It’s finally October, the best month of the year (subjectively)! The weather’s getting cool and crisp, pumpkin pie M&M’s are out, and general spookiness abounds. And with the Netflix reboot of Sabrina the Teenage Witch set for the end of the month, I’ve definitely got witches on my mind. Specifically, the teen witches I read about when I was a teen. They can’t fly on brooms or channel magic through a wand like the kind of witchcraft I dreamed about when I was little, but they taught me something even greater–that magic is real and anyone can practice it.
Stacey Brown from Laurie Faria Stolarz’s Blue is for Nightmares series is the first Wiccan in fiction I encountered. Full disclaimer, Stacey does have slightly paranormal gifts; her dreams often serve as premonitions, warning her of real-life dangers to come. Throughout her series, she must solve and avoid several mysteries and murders, using the Wiccan practices her grandmother taught her to decipher her dreams and protect herself and her friends. There are a few instances where her witchiness is scorned, but Stacey always stands by her beliefs. Her practice soothes her, guides her, and literally saves her life on multiple occasions. Stacey has been through a lot—mostly, kidnappings of her loved ones and murders—and it would be easy for her to ignore her nightmares and do nothing. Instead she faces the danger despite her fear, lets her craft empower her, and stops the bad situations from becoming even worse.
Sabine Rose from Linda Joy Singleton’s Seer series is similar to Stacey. She also learned pagan practices from her grandmother and uses her psychic abilities to prevent murders. She doesn’t see dead people in her dreams, though; she sees them in real life. They come to warn her of future danger and she uses her and her friends’ powers to save whomever is in trouble. Although Sabine is surrounded by her grandmother’s pagan community, this series is a lot less craft-involved than Blue is for Nightmares and leans a little heavier on fantasy elements. But even if her life is riddled with ghosts, I like that Sabine still tries to have a normal high school experience and pursue her hobbies. One cute touch to the books is that Sabine uses her gift of premonition to write students’ fortunes in her school paper. With all the grief her powers give her, she may as well have a little fun with them, too, right?
What I like so much about Stacey and Sabine is that, aside from all the mayhem going on in their lives, they’re just normal high school girls. People are drawn to the idea of teen witches as rebels, outcasts, and weirdos, like the girls from The Craft. Which they can be, of course. But Stacey and Sabine don’t define themselves by their craft. It’s just a natural part of their lives, as anyone who practices magic knows it should be. They don’t live to be witches. They just are.
Although not from a book, I have to give an honorable mention to Marnie Piper from Halloweentown for insisting she was a witch when everyone told her she couldn’t be, and for being able to fly on a broom and shoot sparks out of her fingertips, abilities I can only hope to attain in my dreams.