Having a Moment: Tarot in YA

All Our Hidden Gifts cover

Tarot cards have been a source of fascination for centuries. Originating in Italy as a card game in the 1400s, the cards became linked to the occult and used for divination in the late 1700s in France. Today, the use of tarot cards is widespread. 

Tarot and literature make a great pair. The progression of the cards take the Fool character on a hero’s journey of sorts, and the cards are rife with symbolism, so it makes sense that authors frequently deploy tarot in storytelling. Tarot cards have figured a great deal in YA fantasy literature over the years (with The Raven Boys being my personal favorite example ), but I’ve noticed an uptick of titles that feature them since the start of the pandemic. I’m a big tarot person, having procured my first deck at age 12, and I’ve met quite a few teens who are interested in learning to read tarot too. I’m all for this tarot renaissance! Here are some recently published and forthcoming YA titles in which tarot cards play a major role.


All Our Hidden Gifts coverAll Our Hidden Gifts – Caroline O’Donoghue (June 2021)

In this Irish YA, Maeve Chambers feels like she has no talent until she finds a pack of dusty old tarot cards at school, and begins to give super accurate readings to her classmates. She discovers a strange card in the deck that definitely shouldn’t be there while giving a reading to her ex-best friend, Lily. Shortly thereafter, Lily disappears. Will Maeve be able to use her newfound gifts to find her?

The Deck of Omens (Devouring Gray #2) – Christine Lynn Herman (April 2020)The Deck of Omens cover

In the Devouring Gray, the main character, May, works with a tarot deck called the Deck of Omens. In this series closer, May must convince the Founders that a new threat is lurking in Four Points.

Edie In Between coverEdie in Between – Laura Sibson (August 2021)

This contemporary YA has lots of witchy elements (divination methods like tarot, folklore and fairy tales, a secret journal, spells, etc.) and has frequently been compared in reviews to Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman. There’s a character who works in a metaphysical shop, and Edie comes from a long line of witches. Love the tarot inspired cover!

Improbable Magic for Cynical Witches – Kate Scelsa (coming out May 31,Improbable magic for Cynical Witches cover 2022)

I’m looking forward to this one! Reviews describe the main character, Eleanor, as the “least witchy person in Salem” but nevertheless she finds herself joining a coven. The chapters follow the progression of the Major Arcana, and include explanations of all the cards between chapters.

Major Detours coverMajor Detours – Zachery Sergi (September 2021)

I have yet to read this Choose Your Own Adventure style book and I’m so curious about it! Before parting for different colleges, four friends spend their last summer together on a road trip through California, with a deck of tarot cards deciding their specific route. The story follows the journey of the tarot’s major arcana.

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