straight up unoriginal story. It went similarly with the romance as it was kind of flat. I never connected with any of the characters so it's probably normal I wasn't that taken by the romance, but honestly it's not really my fault. There is no build-up for either of the relationships: one is already established before the book starts, the other is very insta-lovey.

I loved the representation and the talk about sexuality because it was a seamless part of the book portrayed as a natural discussion teenagers eventually come across. I also liked that the main character says something a bit offensive toward another character's sexuality, but instantly recognizes her mistake and apologizes the right way.
But that's really it for things I liked.
June 22, 2019
Gay witches? Hell yeah! 🏳️‍🌈 🏳️‍🌈 🏳️‍🌈

When I started this book I was so freaking excited. I read about Elementals, Casters and Blood witches and I was like yeeeeeeees I want to be part of a clan, of a coven.

And a gay main character who loves girls, has problems with her ex-girlfriend and a terrible secret.

And it wasn’t in this utopia world were the lgbt community was absolutely normal.
No, but it was still a better world. And I really liked it. We saw that her parents, her coven, her friends and her most of her school mates didn’t have problem with her being queer, but the book showed still problems that many queer people have.
Like the parents of the female best friend that seem strange and uncomfortable around her.
Of the class mates that recorded her kissing another girl and thinking it was hot and violated her privacy.

I loved that the book had some witches and magic in it.
The first half of the book i was like hm will it be a two or three star rating? And then at the final 25% there was so much action, so many small plot twists and I was like will it be a three or four star rating?
And I settled for three and you know why?
I liked the book, don’t get me wrong, but it was only overall okay. Not wow or awesome or can’t-stop-reading. Just okay. I enjoyed it. The whole world. The magic. But I wasn’t fascinated or addicted to it.
There were some moments were I was a bit excited about the book but the okay parts were the majority.

Sorry for the messy review! Next time will be normal again ☺️
Profile Image for Not My High.
288 reviews841 followers
August 31, 2022
1. Genialny ✨️aesthetic✨️ klimat. Idealna książka na deszczowy/jesienny dzień.

2. Świetna i zróżnicowana qu33rowa reprezentacja: l3sbian mc, relacje wlw, postać bi, trans, g4y [...].

3. Pomysł na fabułę!!! Czarownice żywiołów mieszkające w salem, lęk przed czarną magią, niepokojące wypadki i nieznane zagrożenie.

4. Wiarygodna młodzieżówka - główna bohaterka leczy złamane serduszko po 1. związku wlw. Imprezy, naturalne i serio śmieszne żarty, typowe "nastolatkowe" problemy, reakcje i emocje.

5. Porusza ważne tematy (w tym s3ksualizaję l3sbijek, brak komunikacji w związku, ksenofobia, que3rfobia)

Czego oczekuję od 2 tomu:
* dalszego rozwoju bohaterów, żeby stali się bardziej wyrazisci
* chcę zobaczyć więcej magicznego świata!
* dalszy rozwój ✨️pewnej relacji✨️

Od razu zabieram się za czytanie <3

PS Cieszę się, że dałam tej książce drugą szansę (kilka lat temu mi się nie podobała) i od teraz zawsze będę ją ciepło wspominać. Niezwykle przyjemna lektura 12+

TW kr3w, okrucieństwo wobec zwierząt, obrażenia ciała, podpalenie, s3ksualizacja, qu33rfobia
Profile Image for Reading_ Tamishly.
4,477 reviews2,413 followers
October 20, 2020
The first page itself made me DNF this book. Yes, I tried reading the second and third page too. It made my DNF page resolve stronger! The characters are so 'Mean Girls' wannabe and the dialogues are so superficial that I had to stop reading this one.
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,514 reviews29.5k followers
July 27, 2020
3.5 stars.

It’s not easy being a witch these days. That's what I picked up from Isabel Sterling's These Witches Don't Burn , at least.

Being a witch in Salem, Massachusetts may seem like a clichè, but that’s Hannah’s life. As an Elemental witch, she has the power to control fire, water, earth, and air, but she’s forbidden to let any non-witch see her magic. So instead, she spends her time trying to avoid her ex-girlfriend, Veronica (who is also an Elemental), and working at the Fly by Night Cauldron, which sells candles and crystals to tourists and Wiccans.

When the town starts to see signs of black magic that seem to be targeting Hannah and Veronica, Hannah is convinced a Blood Witch is to blame, even though her coven doesn’t agree. But as things become more dangerous, she’s forced to team up with Veronica to try and flush the evil out of Salem. And at the same time, Hannah is intrigued by Morgan, a new crush.

Will Hannah be able to stop what is happening before it puts her and those she loves in danger? Will the time she spends with Veronica jeopardize any chance she might have with Morgan?

It’s been a while since I’ve read a fantasy novel and I enjoyed this. Sterling did a great job creating a world within our world and deftly juxtaposed the witchy issues with emotional ones. At times it got a little too melodramatic, but that's just like teenagers, isn't it?

I’ll definitely check out the sequel, plus there's a prequel of sorts that apparently sets up this book. (I didn't read that and didn't feel as if I missed out.)

Check out my list of the best books I read in 2019 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2019.html.

Check out my list of the best books of the decade at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-favorite-books-of-decade.html.

See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.

Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.
Profile Image for jazmin ✿.
556 reviews758 followers
October 28, 2021
"You broke my heart, and you didn't even notice. How can I ..." My throat closes up, I look away. "How could I ever trust you to put the pieces back together?”

⇢The Plot
I think that unfortunately, my expectations for this book had just been a bit too high. I read the blurb and saw a few people recommend it and I got way too excited way too quickly, so I was let down by various parts of the book. Was it a bad book? Definitely not. Just not what I had been looking for.

First of all, the predictability of the plot reminded me of Middle-Grade books. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just not something I enjoy. The mystery itself wasn’t super obvious or anything but a lot of the conflicts and interactions the character had didn’t seem realistic to me— or at least they seemed like an adult author had been trying to imagine what teenagers sound like and didn’t quite hit the mark. Maybe I’m being a bit harsh because I’ve certainly read books with worse teenager representation but combine the weird conversations with the vibe of the book and it just didn’t work for me.

That being said, I did enjoy the spookier aspects of the book and how the coven played a role in the story that wasn’t too big or too small. The blend of contemporary and fantasy was nice.

If they had any clue what real witches were like, what we’re capable of . . .
They probably wouldn’t sleep very well at night.

⇢The Romance
Once again… the romance just didn’t do it for me. I heard sapphic witches and was super excited, but the romance just wasn’t fleshed out enough to be interesting. It would almost have been better with no romance at all; Hannah had more chemistry with literally everyone other than Morgan :( I didn’t want her to get back with Veronica because that was obviously toxic, so no romance would have been better, I think.

The friendships were nice though!

⇢The Ending
Now you may be thinking, “you just ranted for like 3 paragraphs, why did you not give this book 1 or 2 stars”, and the answer is THE ENDING. Things got super interesting at the end of the book and I was hundreds of times more interested than I had been for the first 75% of the book, enough so to make me increase my rating. It was unexpected and fun, and definitely my favourite part of the book!

. ⋅ ˚̣- : ✧ : – ⭒ ❦ ⭒ – : ✧ : -˚̣⋅ .

Profile Image for caitlin ✶.
219 reviews98 followers
August 21, 2019
Edit: I’m disappointing everyone by saying this, but looking back, this was just a bland 3 stars. Nothing wrong with it, & there were stuff to appreciate, but I have zero desire to pick up the sequel, & I think that’s really telling.

If they had any clue what real witches were like, what we’re capable of . . .

They probably wouldn’t sleep very well at night.

When I heard that These Witches Don't Burn was a new release featuring gay witches, I was inevitably excited to pick it up. Thankfully, I got exactly what I wanted from it--a teen drama with a witchy spin.

I have to commend this book for being one of the few queer books I've read with explicit mentions of characters' sexuality. It seems like most of the time, authors go out of their way to avoid using labels, and that makes it hard to search for books with specific rep. Not in this book though. Respectively, Hannah and Morgan are on-page lesbian and bi.

The ex-girlfriend aspect of this book was really well-done. We start the book out with Hannah still smarting from her break-up with Veronica, though she knows that she did the right thing. Veronica gives her all to get Hannah to take her back, and Hannah is understandably lured by her advances, but I admired how Hannah had the strength to say no each time. By the end of the book, I was extremely happy with how their relationship was resolved.

Hannah's relationship with Morgan, the new girl in town, was delightful to read about. Though I'm someone who absolutely despises insta-love, and some may consider their relationship a case of insta-love, I didn't really think it was. Rather, it was an accurate portrayal of how teenagers meet, have a crush on each other, start texting, and then start dating. Hannah and Morgan were a welcome break from all the Blood Witch and Witch Hunter things going on in the background of the novel, and it was empowering to read about how healthy their relationship was after seeing the toxicity of Hannah and Veronica's.

The concept of Wicca is addressed within the book, and it isn't looked down upon. Wicca is acknowledged as real magic, but not nearly as strong as the Elemental, Caster, and Blood Witches' magic. And the magic system is explained in an extremely easy to understand manner. I liked the concept of magic that almost has a mind of its own--it reacts to outside elements and struggles to escape if bound.

I don't know if it's just me, but I did not expect that twist at the end. I felt like such a fool because the signs were all there, but the author did such a good job of making sure that I never noticed them. I also love how Isabel Sterling incorporated the title "These Witches Don't Burn" into her novel.

Before I end this review, here's a random tangent of more things I loved about this book. Besides the lesbian and bi rep, there is a trans male side character who dates men, and an older f/f couple who are expecting a baby. And if you're looking for more books that have the trope of asking for consent before kissing, look no further! What's even better is the trans-inclusive language. If someone's gender is unknown, they are always referred to with they/them pronouns. There's even a scene where someone refers to a culprit as "he," and Hannah thinks that it could also be a girl, or, and I quote, "someone who isn’t either of those genders."

Despite the fact that the writing style was trying too hard to be edgy and "teenager" in the beginning, it quickly dials down, so I see no reason why you shouldn't pick this book up, especially because June is Pride Month. Celebrate with this amazing book featuring teen witches who happen to like girls!

Content Warnings: fetishising of sapphics (challenged), animal death, death of a parent, toxic relationships


Profile Image for Roxie Voorhees.
Author 17 books108 followers
June 25, 2020
I love witches! I love gays! I hate this book.

1. My first issue is Hannah constantly reminding us that Veronica is her ex. "My ex" is a phrase that doesnt need repeating.

2. Interactions between characters seem forced. Dialogue is weak.

3. *spoiler* of course the witch hunter is male! Because that isn't overdone 🙄 There was a real chance for the author to tackle toxic masculinity here and it just didnt happen.

4. I'm sure there is more, but I am going to go watch Motherland so I can erase this experience with a much better lesbian witch in Salem.
Profile Image for Jessica .
2,129 reviews13.8k followers
June 29, 2019
I have been devouring adult paranormal romances, but I haven't really been reading any YA paranormal books. When I saw the cover of this one and saw it was about teen witches, I knew I had to pick it up!

Hannah is still hurt over how things ended between her and her ex, but when strange things start happening and signs of a blood witch are popping up, Hannah knows they have more serious problems. As an elemental witch, Hannah has to make sure to hide her own powers while trying to figure out if a blood witch is really in town and how to protect those she loves.

I love a good paranormal book, so it's no surprise that I absolutely loved the magic system in this book. I really loved how there were three types of witches and, even among witches, there was stigma against what kind of witch you were. I also loved how much Hannah actually used her powers and seeing the scope of her abilities. Of course, living with humans (or "regs" in this book), the whole aspect of having to keep her powers secret added a whole other dimension of conflict to the story.

And talk about diversity! There were so many different kinds of relationships and identities in this book and I was soooo in love with Hannah's own romantic journey in this book. Her ex was definitely very toxic, but I enjoyed watching Hannah meet a new girl and starting to date her while still getting over her heartbreak. Hannah's best friend was also a huge bright spot in this book and I loved all of the friendships in this book.

While reviews aren't the best for this book, I absolutely loved it! It was so witch-ey and I was all in for Hannah's romance. While I thought I had everything figured out by the end, there were some serious surprised thrown in and I immediately went to Goodreads to see what book two was releasing. I can't wait to read even more from Isabel Sterling!
Profile Image for thi.
703 reviews85 followers
May 31, 2019
- I’ve got perhaps a weird complaint
- The cover does not match the story at all
- listen this tangent is worthwhile
- Books are expensive it’s up to marketing and the synopsis among other factors but to me perhaps the most important is the cover to be eye catching to the right demographic and best represent what kind of story is being sold here
- I’ve never felt so strongly about a misleading cover that screams sort of cute romance unlikely rag tag team when really it’s a supernatural mystery DRAMA
- Ok done with that
- The story itself is fine .. I had some trouble with pacing; the excitement and tension would wind up so high at some parts and immediately drop and the mc’s priorities meander quite a bit
- Also the central mystery; their coven dismissed so many glaring red flags I was soooooo frustrated
- I guessed who the hunter was pretty early so .. the lead up to the big reveal and very fast wrap up was .. ehh
- I feel like there were some allegories to a bigger picture but they felt cheesy to me
Profile Image for kory..
1,059 reviews118 followers
July 11, 2023
i didn’t know this book was going to have an abusive ex-girlfriend who is a central character that i don’t think i’m supposed to hate or that the entire conflict is a supernatural vs hunter thing, which is a plot i’m so tired of. i might not have read it if i had known. i also didn’t pay enough attention to realize that this is the first in a series, which is made very clear by the unresolved nature of the ending. so yeah, not really my jam.

content/trigger warnings; ableism, ableist slurs, blood, animal death, toxic abusive ex, gaslighting, fetish/sexualization of queer women, potentially magic induced kiss, fire, mentions of death threats, some bi-erasure language, physical violence, non-consensual kissing, emotional abuse, car crash, descriptions of injuries, near drowning, hospital, homophobia, sex, murder, parental death, mentions of funeral,

rep; hannah (mc) is gay. morgan (li) is bisexual, and so is her dad. veronica (sc) is queer (unlabeled, possibly gay). savannah (sc) is closeted queer (unlabeled). cal (sc) is gay? and trans. sarah and rachel (sc, mentioned like once) are queer and in a relationship.

i think there are, like, three things i like about this. one being that the mc refers to herself as queer, two being the casual queerness, and three being that when her best friend is in danger because of the magic stuff, she tells her so she’s prepared, rather than keeping her in the dark to “protect” her like characters usually do.

that’s it.

my main issue is the mc’s ex-girlfriend. veronica is so fucking toxic and emotionally abusive it’s mind blowing. let’s make a list, shall we?

- veronica parades around her new lady friend at hannah’s work
- veronica tells her new lady friend that hannah is bisexual so a guy will ask her out
- veronica dismisses hannah’s hurt and anger at this by saying she needs to get used to guys asking her out
- veronica does this to make hannah so miserable being single that she’ll go back to her
- veronica tries to convince hannah to get back together
- veronica refuses to listen hannah when she tells her why they won’t work
- veronica tries to gaslight hannah about their relationship and why they broke up
- veronica tells hannah that she will stop harassing her if hannah admits the break up is her fault
- veronica tries to guilt and emotionally manipulate hannah into attending her graduation
- veronica gets herself into trouble with the coven leader and after hannah tries to help her, veronica blames the entire situation on her
- veronica continues to pursue hannah despite hannah showing no interest
- veronica kisses hannah and then uses the kiss as “proof” that hannah wants her
- veronica continues her refusal to listen to hannah’s concerns about their relationship
- veronica says “this isn’t over” after hannah points out that she refuses to hear what she’s saying
- veronica uses the fact that hannah needed her to do magic with her to manipulate her about their relationship
- veronica kisses hannah again, hannah pulls away and starts to tell her no and veronica just forces another kiss on her
- veronica makes hannah feel “uncomfortable” and her “insides squirm with unease”
- veronica gets angry and lashes out at hannah for moving on
- veronica accuses hannah of cheating on her and ruining their relationship
- veronica tells her new lady friend that hannah led her on just to reject her, which makes her new lady friend threaten hannah
- veronica tries to convince hannah that her new girlfriend is the bad guy

whew. i hate veronica, she’s the worst. but even with all that shit, even with the mc saying she makes her uncomfy and pointing out how unhealthy their relationship is, veronica is never painted as someone we’re supposed to hate or dislike. veronica is never even explicitly stated as being abusive.


- “guyliner”
- super fucking cheesy and cringeworthy
- the characters are all pretty annoying and naive
- overall kind of mediocre, i expected more
- mc’s mother using magic stones to force her to tell the truth. even in a magical universe, even when they’re trying to protect her from things they don’t truly understand, it’s still fucked and a violation on a different level than what hannah did with the stones.
Profile Image for Lea (drumsofautumn).
623 reviews626 followers
July 31, 2019
Not gonna lie, I'm having a hard time writing down some thoughts on this book because I am so overwhelmed with the ending as it featured one of my biggest triggers.
Overall this was really enjoyable read but I expected this to be really fun and it just really wasn't. That is not to say that the book was bad. Not at all. I actually that it is subjectively a pretty great book. It was really action-packed, I loved the magic system and the different kinds of witches.

But here's the thing.. this hit a little bit too close to home with a big event that happened at the end and I got caught off guard completely! On top of that, I didn't like how little this book actually dealt with the emotional consequences of this event. I could imagine this comes up more in the sequel but as someone who experienced something so similar (but with less severe consequences), I just couldn't believe how little time the author actually took to have the main character process what happened.
In my opinion the whole ending of this book should've been the main character dealing with her trauma and nothing else.

So I am giving it a very basic 3 stars cause I feel like it wouldn't be fair of me to give it any less! This is just my super personal opinion based on experience and I wanted to share that this is where I'm coming from. I might check out the sequel, just to see the repercussions of the events in this first book.

Trigger and content warnings for death of a parent, violence, car crashing into a lake, a house burning down.

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Profile Image for Iris.
556 reviews256 followers
August 31, 2020
3.5 stars

Ooooh this was very fun, and then it took a really dark turn, and fkjhhjgjk I literally binged it in a single sitting and didn't even stop to come upstairs and make it as currently reading which SAYS SOMTHING.

This was a lot of fun, but also ultimately pretty unmemorable
Profile Image for rachel, x.
1,739 reviews868 followers
August 26, 2021
#2) This Coven Won't Break ★★★★★

Trigger warnings for .

Representation: Hannah (mc) lesbian; Morgan (li) bisexual; Veronica (sc) sapphic; Cal (sc) gay trans man; queer scs.

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Profile Image for Sylwia Różycka.
261 reviews7 followers
March 28, 2021
Książka wydana prześlicznie, ale niestety zawartość nie taka piękna.
Mam wrażenie, że bohaterowie byli totalnie płascy i drewniani, a niektóre wątki powtarzały się na okrągło. Relacje międzyludzkie totalnie naciągane i obracające się cały czas wokół miłości lub nienawiści, nic pomiędzy. Cały czas akcja, oczywiście z główną bohaterką z syndromem wybrańca na czele. Zabrakło mi chyba też czegoś więcej o tym świecie, tej magii, sabatach. To naprawdę mnie zainteresowało, a zniknęło za wątkiem romantycznym i przysłowiowymi wybuchami i pościgami. Szkoda
Profile Image for Laianna.
378 reviews
June 4, 2019
I bought into the hype for this book way too hard. Lesbian witches?? The adorable cover and snappy title? It takes place in Salem?Could this be any more me? I preordered my copy and eagerly awaited its arrival on release date.

After reading These Witches Don’t Burn in one sitting, desperately hoping it would redeem itself as I frantically flipped pages, I’m disappointed. I wanted to like this book, but I just didn’t. The story was there - a young lesbian witch navigates past and present relationships while an unseen force hunts her and her friends - and the general premise was enough to hook me, but the execution was so bad. I just finished the book and the characters are already blurring together. I don’t even remember the main character’s name.

From the beginning, I was confused. The main character announces she is an elemental, one of three types of witch, and alludes to other witch types, including blood witches. But she never explains what any of these terms mean, and without flashbacks to explore a bad run-in with a blood witch right before the story starts, I eventually put the book down to research whether I had somehow missed the first book in a series and this was the second. It turns out that it was just lazy writing.

Even lazier is the writing surrounding the huge cast of characters. Everyone is an archetype. Veronica = bitchy ex. Morgan = Mary Sue. Gemma = supportive best friend. Hannah, the main character, just seems to complain a lot. Veronica was a special sort of enigma, because she and Hannah have supposedly been best friends forever as well as recent lovers, yet Hannah describes her like a straight protagonist would describe their male crush’s Regina George type ex. She has few redeeming qualities yet we are supposed to care about her when she tries to win Hannah back and/or appears to be in mortal peril.

The author sets the book in Salem, site of the legendary witch trials, but relies solely on the reader’s extrinsic understanding of this connotation and does not bother to draw on the city’s rich and sordid history, nor does she even attempt to immerse the reader in a world of her own. We are constantly left trying to piece together parts of the story from our own cultural experience, rather than relying on what is on the page to draw us in.

In fact, there are many world building gaps that the author leaves to the reader to fill in. Most notably, at different points in the book, we get slightly more detail about the event with the blood witch that resulted in Hannah and Veronica’s breakup... but I still don’t get what actually happened and why. Moreover, the witch origin myth sounded very cool... but though it’s referenced several times we never hear it in its entirety. These two confusing gaps had me questioning whether I’d accidentally picked up the second book in a series and everything would make sense to readers of the first book. Again, just lazy writing.

When you barely even get any magic in a story about witches - and lesbians! - you know you have a problem. I might give this book three stars if I was feeling charitable but honestly it was such a letdown. It reminded me of The Children of Blood and Bone or Girls Made of Snow and Glass in that the exciting spark of an idea was there but the characters fell flat and the execution was so poorly done that I predicted the villain the moment we were introduced. This book was worse than the others mentioned above in terms of flat characters and a predictable, choppy plot. Two stars, and I would not recommend. I want to see more lesbians in YA Fantasy, and particularly more lesbian witches! But this one falls woefully short of the hype. Very disappointed.
Profile Image for Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard.
1,147 reviews245 followers
June 4, 2020
I LOVED this. The cast and plot and setting and mystery was just what I wanted. Nothing was too much but I also didn't feel like I was missing context or information. That's pretty mind blowing to me since this is a debut and by no means a long book.

Right off the bat, let's acknowledge the queer rep. We have an out lesbian main character, her ex-girlfriend (who I don't remember how she identified but is only in F/F romances in this book), a key side character is bisexual (own voices) who enters a F/F romance. Another key side character is FTM transgender with a boyfriend. I freaking loved the F/F romance that the mc character is in. It's sweet and cute but also was used AMAZINGLY with this "who is the witch hunter" fear. The cast as a whole was just well established. There's actually quite a few characters and while I absolutely know some of them better than the others, they all seemed to have distinct voices which made sure that I was still able to remember side characters. There was no specific emphasis put on developing one or two specific characters for no reason (which always makes me think they are the villain) so this REALLY helped keep me guessing as to who was the evil witch hunter.

What I found missing sadly was the magic structure. Now this is quite hard to do since the main characters aren't supposed to be doing magic in the open (fair enough, it's set in Salem) and at a point their powers are actually physically restricted from use. It's also not really something that would play much of role. There's a witch hunter and they have to find out who it is first and foremost. I am expecting this to develop in the sequel just with how this book sets up the future.

Finally, no spoiler but I appreciate what the author did at the end. There was no cop out or easy happily ever after for every character. Now maybe the author will do this in the sequel (I hope not) but I can already see the purpose and how the ending is going to affect and motivate the main character and her coven.

Rep: lesbian main character, bisexual side character, FTM transgender side character, multiple F/F romances
Profile Image for Emma.
1,258 reviews
June 28, 2019
DNF at 31%. I don't like giving up on books and on the very rare occasions I do it, I don't usually rate them but I had to give this one one star because it was THAT dull.

When I've heard of These Witches Don't Burn, I was so excited because lesbian witches! In YA! Right up my alley, what could go wrong? Well... I suppose it was a case of a very average book (that's me being generous here) being overhyped.

I've read a third of the book and NOTHING happened. There's hardly any world building, I mean witches living in our world and therefore having to hide themselves and their magic. If you've read Harry Potter or seen an episode of Charmed, you get it. Except both HP and Charmed had MUCH better characters.

Hannah, the main character here is just boring. I don't know how you can make a teenage lesbian witch living in Salem boring, but it can be done and Isabel Sterling did it. I don't know what to say about the secondary characters because they all felt like cardboard clichés that used to be found in every teenage TV show.

At 31% there's still no hint of a real threat to the protagonists, so yeah, I don't know. There's a lot of TALK about Hannah and Veronica's past relationship but that's all it is, talk... and I really prefer a book to show me things rather than tell them.

I also blame These Witches Don't Burn for failing to read only LGBT books during Pride Month. I was so bored with this book, I had to read ANYTHING ELSE (pretty sure a box of cereals would have seemed more interesting) and I grabbed what I had on hand, and it happened to be not-LGBT. So yeah, totally the book fault and not mine for not being prepared ;). It's my story and I'll stick to it.
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