The diversity of magic systems to be found in YA fantasy always astounds me, and nowhere is that more evident than in queer witch YA books. In the cross-section of the 13 witchy YA books included in this list alone, you can find magic systems based on spells, potions, blood sacrifice, and Latin American culture. One of the books takes inspiration from Macbeth‘s “by the pricking of my thumbs,” while others create entirely new rules for magic. There’s elemental magic, baking magic, fae magic, and so much more. And as good as the magic is, the queer representation is even better. From trans and genderfluid characters to bisexual representation and sapphic romance, you can find almost anything you’re looking for in the world of queer witch YA.
I’m always drawn to a good story of magic, and especially if it’s about witches — and especially, especially if it’s queer — I can hardly resist. Any why would anyone want to? Here at Book Riot, we’re trying to introduce you to more great books, not less. And with that said, how about I introduce you to these 13 gloriously queer witch YA books about teen witches getting up to all sorts of mischief.
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
Yadriel didn’t mean to summon the ghost of Julian Diaz, his school’s (former) resident bad boy. He was just trying to prove himself as a real brujo to his family, who have been slow to accept his gender identity. But now Yadriel’s stuck with the wrong ghost and gets drawn into Julian’s quest to find out what happened to him and tie up loose ends before moving on. The more time they spend together, though, the less Yadriel wants him to leave.
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova
Alex may be the most powerful witch of her generation, but she hates being a bruja. She hates it so much, in fact, that she makes one last ditch effort to rid herself of her powers completely. But instead of erasing her powers, she erases her family from existence. Now, in order to make things right, she must descend into the depths of Los Lagos, a sort of underworld, alongside a brooding brujo she can’t trust but might be her only hope of saving her family.
When We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey
This YA novel from one of my favorite author features not one, not two, not three, but six teenage witches figuring out their powers and their friendship after one of their own, Alexis, accidentally kills a boy. As if hiding a body weren’t stressful enough, now their powers are also all on the fritz, and Alexis’s crush on a fellow friend is getting harder and harder to deny. It’s more about friendship than magic, but that’s kind of the beauty of this story.
The Witchery by S. Isabelle
The Red Three are renowned throughout the halls of Mesmortes, where all their fellow witches want to be them, one-up them, or date them. But it’s Logan, a baby witch with only a tenuous grasp on her powers, who they decide to invite into their ranks. Iris, Jailah, and Thalia are hoping she might be the key to helping them stop the curse that has haunted their town — and left a trail of dead bodies in its wake — for generations. Though it’s not as prominently queer as a lot of the books on this list, one of the main characters has an ex-girlfriend and is attracted to other girls. Another POV character, one of the Hammersmitt boys who teams up with them, is also queer.
Mooncakes by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker
This adorable graphic novel follows a hard of hearing witch and a nonbinary werewolf who are reunited after years apart only to discover that their childhood friendship might be morphing into something more. And with a dangerous demonic spirit haunting the woods, they’ll have to work together in order to save their New England town. Mooncakes is a wonderfully cozy and atmospheric read full of magic and feel-good moments.
These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling
Hannah is an elemental witch living in Salem, Massachusetts, trying to avoid her ex and keep her magic a secret from Regs. But when a blood ritual interrupts end of year bonfire at school, Hannah is convinced it’s the work of a deadly Blood Witch. Unfortunately, the only person who believes her is the last one she’d ever want to team up with: her ex-girlfriend, Veronica. If they can set aside their differences for long enough, maybe they can save the day. Or maybe, they’ll uncover something even more terrifying behind the attacks on Salem’s witches.
The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall
An imperial daughter shipped off to an arranged marriage with her coffin in tow and a genderfluid orphan turned pirate decide to change their fates after being thrown together aboard the Dove. Along the way, they help free a captured mermaid, meet an opportunistic witch, and are hunted — along with the rest of the crew — by the Pirate Supreme. It’s a little bit witchy, a good bit queer, and a whole lot of swashbuckling fantasy romance.
The Witch King by H.E. Edgmon
Once upon a time Wyatt Croft was betrothed to the fae prince — and his best friend — Emyr North. Now, he’s living in secret in the human world. One terrible night, his magic spiraled out of control and he left his life and his future behind. Or did he? Emyr isn’t about to let him go so easily. And when the fae prince tracks him down, he insists they must marry in order save the throne. But Wyatt is tired of how witches are treated in the fae world, and, in a desperate attempt to stay among the humans, he makes a deal with the enemy. Staying away might not be that easy, though — especially when traces of the Emyr he once loved begin to peak through and he’s faced with choosing between his people and himself.
How to Succeed in Witchcraft by Aislinn Brophy
An overachieving witch vies for a scholarship to the school of her dreams in this contemporary fantasy novel full of witchy girls, high school crushes, and social commentary. Junior Shay Johnson is determined to do whatever it takes to impress the scholarship committee and win a full-ride to the magical university of her dreams — even if that means starring in this year’s school musical alongside her main competition for the scholarship, Ana Alvarez. And Ana isn’t exactly that awful witch Shay thought she was. In fact, Shay could see them becoming friends or even more. But when the theater director’s attentions become a little too direct and inappropriate, Shay will have to decide whether to speak out even when her dream scholarship and her future could be on the line.
B*WITCH by Paige McKenzie and Nancy Ohlin
Iris has never met another witch IRL, but after moving to a new school — and planning to keep her magic a secret — she’s taken in by a coven of three teenage witches. But Greta, Ridley, and Binx aren’t the only witches at this school. There’s another coven, the Triad, who dabble in dark magic and cause chaos throughout the school. When one of their own in murdered, though, the rival covens will have to work together in order to stop the anti-witch sentiment that has led to a deadly crime before any of the rest of them are next.
Coven by Jennifer Dugan and Kit Seaton
Fire elemental Emsy is more interested in spending time with her girlfriend than honing her craft. But when a series of suspicious murders among her family’s coven back east put her own life in danger, Emsy and her family must return to upstate New York to hunt a powerful killer. With a mystery to solve and a killer to find, Emsy will have to finally master her fire powers and fast if she wants to keep herself and her family from becoming the next victims.
The Heartbreak Bakery by A.R. Capetta
Did someone say magical bakery? I can’t imagine a cuter setting for a witchy fantasy novel. At the Proud Muffin, a queer bakery in Austin, a teen baker accidentally causes a mass wave of breakups after baking a batch of brownies post-breakup that cause everyone else who eats them to, well, breakup. Now there’s a wave of queer heartbreak throughout the Austin community and even the owners of the Proud Muffin aren’t spared. But the cute bike messenger, Harley, believes that if Syd’s magic started this wave of breakups then Syd’s magic is the one thing that can fix it, too.
The Buried and the Bound by Rochelle Hassan (January 24, 2023)
A hedgewitch determined to combat whatever dark force is making the fae in her Massachusetts’s town more aggressive than usual, a cursed teen who’s lost all his memories of his true love, and a boy who accidentally signed his life away to a dark magical creature that eats people find their paths intertwining in this YA fantasy novel that blends together magic and the real world.
The queer witch YA books and magic never end with these other lists: