These Witches Don’t Burn, by Isabel Sterling, published by Penguin Random House.

What is the book about?

This light drama and mystery plot with a twist of magic is set in Salem, Massachusetts, and follows a teenage witch balancing trouble with her ex-girlfriend, friendships and a mysterious danger looming. It’s a funny and sweet page-turner with both relatable and intriguing problems and well developed characters and relationships. One of the main themes explored is feminism and links to the Salem Witch Trials in an eloquent modern-day setting.

Who is it aimed at?

Given the nature of the experience of reading These Witches Don’t Burn, it could really be read by any teenagers.

What is your favourite part?

Having enjoyed this book so much it’s difficult to choose a favourite part, but I would have to choose the way in which relationships between characters were written with such focus and care. They interacted with each other and flowed in a way that never failed to make sense.

What was your least favourite part?

I was certainly interested in the plot of struggles with dark magic forces but due to the heavy focus on characters, I actually felt more interested in the people and their journeys than that.

Which character would you most like to meet?

Perhaps my favourite side character was, strangely enough, the one with whom I share my name. Gemma, as the main character Hannah’s best friend, who is not a witch has had this world kept secret from her for a long time, which is a concept that I was really interested in.

Why should someone buy this book?

One of the things I loved about this book was how well it presented two girls in a relationship, with total normality but also without shying away from it. I’ve always found it difficult to express my desire for exactly what Isabel Sterling gave the reader with this book, and for that I’m deeply grateful.

Gemma McLaughlin