Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on July 26th 2016
The more things change in Salem, the more they stay the same.
Salem, Massachusetts is the site of the infamous Witch Trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam is not exactly welcomed with open arms. She is a 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 wasn’t enough, Sam finds herself face to face with a real, live (well, technically dead) ghost. A handsome, angry ghost who wants Sam to stop touching his stuff.
Soon Sam discovers she is at the center of a centuries-old curse affecting everyone with ties to the Trials. Sam must come to terms with the ghost and work with The Descendants to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first alleged witch was hanged. If any town should have learned its lesson, it’s Salem. But history may be about to repeat itself.
Think of your favorite Halloween movies. Now set aside the horror films and what stands out for you? For me two of the big ones are Hocus Pocus and ParaNorman, absolute must-watches every Haollween season. Now sprinkle in a dash of Mean Girls and you have Adrianna Mather’s How to Hang a Witch.
This is the perfect book for Halloween lover’s everywhere. You’ve got the history of Salem, actual witches, ghosts only one person can see, and more. When I say that this book is a lot like ParaNorman, I’m really not kidding. Minus the zombies, that is. Considering that it’s one of my favorite movies of all time you can guess how I feel about this book.
Now the love interests in the book are very different. The first one, the human, I don’t care for all that much. I don’t find him that interesting and his lack of understanding can get a little irritating to the point where I occasionally want to smack some sense into the boy. The ghost on the other hand, well where do I sign up to get a piece of his afterlife?
I love the idea that prejudices and grudges are held by the ancestors of the original participants in the trials. But instead of the Mathers having the upper hand in this case, its the ancestors of the victims. It’s an interesting concept and it was beautifully employed.
Surprisingly, I actually didn’t guess the “bad guy” as it were at the end. I expected an entirely different path. I thought I had it figured it, shouting at the book as things started to unravel. And then I was floored. Ok, not what I expected at all. Not even a little bit. But I was not disappointed in any respect, this ending was pure gold.
All in all its safe to say this was one of my favorite books of the year. And honestly, one of my favorite Halloween reads of all time. Maybe even a once a year read. Because why not? Salem Witch Trials? Actual witches. Yes please. I can’t wait for the next one.
What did you think of How to Hang a Witch? Share in the comments.
From my shelf to yours,