For fans of Conversion and Mean Girls, comes a debut novel where the trials of high school start to feel like a modern day witch hunt for a teen with all the wrong connections to Salem’s past.
Salem, Massachusetts is the site of the infamous witch trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam and her stepmother are not exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is the descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those trials and almost immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves The Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were?
If dealing with that weren’t enough, Sam also comes face to face with a real live (well technically dead) ghost. A handsome, angry ghost who wants Sam to stop touching his stuff. But soon Sam discovers she is at the center of a centuries old curse affecting anyone with ties to the trials. Sam must come to terms with the ghost and find a way to work with the Descendants to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first accused witch was hanged. If any town should have learned its lesson, it’s Salem. But history may be about to repeat itself.
Author: Adriana Mather
Part of a Series: No. Standalone.
Release Date: July 26, 2016
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
No. of Pages: 368 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Paranormal, Mystery, Thriller, Witches, Fantasy
I received an ARC of this book from Penguin Random House which in no way swayed my opinion about the story.
I never intended to read a thriller novel this July, but I’m glad my friends at Penguin Random House hooked me up with How To Hang A Witch. Following through with my goal to read diversely this year, I just knew that I had to give this book a chance. Also, the premise as well as the synopsis of the book was easily likable, so I had no problem saying no to this review request.
I went in blind while reading this book, and it was a great idea. I mean, as many of you probably know, I don’t usually read thriller novels, and I had no expectations with this one, since it’s one of my many firsts. It turned out to be a great idea because I was able to enjoy the rawness and authenticity of the story. The plot was unique. I’ve never heard of any YA book that focuses on the Salem Witch Trials, and having an actual Mather descendant tell the story makes it feel a lot more legit.
I liked how the story actually incorporated Mean Girls, which happens to be one of my most favorite movies ever. It went well with the story line, and it might not be the one that made this book unique, but it was well incorporated and actually backed up until the end of the story which made me impressed. I like how the descendant children embodied the likes of Regina George, and it was really cool to check it out in writing.
I also liked the mysterious, and rather thrilling way Adriana Mather wrote her story that got me on the edge of my seat every time the main character, Sam, encounters spirits, both those she has a relationship with and those who wants her either dead or gone. The author had this entertainingly scary feel in her writing which made me somehow enjoy her book. It was surprising to know that I actually enjoyed reading this when my usual cup of tea are contemporaries, fantasies, or dystopian novels.
However, one of the issues I had with this book, already mentioned in Rashika’s review (which you may want to check out here), was that it was quite unrealistic and unbelievable to me that a community would still hold their traditions as well as ancestral actions over a few teens who, in no way, played a part in the past occurrences. Why would they condemn someone just because he/she’s an ancestor of someone who did something dreadful in the past? Only upon reading the author’s note did I finally understand why. Her father experienced something similar.
“How To Hang A Witch is rather an impressive take on The Salem Witch Trials. It’s thrilling, mysterious, and it keeps you guessing until the very end, whilst all the conflicts slowly unfold and get resolved. Before this, I wasn’t fond of reading Thrillers, but this book made me re-evaluate my choices.”
Characters – 4.00
Plot – 4.25
Writing Style – 4.25
Pacing – 3.00
Ending – 4.00
TOTAL – 4 Stars
“He slides his hand into mine and lifts it up. He gently kisses my fingers with almost warm lips. Goose bumps rise all over my body in the best way.”
“Everything about him feels alive and hungry. His hand moves under my hair to my neck and pulls me into him. His tongue slips into my mouth, and my body tingles from my lips to my thighs. “I want this, you, all of it.””
“If I see you, then do I see other spirits? “Yes.” Visiting graveyards just shot to the tope of my never-again list.”
About the Author:
Adriana Mather is the 12th generation of Mathers in America, and as such her family has their fingers in many of its historical pies – the Mayflower, the Salem Witch Trials, the Titanic, the Revolutionary War, and the wearing of curly white wigs. Also, Adriana co-owns a production company, Zombot Pictures, in LA that has made three feature films in three years. Her first acting scene in a film ever was with Danny Glover, and she was terrified she would mess it up. In addition, her favorite food is pizza and she has too many cats.