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Witchy Reads for Hocus Pocus Fans that Will Put a Spell on You

by  | October 12
Hocus Pocus image of Sanderson Sisters

October is here, and that means Hocus Pocus season is upon us! This Disney Channel movie about three witches on their quest to hunt down children has found its way into our hearts for years. There’s a ton of merchandise, costuming, promotional drinks and Starbucks secret menu concoctions, and marathons of the film to keep you in the witchy spirit all month long. And there’s even a sequel on the horizon!

But if you’re of the literary persuasion, it might not be enough to just watch the movie. You want to surround yourself with stories that remind you of our three favorite evil sisters. Don’t worry, you too can read like a Sanderson this Halloween with these witchy, supernatural reads. Come, sisters (and other siblings), we fly! To the bookshelf!

The Third Witch

The Third Witch

by Rebecca Reisert

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble indeed! Winifred spends a lot of time at the cauldron, so she would probably feel a kinship with the witches of Macbeth. Gilly is just trying to survive, learning from the two older witches she lives with deep in the forest, after having her life ruined by Macbeth. So when the time finally comes when she is strong enough to take on the would-be king, she infiltrates his castle as a kitchen boy and gets to work exacting her revenge. But as Macbeth descends into madness, things begin to change, and this young witch must use her wits and wiles to make it out of the castle alive. The Third Witch is an alternate retelling of Shakespeare’s famous Macbeth, providing a different perspective on all its characters. Gilly’s desire for revenge and her resilience reminds me a lot of Winifred and her quest to stay young at any cost. Daring, dark, and full of intrigue, this novel will cast a spell on you.

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The Witches of Eastwick

The Witches of Eastwick

by John Updike

Winifred is a classic character, so there should definitely be a classic tale of witchcraft residing on her shelf. Alexandra, Jane, and Sukie are three beguiling former wives living in a small Rhode Island town, all of whom end up being seduced by a mysterious man named Darryl Van Home, who is working to refurbish a nearby mansion. In turn, each of these women use their dark powers and unwittingly begin to enchant the townsfolk, with severe consequences for all. An ominous dark tale of passion, jealousy, and a coven turned on itself, The Witches of Eastwick is the kind of deliciously devious tale that ends on a sour note, one that Winifred might take heed of in case something, or someone, ever tries to come between her and her sisters.

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The Lost Queen

The Lost Queen

by Signe Pike

Winifred Sanderson is a lot of things, but she’s no pushover. Strong, powerful, and cunning, she’d see a lot of herself in the ancient Scottish Queen Languoreth. In a Scotland as much myth as reality, Languoreth finds herself embroiled in a war that will test her wits, her strength, and her heart. Betrothed to Rhydderch, a son of a High King who leans into Christianity, she will struggle to keep to the ways of her land, and finds comfort and passion in the arms of the handsome warrior Maelgwn. A grand, sweeping epic, The Lost Queen will transport you to a fantastical world sure to ensnare your imagination with its magic and drama. And, luckily for both you and Winifred, it already has a sequel which was released this September. In The Forgotten Kingdom, Languoreth continues to fight to save her kingdom.

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Good Omens

Good Omens

by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Mary loves a good laugh, and given that she’s the funniest Sanderson sister, that’s not surprising. So why wouldn’t she enjoy a book that features all her favorite things? Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens has the hunting of a child, the devil and his demons, witchcraft and prophecy, and all sorts of ridiculous situations to tickle the funny bone. Aziraphale and Crowley are an angel and a demon, respectively, who are tasked with keeping an eye on the Antichrist as the end of the world beckons nearer. The only problem? They’ve been following the wrong kid for years. What unfolds is a divine comedy of sorts where the two are desperately looking for the child, all while various parties are sorting out all the strange things happening around them, including a boy in Tadfield who suddenly can bend reality to his will.

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The Rules of Magic

The Rules of Magic

by Alice Hoffman

Mary loves her sisters, even if they don’t always love her. She reminds me a lot of Aunt Jet from the Practical Magic universe, caring and sweet but also very powerful. In The Rules of Magic, we meet Jet when she’s still young, learning the ways of magic alongside her sister Franny and brother Vincent. The Owens have always been a magical family, one with a curse on their heads after Maria Owens’s heart was broken all those years ago. But as they learn how to use their gifts under the deft hand of their great aunt Isabelle Owens, these witches realize that magic often comes at a cost, and one you don’t always see coming. Tragic, beautiful, and all about the importance and power of family, this book will have you, and Mary, glued to every page as plot twists come at you left and right.

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Waking the Witch

Waking the Witch

by Pam Grossman

Okay, so maybe Mary isn’t the smartest witch out there, but the kind of witch who would think to pull her sisters into a calming circle would definitely be in touch with her earth-child side. As such, she would surely get a kick out of Waking the Witch, an in-depth look at the portrayal of witches throughout the ages. Pam Grossman gives us the history of the witch and weaves in her own story of falling in love with the occult. The book focuses as much on educating the reader on witches as it does on exploring themes of empowerment and community. Plus, given how Mary was enthralled with the TV at “Satan’s” house, she would probably love to learn more about how witches are portrayed in pop culture. Do you think she’d prefer the original Sabrina the Teenage Witch or the Netflix revamp?

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The Witch of Painted Sorrows

The Witch of Painted Sorrows

by M. J. Rose

Sultry, sensual Sarah Sanderson is all about the boys, and the boys tend to be all about her too. It would only make sense then that she would want to indulge in some of those dark fantasies about ensnaring the boys in her magical grasp. The Witch of Painted Sorrows fits the bill perfectly. New York socialite Sandrine Salome flees from an abusive husband, and unexpectedly into the arms of Julien Duplessi, the architect working on renovating her grandmother’s lavish Parisian home. But when her awful ex finds her, Sandrine gets possessed by La Lune, a powerful sixteenth-century witch who is going to make sure she gets what she wants. M.J. Rose builds a beautiful and glittering world that ends up tinged with dark desires and seduction in the best ways. Once you pick this up, it’ll be impossible to put it back down, even for readers like Sarah who have a shorter attention span.

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Winterwood

Winterwood

by Shea Ernshaw

A witch saving the simple human boy who loves her? That’s got Sarah Sanderson written all over it. Winterwood follows Nora Walker, one in a long line of witches in Fir Haven who is regarded as a freak. Still just coming into her own, she meets Oliver, a boy who has gone missing after a terrible blizzard. But Oliver is not what he seems, and as Nora slowly begins to come into her own powers, she will have to fight with all she’s got to get to a happy ending. Nora is a witch who is desperate to embrace her true self, even if her mother wants nothing to do with magic, even if that means being ostracized for it. The action is fast-paced, the budding romance is sweet and genuine, and, most importantly, Nora is the kind of badass magical young woman who sticks to her guns and wins out over fear and hardship. Maybe Sarah could learn a thing or two from her!

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Warm Bodies (Media Tie-In)

Warm Bodies (Media Tie-In)

by Isaac Marion

Okay, okay, so it’s not a witchy read per se, but let’s be real here: we all saw Sarah Sanderson making eyes at Billy Butcherson, even if he was Winifred’s ex. So why not indulge in that fantasy with a little zombie love? R is a zombie who is feeling a little lost among the Dead, not sure what the purpose of his non-life is. But once he meets a zombie-hunter named Juliet, weirdly, he starts turning away from his zombie instincts and more toward his old human ones. Are R and Julie destined to be together or will they be pulled apart by forces out of their control? Heartwarming, funny, and occasionally a little gory, Warm Bodies is all about following your heart, even if it leads to a pack of people who want to kill you.

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The Wood

The Wood

by Chelsea Bobulski

We can’t forget about Binx! Sure, he’s stuck in cat form, protecting the Black Flame Candle from being lit by a hapless virgin, but that doesn’t mean he can’t enjoy a good story every now and then. And what better story than that of a daughter doing her duty? Winter’s father gets lost in the woods during his nightly patrol, so it’s up to her to take up the watch instead. But when she comes across Henry, a boy who knows way more than he should, the quest to find Winter’s dad and Henry’s parents becomes all the more dangerous. For there’s something dark happening in the woods, especially for the people who get trapped inside it. Involving time travel, horror, the fight to save one’s family, The Wood has everything a boy trapped in the body of a cat after trying to save his sister could want in a story. Now, the only question is: Can cats open books?

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A reporter by trade, Sara Roncero-Menendez is a lover of horror, sci-fi, and all things pop culture. From indies to classics to even the strangest genre pieces, all movies, TV shows, and books are fair game for a binge-fest. Follow her on Twitter @sararomenen or at her website, www.sara-roncero-menendez.com