YA Books About Plant Magic and Family Secrets

Tirzah Price

Senior Contributing Editor

Most of Tirzah Price's life decisions have been motivated by a desire to read as many books as humanly possible. Tirzah holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and has worked as an independent bookseller and librarian. She’s also the author of the Jane Austen Murder Mysteries, published by HarperTeen, and Bibliologist at TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations. Follow her on Twitter @TirzahPrice.

Macmillan eDeals

Book Riot is teaming up with Macmillan eDeals to giveaway one Kindle Paperwhite. Enter the form and sign-up for the Macmillan eDeals newsletter for a chance to win! Here's a little more about the Macmillan eDeals newsletter: Be the first to hear about our down-priced ebooks across a variety of genres from your favorite authors, starting at $2.99!

I love finding YA books that share similar themes and ideas, but take those elements in very different directions. It just goes to show that no matter how similar an idea might seem in its bare bones description, authors have the talent to make an idea truly their own. Lately, I read a 2021 release that reminded me of two backlist titles that I really enjoyed, because they are all very unique takes on plant magic and family secrets! They make perfect reading if you want some spooky, witchy reads but you’re still enjoying those summer vibes!

This Poison Heart cover

This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron

Briseis is a Brooklyn teen who lives with her moms above their flower shop, and she has a secret: She has the ability to grow plants from seed to blossom in an instant. But what she hasn’t told anyone, not even her moms, is that poisonous plants don’t have any effect on her whatsoever. Keeping her abilities secret is difficult but manageable in the city, but when she learns that her biological aunt has bequeathed an estate in Rhinebeck to her, full of dangerous gardens and a fully-stocked apothecary, Briseis and her moms relocate there and begin building a new life. Briseis discovers that her abilities flourish in the countryside when she doesn’t try to contain them, and she has a talent for mixing magical elixirs. But her new life becomes dangerous when she learns that some people will stop at nothing to obtain a legendary elixir for immortality.

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

The women in Estrella’s family have a gift: They can make flowers bloom and grow with just the touch of their hands, and they’ve kept the gardens at La Pradera, a sought-after destination for people around the world. But they’re also cursed: Whoever they fall in love with disappears. When Estrella and her four cousins all fall for the heir to La Pradera and she disappears, they’re devastated. But then a mysterious boy with no name or memory appears at the same time, and Estrella is convinced that if they can discover who he is and where he is from, they can break the curse and return all of the lost lovers of her family.

cover image of Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton

Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton

Set on a tiny island in the San Juan archipelago, this novel tells the story of generations of Blackburn women who have been cursed by their ancestor’s dark spell of revenge. Noor Blackburn is hoping that she can just duck the family legacy nonsense — the curse and the magical abilities that should be her right — and ignore the past. But when a mysterious book called the Price Guide to the Occult, authored by her estranged mother, starts appearing everywhere, Noor realizes that she won’t escape so easily. And then when her mother herself arrives on the island, causing the plants and trees to act strangely and turn deadly, Noor knows she is going to have to face the one person she’s always feared.

Want more 3 on a YA Theme? We’ve got you covered.