caitlin ✶'s Reviews > These Witches Don't Burn
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