If her latest YA release, Undead Girl Gang, is any indication, Lily Anderson knows a thing or two about witches. The book follows Mila Flores and her best friend Riley, who have always been inseparable. There's not much excitement in their small town, so they make their own fun, devoting most of their time to Riley's favorite activity: amateur witchcraft. So when Riley and two Fairmont Academy mean girls die under suspicious circumstances, Mila refuses to believe everyone's explanation that they were involved in a suicide pact. Instead, armed with a tube of lip gloss and an ancient grimoire, Mila does the unthinkable to uncover the truth: she brings the girls back to life.
Unfortunately, Riley, June, and Dayton have no recollection of their murders, but they do have unfinished business to attend to. And with only seven days until the spell wears off, Mila must wrangle the group of undead teens and work fast to discover their murderer — before the killer strikes again. The book is being described as Veronica Mars meets The Craft and it's basically the perfect mix of compelling magic, creepy goings-on and a hefty dose of '90s girl power culture all rolled up into an edge-of-your-seat murder mystery.
But where did Anderson first fall in love with all things witchy, and maybe even cultivate some serious inspiration for her crew of bruja undead besties? Books, of course. Below the author shares five of her all-time favorite wickedly witchy books, from childhood favorites to decidedly adult romances. If you've been looking for an excuse to add some mystical, magical, witchy reads to your TBR, now is definitely the time to get spellbound.
The Tiffany Aching Series — 'The Wee Free Men', 'Hat Full Of Sky', 'Wintersmith', 'I Shall Wear Midnight' and 'The Shepherd's Crown' by Terry Pratchett
"This whole list could be Terry Pratchett witches," Andersen tells Bustle. "Instead, here's a whole series! Tiffany Aching is from a shepherding family. She makes a fine cheese and, at age nine, becomes the child-queen of some tiny tattooed fairies and also a witch-in-training. In Pratchett's world (the Discworld for those not in the know), witches are catchall wise women — healers, caretakers, referees for local disputes. They're who the community looks to for answers. Witches are who move to act when everyone else stays still. The whole series is deeply insightful while also being clever and fun."
'The Witches' by Roald Dahl
"I love a storybook witch and Dahl's Grand High Witch (immortalized on film by Angelica Houston) may be the best classically evil witch ever written," Andersen says. "This is also the first book I can remember as a kid where there wasn't a real happily ever after. Children become mice and don't turn back. Witches can't be snuffed out all at once. And it'll make you terrified of women in opera gloves."
'Wicked' by Gregory Maguire
"I first read Wicked in the sixth grade as character research for playing the Wicked Witch of the West in a combination production of The Wiz and The Wizard of Oz — don't ask," Andersen says. "And while I might be the only musical theater nerd who isn't into Stephen Schwartz's version of the Wicked Witch's backstory — don't @ me unless you want to fight about petit motifs in the score — Maguire's deep dive into the question 'Can one be born bad?' stands up on its own. If L. Frank Baum's Oz was an American fairy tale, then Maguire's is a fairy tale on the cusp of becoming dystopian."
'The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes' by Jennifer Crusie, Eileen Dreyer, and Anne Stuart
"Romance novels line the walls of my bedroom and the works of Jennifer Crusie take up a whole shelf," Andersen says. "In this co-authored story, the orphaned Fortunes sisters (Dee, Lizzie, and Mare) have magical powers that they aren't great at controlling, which is super inconvenient when their evil aunt decides to send all three sisters their True Loves — and then take their magic from them. Totally silly and sexy."
'Labyrinth Lost' by Zoraida Córdova
"Labyrinth Lost is the Stefan from Saturday Night Live of witch books," Andersen says. "It has everything: brujas, spells gone wrong, disappearing families, mysterious boys, beautiful besties, an underworld that makes Wonderland look like a cake walk. If the Mortiz family wanted another daughter, I'd be there in a heartbeat. Córdova is truly a master storyteller, regardless of category or genre. Her new adult romances are also some of my favorites!"