Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on July 26th 2016
Source: ARC provided by Publisher
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.
From the Hardcover edition.
~ I love witches. I like them good, I like them bad, but I especially like the Salem witches.
~ Samantha Mather is a direct descendant of Cotton Mather, whose book on witches helped kick off the Salem Witch Trial hysteria. With her father in a coma, she and her stepmother move to his hometown, Salem, a place that she has never been.
~ The boy next door is not only adorable and kind, but his mother owns a bakery. So, he’s pretty much the perfect guy.
~ Samantha starts at the local school, but she gets off to a bad start- which is pretty common with her. To say that her luck is bad is an understatement.
~ She also crosses paths with The Descendants, which as their name implies, are descended from the accused witches. Mather is not a name that is greeted with a lot of warmth.
~ I love that The Descendants dress in goth chic. I wanted to be a goth, but we moved to a farm town before I could start high school, so I had no one to hang out with in basements, listening to the Cure and wearing copious amounts of eyeliner.
~ Samantha moves into her deceased grandmother’s house, which comes complete with hidden passage ways, mysterious diaries and a disturbingly attractive ghost. It is totally the house I would buy if suddenly won the lottery and could afford the house of my dreams. But, let’s not tell the Hubs about the hot ghost, okay?
~ The author, Adriana Mather (an actual descendant of Cotton Mather) brings Salem to life- today and in the 1600’s. The comparisons between present day bullying and the paranoia and drama that led to the witch trials were well drawn.
~ Full of mystery, spells, danger, and witches! I loved every minute of this read, and can’t wait to see what Mather (the author, not the main character) does with the series!
Samantha Mather- direct descendant of Cotton Mather, she’s a complicated girl, independent and head strong, she’s flawed but completely relatable.
Vivian- Sam’s stepmother, the only mother she’s ever known. Their once close relationship has become strained since Sam’s father fell into a coma.
Mrs. Meriwether- Sam and Vivian’s neighbor, she grew up best friends with Charlie Mather, and is mother to Jaxon.
Jaxon- the boy next door cutie who befriends Sam early on. And brings her cookies.
Alice, Mary, Lizzie, Susannah- The Descendants, they rule the school with their witchy ways.
John- he’s Lizzie’s boyfriend, and enjoys tormenting Sam.
Elijah- the ghost with the most.
Charlie Mather- Sam’s father, but he’s in a coma, so he’s not really part of the action.
There were a lot of moments, but my favorites were the scenes where spells were cast and ceremonies played out. They were exactly what I was hoping the book would deliver.
Stop the Clock:
How to Hang a Witch is bewitching! The summary compares it to Mean Girls and Conversion, but since I’m older, I’ll compare it to The Craft meets The Secret Circle (the books by L.J. Smith, not that horrible tv show that was based on the books but was so different as to be laughable). My friend and I are planning our trip to Salem because now I have to go after reading this book.
Be sure to check out the Acknowledgements after reading, it was very interesting!
How To Hang A Witch gets a Midnight Book rating of: