New YA Witch, Ghost and Vampire Books to Read This Spooky Season
As I've discussed in my older posts on YA Witch Books, YA Ghost Books and YA Vampire Books, the YA Paranormal subgenre has changed a lot since the 2010s.
What's new since the 2010s? More books about magic in different cultures, and greater diversity of characters. I love when YA paranormals use the subgenre to explore timeless YA themes, like the exploration of one's identity, power dynamics, and more.
New YA Books About Witches
Brooms by Jasmoine Walls and Teo DuVall (2023)
Brooms uses magic to discuss racial segregation in the 1930s South. Plus a broom racing Scooby Gang. Count me in!
In 1930s Mississippi, magic is permitted only in certain circumstances, and by certain people. Unsanctioned broom racing is banned. But for those who need the money, or the thrills...it's there to be found.
Meet Billie Mae, captain of the Night Storms racing team, and Loretta, her best friend and second-in-command. They’re determined to make enough money to move out west to a state that allows Black folks to legally use magic and take part in national races.
Cheng-Kwan does her best to handle the delicate and dangerous double act of being the perfect “son” to her parents, and being true to herself while racing.
Mattie and Emma are the youngest of the group and trying to dodge government officials who want to send them (and their newly-surfaced powers) away to boarding school.
Then there's Luella, in love with Billie Mae. Her powers were sealed away years ago after she fought back against the government.
Coming in 2024: The Poisons We Drink by Bethany Baptiste
This one sounds awesome and seems to use witchcraft to explore the current divisions in our country, perhaps even substance abuse, and I love that!
In a country divided between humans and witchers, Venus Stoneheart makes extra money concocting illegal love potions to support her family.
Making love potions is a dangerous endeavor. Brewing has severe, debilitating side effects, and getting caught leads to extreme punishment: death or prison. But what Venus fears most is the dark magic within her.
When an enemy's iron bullet kills her mother, Venus’s life implodes. Keeping her reckless little sister Janus safe is now her responsibility. When the powerful Grand Witcher, the ruthless head of her coven, offers Venus the chance to punish her mother's killer, she has to pay a steep price for revenge. The cost? Brew poisonous potions to enslave D.C.'s most influential politicians.
As Venus crawls deeper into the corrupt underbelly of her city, the line between magic and power blurs, and it's hard to tell who to trust…herself included.
How to Succeed in Witchcraft by Aislinn Brophy (2023)
Shay Johnson has all the makings of a successful witch. As a junior at T.K. Anderson Magical Magnet School, she’s determined to win the Brockton Scholarship—her ticket into the university of her dreams. Her competition? Ana freaking Álvarez. The key to victory? Impressing Mr. B, drama teacher and head of the scholarship committee.
When Mr. B asks Shay to star in this year’s aggressively inclusive musical, she warily agrees, even though she’ll have to put up with Ana playing the other lead. But in rehearsals, Shay realizes Ana is . . . not the despicable witch she’d thought. Perhaps she could be a friend—or more. And Shay could use someone in her corner once she becomes the target of Mr. B’s unwanted attention. When Shay learns she’s not the first witch to experience his inappropriate behavior, she must decide if she’ll come forward. But how can she speak out when her future's on the line?
Night of the Witch by Beth Revis and Sara Raasch (2023)
Fritzi is a witch. The lone survivor of a brutal attack on her coven, she's determined to find her only remaining family member and bring the hexenjägers―zealot witch hunters―to justice for the lives they ended. To do this, she will need to take down their leader, the merciless and enigmatic Kommandant Dieter Kirch.
Otto is a hexenjäger―but that's just his cover. Years ago, the hexenjägers burned his innocent mother alive, and he has been plotting his revenge against the people who tore apart his family ever since. And now the time has come for them to pay for what they've done.
When Fritzi and Otto are unexpectedly thrown together, neither is sure they can trust the other. The reluctant truce fueled by their common enemy takes them from the city at the heart of the hexenjägers' power to the wild and mysterious Black Forest. As old truths come to light and new dangers are revealed, Fritzi and Otto uncover a horrifying magical plot at the center of the hexenjäger attacks that leads back to Kommandant Kirch . . . but their own growing feelings for each other may be the most powerful magic of all.
Bring Me Your Midnight by Rachel Griffin (2023)
Tana Fairchild's fate has never been in question. Her life has been planned out since the moment she was born: she is to marry the governor's son, Landon, and secure an unprecedented alliance between the witches of her island home and the mainlanders who see her very existence as a threat.
Tana's coven has appeased those who fear their power for years by releasing most of their magic into the ocean during the full moon. But when Tana misses the midnight ritual―a fatal mistake―there is no one she can turn to for help…until she meets Wolfe.
Wolfe claims he is from a coven that practices dark magic, making him one of the only people who can help her. But he refuses to let Tana's power rush into the sea, and instead teaches her his forbidden magic. A magic that makes her feel powerful. Alive.
As the sea grows more violent, her coven loses control of the currents, a danger that could destroy the alliance as well as her island. Tana will have to choose between love and duty, between loyalty to her people and loyalty to her heart. Marrying Landon would secure peace for her coven but losing Wolfe and his wild magic could cost her everything else.
New YA Books About Ghosts
Ghosted by Amanda Quain (2023)
Hattie Tilney isn’t a believer. Yes, she’s a senior at America’s most (allegedly) haunted high school, Northanger Abbey. But ever since her paranormal-loving dad passed away, she’s hung up her Ghostbusters suit, put away the EMF detectors, and moved on. She has enough to worry about in the land of the living―like taking care of her younger brother, Liam, while their older sister spirals out and their mother, Northanger’s formidable headmistress, buries herself in work. If Hattie just tries hard enough and keeps that overachiever mask on tight through graduation, maybe her mom will finally notice her.
But the mask starts slipping when Hattie’s assigned to be an ambassador to Kit Morland, who’s just transferred to Northanger on―what else―a ghost-hunting scholarship. The two are paired up for an investigative project on the school’s paranormal activity, and Hattie quickly strikes a deal: Kit will present whatever ghostly evidence he can find to prove that the campus is haunted, and Hattie will prove it’s not. But as they explore the abandoned tunnels and foggy graveyards of Northanger, Hattie starts to realize that Kit might be the kind of person who makes her want to believe in something―and someone―for the first time.
If I Have to be Haunted by Miranda Sun (2023)
Cara Tang doesn’t want to be haunted.
Maybe the dead have issues, but Cara has enough of her own. Her overbearing mother insists she be the “perfect” Chinese-American daughter. This means she's forced to suppress her ghost-speaking powers. Also, she keeps getting into fights with Zacharias Coleson, the local golden boy whose smirk makes her want to set things on fire.
One day, she stumbles across Zach’s dead body in the woods. He’s even more infuriating as a ghost, but Cara’s the only one who can see him—and save him.
Agreeing to resurrect him puts her at odds with her mother, draws her into a dangerous liminal world of monsters and magic—and worse, leaves her stuck with Zach. Yet as she and Zach grow closer, forced to depend on each other to survive, Cara finds the most terrifying thing is that she might not hate him so much after all.
Maybe this is why her mother warned her about ghosts.
The Voice Upstairs by Laura Weymouth (2023)
Wilhelmina Price has a dubious reputation in the village of Thrush’s Green. Ever since her mother’s untimely death, she has been able to see a person’s spirit leaving their body days or hours before they die. Wil has never been able to prevent these deaths, so her unusual skill has made her an outsider to most except her lifelong friend, Edison, the youngest son of Lord Summerfield. But when a maid at the Summerfield’s estate dies in the same mysterious way as Wil’s own mother, Wil takes on a housemaid’s position to investigate whether these women might, in fact, have been murdered.
There is nothing Ed Summerfield values more than his friendship with Wil, which is why he’s desperate to disguise how hopelessly in love with her he’s become—and his belief that he may be haunted by the ghost of his older brother, Peter. Because if Wil, with her supernatural powers, can’t see the same evidence of hauntings that Ed does, he worries he may actually be losing his mind.
Together, Wil and Ed must dig deeper into the Summerfields’ hoard of secrets, though the truth won’t give itself up without a fight that could prove deadly to the both of them, as they face cunning adversaries among the living and the dead.
I’m Not Supposed to Be In the Dark by Riss M. Nelson (2023)
Seventeen-year-old Aria Cayetano dreams of ghosts. She used to see them too, but thanks to a special tea brewed by her grandfather, Aria’s connection to the spirit world has been severed. Until a decades old rosebush suddenly dies across the street, convincing Aria that something supernatural is happening in her neighborhood.
She aches to investigate it, but the rosebush sits on her ex-best friend Derek Johnson’s front lawn, and she can't question him because he hates her now. Aria doesn't know what drove them apart years ago, but she does know Derek's been acting strange for weeks, sneaking out in the dead of night to who knows where.
Then, days after the rosebush dies, Derek begins speaking to her again. At least Aria thinks it’s him. Until she discovers there’s a ghost inside of Derek that will take his life if it doesn’t find what it’s searching for. As Aria and Derek race to uncover the mystery, another kind of magic takes them by surprise: love. But Aria has to decide how far she’s willing to go to save Derek, especially when helping the ghost means tapping into whatever the tea has buried inside of her.
New YA Books About Vampires
The Witch and the Vampire by Francesca Flores (2023)
Ava and Kaye used to be best friends. Until one night two years ago, vampires broke through the magical barrier protecting their town, and in the ensuing attack, Kaye’s mother was killed, and Ava was turned into a vampire. Since then, Ava has been trapped in her house. Her mother Eugenia needs her: Ava still has her witch powers, and Eugenia must take them in order to hide that she's a vampire as well. Desperate to escape her confinement and stop her mother's plans to destroy the town, Ava must break out, flee to the forest, and seek help from the vampires who live there. When there is another attack, she sees her opportunity and escapes.
Kaye, now at the end of her training as a Flame witch, is ready to fulfill her duty of killing any vampires that threaten the town, including Ava. On the night that Ava escapes, Kaye follows her and convinces her to travel together into the forest, while secretly planning to turn her in. Ava agrees, hoping to rekindle their old friendship, and the romantic feelings she'd started to have for Kaye before that terrible night.
But with monstrous trees that devour humans whole, vampires who attack from above, and Ava’s stepfather tracking her, the woods are full of danger. As they travel deeper into the forest, Kaye questions everything she thought she knew. The two are each other's greatest threat―and also their only hope, if they want to make it through the forest unscathed.
The Scarlet Veil by Shelby Mahurin (2023)
Célie Tremblay has always been a good girl: kind and beautiful, a daughter of whom every parent would be proud. She surprises the entire kingdom when she defies tradition to become the first huntswoman—including her new captain and fiancé, Jean Luc, who rules the huntsmen with an iron fist. He isn’t the only one concerned for Célie’s safety, however. Though her friends try to protect her from the horrors of her past, mysterious whispers still haunt her, and a new evil is rising in Belterra—leaving bodies in its wake, each one drained of blood.
Determined to prove herself in her new role, Célie tracks the killer to the lair of Les Éternels—ancient creatures only spoken about in nursery rhymes—and catches the attention of their king, a monster who hides his plans for her behind beautiful words and sharp smiles. Now Célie has new reason to fear the dark because the closer he gets, the more tempted she feels to give in to his dark hunger—and her own.