Something Witchy This Way Comes: Fictional Books and Movies About Witches

Witches are portrayed in books and movies in many different ways, and have been showing up in literature for a long, long time. Take Circe from The Odyssey or Morgan Le Fay in the legends of King Arthur. Now, real witches may not have actually been portrayed in The Crucible by Arthur Miller (whose birthday happens to be today!), but you can see the relationship between witchcraft and society during the time of the Salem Witch Trials. If you’re interested in reading or listening to the play, you can check it out in the following formats: print, book on CD, Overdrive ebook and e-audiobook, and hoopla e-audiobook, and the movie adaptation

For other fictional portrayals of witches and witchcraft for teens and adults, check out the titles below! Print copies can be reserved on your online account for Curbside Pickup (read the full instructions here). Currently there is no check out fee for DVDs, so now is a good time to reserve them! For electronic versions of titles, all you need is your library card to access them on Overdrive/the Libby app or hoopla.

Fans of the beloved Bewitched series, starring Elizabeth Montgomery as witch and housewife Samantha Stevens, will enjoy the film adaptation (which currently has no check out fee!) with Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell. For more magical romances, try one of hoopla’s October Movies of the Month, You Cast a Spell On Me, about a warlock who is having problems with his powers after meeting a mortal with whom he has an instant connection; or Hallmark channel’s The Good Witch, about Cassie Nightingale, a mysterious new resident of Middleton who seems to have the magic touch with helping the people in the small town.

also on hoopla

In Sabrina the Teenage Witch, you’ll find out how the character from the popular TV show found out about being a witch, much like how Harry Potter discovers he’s a wizard in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Local residents will appreciate the Salem setting in the movie Hocus Pocus, which even has some scenes shot in Marblehead! Read Hocus Pocus and The All-New Sequel in ebook format on Overdrive or hoopla, or listen to the e-audiobook on Overdrive. 

Click the item covers below for more portrayals of witches, including more witch stories set in Salem or Massachusetts, fairy tale retellings, and more macabre tales to give you goosebumps!

also on hoopla
book or movie

Fairy Tales for Adults

Many fairy tale retellings are written for young adults. Why not, when most of the protagonists are girls who are becoming women? You have YA Cinderella retellings in which the Cinderella character grows up and leaves her evil stepmother behind, and YA Beauty and the Beast retellings in which the Belle character falls in love with a beast. But what about adult retellings? Below are a collection of adult novels that retell or are inspired by particular fairy tales. But be warned – some of these stories are not meant for children. 

CINDERELLA

Gregory Maguire is well-known for his novel featuring the Wicked Witch of the West as the protagonist, the story which became a Tony Award-winning Broadway musical. Turning the antagonist in L. Frank Baum’s Oz series into the good guy. He does it again here, writing the story of the stepsisters who Cinderella leaves behind in the original version. In Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Maguire spins the popular fairy tale into the story of whether beauty really triumphs over ugliness. Will getting the prince really lead to a life of happily-ever-after? 


SNOW WHITE

Unlike Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Maguire’s retelling of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” fits more closely with the tale which inspired it. In Mirror Mirror, Don Vicente de Nevada is sent by Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia, children of a wicked pope, on a quest that will take years to accomplish, leaving his daughter, Bianca, in their care. Lucrezia becomes jealous of Bianca’s blossoming beauty, and, well, you know how the story goes. 

Things are much different in Neil Gaiman’s graphic novel retelling, Snow, Glass, Apples. The queen attempts to save her kingdom from her evil stepdaughter, but the girl, or creature, is not easily foiled. Between the graphic images and violent actions of the characters, this book is not for young readers or the faint of heart.


THE TWELVE DANCING PRINCESSES 

Not as popular as “Cinderella” or “Snow White,” the story of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” is depicted in Genevieve Valentine’s The Girls at the Kingfisher Club. Every night, Jo “The General” and her eleven sisters sneak out to dance at club after club to temporarily escape the pressures at home, with their controlling father planning on setting them up for marriage. One night, they are caught in a raid and separated. Will Jo, the mother figure to all the girls, continue to put her sisters’ or father’s needs before her own?

MORE FAIRY TALES

The Snow White, Blood Red Anthology or Adult Fairy Tales series, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, is a curated collection of fairy tale retellings from some of the best writers, including Neil Gaiman (he just loves rewriting fairy tales), Charles de Lint, Jane Yolen, Robin McKinley, Patricia C. Wrede, Tanith Lee, and more! There are six books in this series, all available in ebook-format on hoopla:

Each volume of dark fairy tale retellings reimagines the classic tales we all know in story and poem form. Some of these same writers are contributors to another fairy tale anthology, Happily Ever After, edited by John Klima, also available on hoopla. 

For even more fairy tales, and not just ones for adults, take a look at the Folklore collection on Overdrive or through the Libby app. You’ll find some of the ya books from the YA Cinderella Retellings and YA Beauty and the Beast Retellings posts, as well as currently unmentioned titles. Annaleigh and her eleven sisters sneak out to dance at balls, and four of the girls meet a tragic demise in House of Salt and Sorrows, Erin A. Craig’s “Twelve Dancing Princesses” retelling. For more by Neil Gaiman, The Sleeper and the Spindle combines elements of “Snow White” and “Sleeping Beauty.”

hoopla also has an extensive Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology collection of ebooks. Find out what would have happened if Aladdin never found the lamp in Liz Braswell’s A Whole New World, watch Cinderella slay zombies in Ella, the Slayer by A. W. Exley, or go back to the beginning with The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm

No matter what your favorite fairy tale is, Abbot Public Library has plenty to choose from!

Cyborgs, Assassins, and Stepsisters: YA Cinderella Retellings

When you think of fairy tales, one that may come to mind is the story of Cinderella. It has been told and retold hundreds of times, sometimes in the form of YA novels. In this post, you will find a few of these tales. They feature cyborgs, assassins, comic-cons, and stepsisters. One of them is even true. So if any of these catch your interest, check out the list below and explore a few of the Cinderella retellings we have accessible for you in Overdrive or through Overdrive’s Libby App.

*All descriptions are from the publisher.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer (also available as an audiobook on hoopla)

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl…

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Ash by Malinda Lo

In the wake of her father’s death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted.

The day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King’s Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, Ash learns to hunt with Kaisa. Their friendship, as delicate as a new bloom, reawakens Ash’s capacity for love—and her desire to live. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, and she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love.

Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter by Adeline Yen Mah

A Chinese proverb says, “Falling leaves return to their roots.” In Chinese Cinderella, Adeline Yen Mah returns to her roots to tell the story of her painful childhood and her ultimate triumph and courage in the face of despair. Adeline’s affluent, powerful family considers her bad luck after her mother dies giving birth to her. Life does not get any easier when her father remarries. She and her siblings are subjected to the disdain of her stepmother, while her stepbrother and stepsister are spoiled. Although Adeline wins prizes at school, they are not enough to compensate for what she really yearns for — the love and understanding of her family.

Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly (also available on hoopla)

Isabelle should be blissfully happy-she’s about to win the handsome prince. Except Isabelle isn’t the beautiful girl who lost the glass slipper and captured the prince’s heart. She’s the ugly stepsister who cut off her toes to fit into Cinderella’s shoe… which is now filling with blood.

Isabelle tried to fit in. She cut away pieces of herself in order to become pretty. Sweet. More like Cinderella. But that only made her mean, jealous, and hollow. Now she has a chance to alter her destiny and prove what ugly stepsisters have always known: it takes more than heartache to break a girl.

Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection
Fewer tracks on this version
Japanese version

This next book isn’t a direct retelling, more of an inspired-by. The author mentions in an interview that her inspiration for the story was Disney’s Cinderella soundtrack during the fleeing the castle scene. (Click the images or link above to access different copies of the soundtrack in hoopla – the song is titled “The Stroke Of Midnight /Thank You Fairy Godmother” in all of them.) She felt that the music was a bit too dark and intense for the scene and thought that it would fit better if Cinderella was an assassin sent to kill the prince instead, and so the following story was born.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

If you’re interested in other fairy tales, check out our post on Beauty and the Beast retellings!