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Improbable Magic for Cynical Witches (Paperback)

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Improbable Magic for Cynical Witches By Kate Scelsa Cover Image
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(YA/14 AND UP)

Staff Reviews

I love witches and Halloween, but this book surprised me by changing my mind about tarot! I was always too nervous to have my cards read, but here, the events in each chapter are guided by a different tarot card, very cleverly creating a satisfying queer romance with plenty of witchy wisdom. Hey, want to have our cards read?

— Jamie

Forget the Hogwarts letter, I want an invite to Ofira's Salem coven! This is the perfect read for the witch-curious, with on-point descriptions of each Major Arcana tarot card between each chapter, and a queer romance you can't help but cheer for. Follow Eleanor while she works out how to recover from her relatable lovesick mistakes in her new home of Salem, MA. 

— Rhi


A witchy, atmospheric lesbian contemporary romance set in Salem—from the acclaimed author of Fans of the Impossible Life. Perfect for fans of Nina LaCour and Becky Albertalli.

Seventeen-year-old Eleanor is the last person in Salem to believe in witchcraft—or to think that her life could be transformed by mysterious forces. After losing her best friend and first love, Chloe, Eleanor has spent the past year in a haze, vowing to stay away from anything resembling romance.

But when a handwritten guide to tarot arrives in the mail at the witchy souvenir store where Eleanor works, it seems to bring with it the message that magic is about to enter her life. Cynical Eleanor is quick to dismiss this promise, until real-life witch Pix shows up with an unusual invitation. Inspired by the magic and mystery of the tarot, Eleanor decides to open herself up to Pix and her coven of witches, and even to the possibility of a new romance.

But Eleanor’s complicated history continues to haunt her. She will have to reckon with the old ghosts that threaten to destroy everything, even her chance at new love.

Improbable Magic for Cynical Witches is an atmospheric and romantic coming-of-age about learning to make peace with the past in order to accept the beauty of the present.

About the Author

Kate Scelsa is a novelist, playwright, and part time witch. Her debut novel Fans of the Impossible Life was an Indie Next pick, a Rainbow List Top Ten book, and has been published in ten languages. Her play Everyone's Fine With Virginia Woolf has been produced in New York, Dublin, and was published by Dramatists Play Service. Kate’s identity as a witch can be traced back to second grade, when she founded her first coven. These days her witchy activities include reading tarot from the (only slightly) haunted house in upstate New York that she shares with her wife, and writing songs and performing with her band The Witch Ones.  

Praise For…

“Scelsa explores public opinion and self-perception alongside themes of forgiveness, relational toxicity, and commercialism. Symbolic magic lends an underlying sense of enchantment as Eleanor opens herself up to new ideas and possibilities, and a sweet, gentle central chemistry sells the central romance.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Magic is found through personal growth and accepting love in this enchanting tale.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“In Salem, everyone has secrets, and two teenagers struggle to keep their fledgling relationship alive through Eleanor’s past, and Pix’s best intentions in this charming, heartrending LGBTQIA+ YA.” — School Library Journal (starred review)

“Cleverly arranged as a journey through the Major Arcana of a tarot deck, this is a queer romance [with] a witchy flourish.” — ALA Booklist

Product Details
ISBN: 9780062465047
ISBN-10: 006246504X
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: May 30th, 2023
Pages: 320
Language: English