How to Hang a Witch – Adriana Mather

“Salem prides itself on its witches. That history is very real to the people who live here.”

It’s the Salem Witch Trials meets Mean Girls in a debut novel from one of the descendants of Cotton Mather, 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. 

My two bits

The story is good but the writing sucks. The chapters are quite short but the way the paragraphs are structured – it just feels like you’re reading rapid-fire thoughts and notes. See example below

Mr. Wardwell looks pointedly at me and Jaxon, and we pretend we weren’t talking. “Don’t let the name of this park fool you. They didn’t use gallows in the late sixteen hundreds. Instead, they threw a rope over a high tree branch. The convicted would stand on the back of the cart with nooses around their necks and the cart would roll away.”
That’s disgusting.

The heroine is judgemental, impatient, reckless and, sometimes, plain stupid. But one must acknowledge her courage and determination. She is not one to give up easily. This book would have been better without her ubiquitous and repetitive inner-thoughts, but at least she felt like a real teenager, although not an easy-going one.


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