Putting the YA in FRIYAY: Witchy Reads for the Summer Solstice

Tonight is the summer solstice so we put together a list of wickedly good witch books to help you get into the spirit. Let us know which one is your favourite!

Akata Witch
By Nnedi Okorafor
384 Pages | 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780142420911 | Speak

Sunny Nwazue lives in Nigeria, but she was born in New York City. Her features are West African, but she’s albino. She’s a terrific athlete, but can’t go out into the sun to play soccer. There seems to be no place where she fits in. And then she discovers something amazing—she is a “free agent” with latent magical power. And she has a lot of catching up to do.

Soon she’s part of a quartet of magic students, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality. But as she’s finding her footing, Sunny and her friends are asked by the magical authorities to help track down a career criminal who knows magic, too. Will their training be enough to help them combat a threat whose powers greatly outnumber theirs?

Lucy Crisp and the Vanishing House
By Janet Hill
240 Pages | 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781770499249 | Tundra Books

It has been a year since Lucy Crisp graduated from high school and she still hasn’t found her calling. That is, until she discovers an exclusive arts college called Ladywyck Lodge. On a whim, she applies and is thrilled to be accepted into their program. Lucy moves to Esther Wren, the charming little town where it’s based, and stays in the house her father buys as an investment: a magnificent building built by a sea captain in 1876. The house has history and personality –perhaps too much personality. . .

Strange things start happening: Lucy hears voices and footsteps in empty rooms. She sees people and things that should not be there. Furniture disappears and elaborate desserts appear. What’s worse is that the strange events are not restricted to her house. Lucy begins to understand that the town and its inhabitants are hiding many secrets, and Ladywyck is at the heart. As the eerie happenings escalate, Lucy fears she is being threatened — but she is determined not to let fairy potions, spells and talk of witchcraft scare her away.

Spellbook of the Lost and Found
By Moïra Fowley-Doyle
384 Pages | 14+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780147517333 | Speak

One stormy Irish summer night, Olive and her best friend, Rose, begin to lose things. It starts with simple items like hairclips and jewelry, but soon it’s clear that Rose has lost something much bigger, something she won’t talk about, and Olive thinks her best friend is slipping away.

Then seductive diary pages written by a girl named Laurel begin to appear all over town. And Olive meets three mysterious strangers: Ivy, Hazel, and her twin brother, Rowan, secretly squatting in an abandoned housing estate. The trio are wild and alluring, but they seem lost too—and like Rose, they’re holding tight to painful secrets.

When they discover the spellbook, it changes everything. Damp, tattered and ancient, it’s full of hand-inked charms to conjure back things that have been lost. And it just might be their chance to find what they each need to set everything back to rights.

Unless it’s leading them toward things that were never meant to be found…

Tarot
By Marissa Kennerson
288 Pages | 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780451478412 | Razorbill

Born of a forbidden union between the Queen and the tyrannical King’s archnemesis, Anna is forced to live out her days isolated in the Tower, with only her mentors and friends the Hermit, the Fool, and the Magician to keep her company. To pass the time, Anna imagines unique worlds populated by creatives and dreamers–the exact opposite of the King’s land of fixed fates and rigid rules–and weaves them into four glorious tapestries.

But on the eve of her sixteenth birthday and her promised release from the Tower, Anna discovers her true lineage: She’s the daughter of Marco, a powerful magician, and the King is worried that his magical gifts are starting to surface in Anna. Fearing for her life, Anna flees the Tower and finds herself in Cups, a lush, tropical land full of all the adventure, free-spiritedness, and creativity she imagined while weaving.

Anna thinks she’s found paradise in this world of beachside parties, endless food and drink, and exhilarating romance. But when the fabric of Cups begins to unravel, Anna discovers that her tapestries are more than just forbidden expression. They’re the foundation for a new world that she is destined to create–as long as the terrors from the old world don’t catch up with her first.

The Babysitter’s Coven
By Kate Williams
368 Pages | 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525707370 | Delacorte Press

Seventeen-year-old Esme Pearl has a babysitters club. She knows it’s kinda lame, but what else is she supposed to do? Get a job? Gross. Besides, Esme likes babysitting, and she’s good at it.

And lately Esme needs all the cash she can get, because it seems like destruction follows her wherever she goes. Let’s just say she owes some people a new tree.

Enter Cassandra Heaven. She’s Instagram-model hot, dresses like she found her clothes in a dumpster, and has a rebellious streak as gnarly as the cafeteria cooking. So why is Cassandra willing to do anything, even take on a potty-training two-year-old, to join Esme’s babysitters club?

The answer lies in a mysterious note Cassandra’s mother left her: “Find the babysitters. Love, Mom.”

Turns out, Esme and Cassandra have more in common than they think, and they’re about to discover what being a babysitter really means: a heroic lineage of superpowers, magic rituals, and saving the innocent from seriously terrifying evil. And all before the parents get home.

The Lost Coast
By Amy Rose Capetta
352 Pages | 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536200966 | Candlewick

Danny didn’t know what she was looking for when she and her mother spread out a map of the United States and Danny put her finger down on Tempest, California. What she finds are the Grays: a group of friends who throw around terms like queer and witch like they’re ordinary and everyday, though they feel like an earthquake to Danny. But Danny didn’t just find the Grays. They cast a spell that calls her halfway across the country, because she has something they need: she can bring back Imogen, the most powerful of the Grays, missing since the summer night she wandered into the woods alone. But before Danny can find Imogen, she finds a dead boy with a redwood branch through his heart. Something is very wrong amid the trees and fog of the Lost Coast, and whatever it is, it can kill. Lush, eerie, and imaginative, Amy Rose Capetta’s tale overflows with the perils and power of discovery — and what it means to find your home, yourself, and your way forward.

The Mermaid, The Witch, and The Sea
By Maggie Tokuda-Hall
368 Pages | 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536204315 | Candlewick

The pirate Florian, born Flora, has always done whatever it takes to survive—including sailing under false flag on the Dove as a marauder, thief, and worse. Lady Evelyn Hasegawa, a highborn Imperial daughter, is on board as well—accompanied by her own casket. But Evelyn’s one-way voyage to an arranged marriage in the Floating Islands is interrupted when the captain and crew show their true colors and enslave their wealthy passengers.

Both Florian and Evelyn have lived their lives by the rules, and whims, of others. But when they fall in love, they decide to take fate into their own hands—no matter the cost.

Maggie Tokuda-Hall’s sweeping fantasy debut, full of stolen memories, illicit mermaid’s blood, double agents, and haunting mythical creatures conjures an extraordinary cast of characters and the unforgettable story of a couple striving to stay together in the face of myriad forces wishing to control their identities and destinies.

The Waking Forest
By Alyssa Wees
304 Pages | 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525581161 | Delacorte Press

The waking forest has secrets. To Rhea, it appears like a mirage, dark and dense, at the very edge of her backyard. But when she reaches out to touch it, the forest vanishes. She’s desperate to know more–until she finds a peculiar boy who offers to reveal its secrets. If she plays a game.

To the Witch, the forest is her home, where she sits on her throne of carved bone, waiting for dreaming children to beg her to grant their wishes. One night, a mysterious visitor arrives and asks her what she wishes for, but the Witch sends him away. And then the uninvited guest returns.

The strangers are just the beginning. Something is stirring in the forest, and when Rhea’s and the Witch’s paths collide, a truth more treacherous and deadly than either could ever imagine surfaces. But how much are they willing to risk to survive?

These Witches Don’t Burn
By Isabel Sterling
336 Pages | 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780451480347 | Razorbill

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.

Isabel Sterling’s delightful, suspenseful debut is equal parts sweet romance and thrilling mystery. With everything she loves on the line, Hannah must confront this murderous villain before her coven–and any chance she has with the new girl–is destroyed.

Undead Girl Gang
By Lily Anderson
320 Pages | 14+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780451478245 | Razorbill

Meet teenage Wiccan Mila Flores, who truly could not care less what you think about her Doc Martens, her attitude, or her weight because she knows that, no matter what, her BFF Riley is right by her side. So when Riley and Fairmont Academy mean girls June Phelan-Park and Dayton Nesseth die under suspicious circumstances, Mila refuses to believe everyone’s explanation that her BFF was involved in a suicide pact. Instead, armed with a tube of lip gloss and an ancient grimoire, Mila does the unthinkable to uncover the truth: she brings the girls back to life.

Unfortunately, Riley, June, and Dayton have no recollection of their murders. But they do have unfinished business to attend to. Now, with only seven days until the spell wears off and the girls return to their graves, Mila must wrangle the distracted group of undead teens and work fast to discover their murderer…before the killer strikes again.

PROUD to Read

June is Pride month when we honor all types of love – to celebrate, here’s a list of everything from picture books to YA that recognize people’s different orientations.

Ages 0-3

My Two Dads and Me
By Michael Joosten
Illustrated by Izak Zenou
22 Pages | Ages 0-3 | Board
ISBN 9780525580119 | Doubleday Books for Young Readers
Families with same-sex parents are celebrated as we follow busy dads and their kids eating breakfast, getting dressed, heading out to the park, and settling back in at night with a bubble bath and a good-night lullaby.

My Two Moms and Me
By Michael Joosten
Illustrated by Izak Zenou
22 Pages | Ages 0-3 | Board
ISBN 9780525580126 | Doubleday Books for Young Readers
Families with same-sex parents are celebrated as we follow busy moms and their kids going on a playdate, heading to the pool for a swim, and settling back in at night with a bedtime story and a good-night lullaby.

Ages 3-7

Heather Has Two Mommies
By Leslea Newman
Illustrated by Laura Cornell
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780763690427 | Candlewick
Heather’s favorite number is two. She has two arms, two legs, two pets—and two mommies. When Heather goes to school for the first time, someone asks her about her daddy, but Heather doesn’t have a daddy.

Princess Puffybottom … and Darryl
By Susin Nielsen
Illustrated by Olivia Chin Mueller
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101919255 | Tundra Books
What’s a pampered cat to do now that she has to compete for attention with an ill-mannered puppy? Award-winning author Susin Nielsen delights in this laugh-a-minute twist on the classic sibling rivalry story.

Ages 4-8

Big Bob, Little Bob
By James Howe
Illustrated by Laura Ellen Anderson
32 Pages | Ages 4-6 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536215922 | Candlewick
Big Bob likes trucks and throwing balls and being loud. Little Bob likes dolls and jingling bracelets and being quiet. No matter what they do, they do not do it the same. Could they be friends despite these differences?

Ho’onani: Hula Warrior
By Heather Gale
Illustrated by Mika Song
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735264496 | Tundra Books
Based on a true story, Ho’onani: Hula Warrior is a celebration of Hawaiian culture and a girl who learns to lead and learns to accept who she really is – and gains the respect of all those around her.

Julián Is a Mermaid
By Jessica Love
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780763690458 | Candlewick Press
All Julián can think about is dressing up just like the ladies he sees at the pool in his own fabulous mermaid costume. But what will Abuela think about the mess he makes — and even more importantly, what will she think about how Julián sees himself?

Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag
By Rob Sanders
Illustrated by Steven Salerno
48 Pages | Ages 5-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780399555312 | Random House Books for Young Readers
In this deeply moving and empowering true story, young readers will trace the life of the Gay Pride Flag, from its beginnings in 1978 with social activist Harvey Milk and designer Gilbert Baker to its spanning of the globe and its role in today’s world.

Skinnamarink
By Sharon Hampson, Lois Lilienstein, and Bram Morrison, with Randi Hampson
Illustrated by Qin Leng
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735264496 | Tundra Books
Based on the classic folk song made famous by a beloved trio of children’s entertainers, this picture book is best sung aloud! “Skinnamarink” is a timeless anthem of love and inclusion.

Stonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution
By Rob Sanders
Illustrated by Jamey Christoph
40 Pages | Ages 5-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781524719524 | Random House Books for Young Readers
This powerful and timeless true story  will allow young readers to discover the rich and dynamic history of the Stonewall Inn and its role in the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement that continues to this very day.

Ages 10+

Middle School’s a Drag, You Better Werk!
By Greg Howard
304 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525517528 | Putnam Books for Young Readers
When kid drag queen Coco Caliente (aka Julian Vasquez) walks in looking for an agent, Mikey Pruitt thinks he’s finally found his million-dollar idea. As newly out Mikey prepares Julian for the gig of a lifetime, he realizes there’s no rulebook for being gay–and if Julian can be openly gay at school, maybe Mikey can tell his crush how he feels.

The Ship We Built
By Lexie Bean
288 Pages | Ages 10-14 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525554837 | Dial Books
Rowan has too many secrets to write down in the pages of a diary. He’s not the “right kind” of girl, and he’s not the “right kind” of boy. But Rowan discovers another way to share his secrets: letters. Letters he attaches to balloons and releases into the universe, hoping someone new will read them and understand.

Where the Heart Is
By Jo Knowles
304 Pages | Ages 10-14 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536200034 | Candlewick
Micah seems to want their relationship to go beyond friendship, and though Rachel almost wishes for that, too, she can’t force herself to feel “that way” about him. In fact, she isn’t sure she can feel that way about any boy — or what that means. If home is where the heart is, what would happen if you lost it? Compassion and humor infuse the story of a family caught in financial crisis and a girl struggling to form her own identity.

Zenobia July
By Lisa Bunker
320 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780451479402 | Viking Books for Young Readers
When someone anonymously posts hateful memes on her school’s website, Zenobia knows she’s the one with the abilities to solve the mystery, all while wrestling with the challenges of a new school, a new family, and coming to grips with presenting her true gender for the first time.

Ages 12+

Again Again
By E. Lockhart
304 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780385744799 | Delacorte Press
After a near-fatal family catastrophe and an unexpected romantic upheaval, Adelaide Buchwald finds herself catapulted into a summer of wild possibility, during which she will fall in and out of love a thousand times–while finally confronting the secrets she keeps, her ideas about love, and the weird grandiosity of the human mind.

Beyond the Gender Binary
By Alok Vaid-Menon
Illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky
64 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780593094655 | Penguin Workshop
Pocket Change Collective is a series of small books with big ideas from today’s leading activists and artists. Taking from their own experiences as a gender-nonconforming artist, Alok Vaid-Menon shows us that gender is malleable.

Chicken Girl
By Heather T. Smith
240 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780143198680 | Penguin Teen Canada
After being body shamed, Poppy accepts a job as an anonymous sign waver outside a restaurant. There, she meets six-year-old girl Miracle, who helps Poppy see beyond her own pain, opening her eyes to the people around her including Lewis, a teen caring for an ailing parent, while struggling to reach the final stages of his gender transition. 

Girl Crushed
By Katie Heaney
352 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984897343 | Knopf BFYR
When Jamie dumps Quinn a month before their senior year, Quinn is suddenly girlfriend-less and best friend-less. Enter a new crush: Ruby, the gorgeous lead singer of Sweets. But the closer Quinn grows to Ruby, the more she misses Jamie, and the more Jamie misses her. Who says your first love can’t be your second love, too?

The Boy in the Red Dress
By Kristin Lambert
368 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593113684 | Viking Books for Young Readers
New Year’s Eve, 1929: Millie is running the show at the Cloak & Dagger, a swinging speakeasy in the French Quarter. All of New Orleans is out to celebrate, but no one can outshine the boy in the red dress: Marion, the club’s star performer. Then a girl turns up dead outside the club and Marion becomes the number one suspect.

This Coven Won’t Break
By Isabel Sterling
336 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780451480354 | Razorbill
In this gripping, romantic sequel to These Witches Don’t Burn, Hannah must work alongside her new girlfriend to take down the Hunters desperate to steal her magic. When Hannah learns the Hunters have gone nationwide, armed with a serum capable of taking out entire covens at once, she’s desperate to help at any cost.

Ages 14+

Date Me, Bryson Keller
By Kevin Van Whye
336 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593126035 | Random House Books for Young Readers
Everyone knows about the dare: Each week, Bryson Keller must date someone new–the first person to ask him out on Monday morning. Few think Bryson can do it. He may be the king of Fairvale Academy, but he’s never really dated before. Until a boy asks him out, and everything changes.

Followers
By Raziel Reid
336 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735263802 | Penguin Teen Canada
When Lily’s mom kicks her out of their trailer home in the Valley, her estranged aunt invites her to live with her, her movie-star husband, and their daughter, Hailey. Lily is set up in the pool house and thrust into the company of reality-star offspring — kids who are born with silver spoon emojis on their feed.

The Afterward
By E.K. Johnston
352 Pages | Ages 14+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780735231917 | Dutton BFYR
Apprentice Knight Kalanthe Ironheart may be forced to betray not her kingdom or her friends, but her own heart as she seeks a stable future for herself and those she loves. Olsa Rhetsdaughter is a beggar and thief, who lived hand to mouth on the streets until fortune–or fate–pulled her into Kalanthe’s orbit. And now she’s reluctant to leave it.

The Mermaid, The Witch, and The Sea
By Maggie Tokuda-Hall
368 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536204315 | Candlewick
The pirate Florian, born Flora, has always done whatever it takes to survive. Lady Evelyn Hasegawa, a highborn Imperial daughter, is on board as well—accompanied by her own casket. Both Florian and Evelyn have lived their lives by the rules, and whims, of others. But when they fall in love, they decide to take fate into their own hands.

The Stars and the Blackness Between Them
By Junauda Petrus
320 Pages | Ages 14+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780525555490 | Dutton Books for Young Readers
Told in two distinct and irresistible voices, Junauda Petrus’s bold and lyrical debut is the story of two black girls from very different backgrounds finding love and happiness in a world that seems determined to deny them both.

For more YA titles, check out our list from last year! And don’t forget to pick up one of these wonderful books at your local bookstore in June (or any month, really!).