Staying In Tonight? Here Are 13 Spooky Books About Witches, Curses, And Dark Magic

by Kerri Jarema

No one is sure what exactly started the superstition of Friday the 13th. A quick Google search will pull up everything from stories about Jesus's death to the 1907 publication of Thomas W. Lawson's popular novel Friday, the Thirteenth. Whatever led to the belief that 13 is an unlucky number, the belief is now so widespread that there is even a scientific name entirely devoted to fear of the number 13: "triskaidekaphobia". Yeah, people are pretty serious about today being the unluckiest day of the year. But even if you're not one to believe in superstitions or bad luck, it is definitely easy to get caught up in all the spooky atmosphere.

Just take a look at the 13 spooky books below; all have something to do with witches and dark magic, family curses and local superstitions that make for some eerie, entertaining and pitch perfect reads not only for Friday the 13th but for the Halloween season in general. If you're on the hunt for a book to get through in one spooky sitting or are always hoping to add more eerie reads to your general TBR list, you're sure to find a new favorite below. Just watch out for black cats, ladders and falling mirrors while you're reading.

'The Graces' by Laure Eve

Like everyone else in her town, River is obsessed with the Graces, attracted by their glamour and apparent ability to weave magic. But are they really what they seem? And are they more dangerous than they let on?

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'Wild Beauty' by Anna-Marie McLemore

For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then a strange boy appears in the gardens. He is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is than his first name. As Estrella helps Fel piece together his past, La Pradera leads them to dangerous secrets.

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'The Careful Undressing Of Love' by Corey Ann Haydu

Everyone knows Devonairre Street girls are different. They’re the ones with the curse. The ones who can get you killed. Lorna Ryder is a Devonairre Street girl, and for years, paying lip service to the curse has been the small price of living in a neighborhood full of memories of her father, killed in the 2001 Times Square Bombing. Then her best friend’s boyfriend is killed, and suddenly a city paralyzed by dread of another terrorist attack is obsessed with Devonairre Street.

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'A Fierce And Subtle Poison' by Samantha Mabry

Everyone knows the legends about the cursed girl — Isabel, the one the señoras whisper about. They say she has green skin and grass for hair, and her touch can kill. Lucas has grown up hearing stories about the cursed girl, and he wants to believe in Isabel and her magic. When letters from Isabel begin mysteriously appearing in his room the same day his girlfriend disappears, Lucas turns to Isabel for answers — and finds himself lured into her strange and enchanted world.

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'The Hawkweed Prophecy' by Irena Brignull

Poppy is a troubled teen, causing chaos wherever she goes. Ember is a young witch, struggling to find a place within her coven and prove her worth. Both are outsiders: feeling like they don't belong and seeking escape. Little do they know that an ancient prophecy has brought them together. Switched at birth by the scheming witch Raven Hawkweed, Poppy and Ember must come to terms with their true identities and fight for their own place in the world.

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'Wicked Like a Wildfire' by Lana Popović

All the women in Iris and Malina’s family have the unique magical ability or “gleam” to manipulate beauty. But their mother has strict rules to keep their gifts a secret, and above all, they are forbidden from falling in love. But when their mother is mysteriously attacked, the sisters discover a wicked curse that haunts their family line—but will they find that the very magic that bonds them together is destined to tear them apart forever?

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'The Raven Boys' by Maggie Steifvater

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark. His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a student at the local private school. Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But she’s not so sure anymore.

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'Vassa In The Night' by Sarah Porter

In Vassa’s neighborhood, Babs Yagg, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters—and sometimes innocent shoppers as well. So when Vassa’s stepsister sends her out for light bulbs in the middle of night, she knows it could become a suicide mission. But Vassa has a bit of luck hidden in her pocket: Erg, a tough-talking wooden doll with ferocious cunning. With Erg’s help, Vassa just might be able to break the witch’s curse and free her Brooklyn neighborhood.

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'Labyrinth Lost' by Zoraida Cordova

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust, but who may be Alex’s only chance at saving her family.

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'Akata Witch' by Nnedi Okorafor

Born in New York, but living in Nigeria, Sunny is a little lost. She is albino and incredibly sensitive to the sun. But once she befriends Orlu and Chichi, Sunny is plunged in to the world of the Leopard People, where your worst defect becomes your greatest asset. Together, they form the youngest ever Oha Coven. Their mission is to track down Black Hat Otokoto, the man responsible for kidnapping and maiming children. Will Sunny be able to overcome the killer with powers stronger than her own?

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'The Wood' by Chelsea Bobulski

When Winter’s dad goes missing during his nightly patrol of the wood, she can't help but think there's more to her dad's disappearance. She soon finds a young man traveling in the wood named Henry who knows more than he should. The wood is poisoned, changing into something sinister—torturing travelers lost in it. Winter must put her trust in Henry in order to find the truth and those they’ve lost.

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'Bone Gap' by Laura Ruby

Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps—gaps to trip you up, gaps to slide through so you can disappear forever. So when Roza went missing, the people of Bone Gap weren’t surprised. After all, it wasn’t the first time that someone had slipped away. Finn knows that’s not what happened with Roza. He knows she was kidnapped, ripped from the cornfields by a dangerous man whose face he cannot remember. But the searches turned up nothing, and no one believes him anymore.

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'The Game of Love and Death' by Martha Brockenbrough

For centuries Love and Death have chosen their players. And Death has always won. Always. Meet Flora Saudade, an African-American girl who dreams of becoming the next Amelia Earhart. Meet Henry Bishop, born a few blocks and a million worlds away, a white boy with his future assured. The players have been chosen. The dice have been rolled. But when human beings make moves of their own, what happens next is anyone’s guess.

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