“How to Hang a Witch” is the phenomenal novel from debut author Adriana Mather! The story is unlike any I have read before, and I found myself turning the pages like a mad man, totally consumed by this book. Mather’s story is a unique look into the world of Salem, and one girls journey into her family history to make sense of the past that plagues her life in Salem, driving pretty much everyone in town to fear her. It is beautifully written, and it pulses of the page with vibrancy and mystery.
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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. (synopsis from Goodreads)
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While the book is fiction, much of the history is real, and Mather does a wonderful job of combining the two in a poetic way, so much so, that it is hard to distinguish fiction from the tales of history. Salem is a haunting backdrop for this story, and Mather describes these dark surroundings so well, you feel as if you are truly in Salem.
The main characters all have distinct roles in the story, and none are introduced with a purpose. The each play a unique part in the movement of the story, and are all written excellently. Sam was a terrific heroine and main character. Her past shaped much of her personality into the fearsome girl who delved without a second thought into the mysteries of her family. I found these qualities in her endearing, and I was definitely hooked by her story.
The romance in this book is gorgeously written with care, building up the relationship between these two characters in a natural way. Their romance is built on the progression of their relationship and willingness to open up to the idea of opening up one’s self to another person without fear, and there is something charming about that. The romance is almost an added factor to the fact that these characters are kindred “spirits”. I shipped them SO much!! ❤
There are so many great elements to this story, but the one that stuck out the most to me was the parallel of this story, and the Salem witch trials to today’s world, which Mather admits to basing the book of off at the end. It is a wonderful portrayal of the idea of what happens when fear and perception are taken to extreme lengths by the simple feeble will of humanity. Mather executes this perfectly, making “How to Hang a Witch” stand out amongst other YA works of fiction!
So make sure to keep an eye out for this read! This book is sure to cast a spell on you!