Sunday, January 7, 2018

Book Review: How to Hang A Witch by Adriana Mather

Title: How to Hang A Witch
Author: Adriana Mather
Publication date: January 4th 2018
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: YA Contemporary/Fantasy
Source: Won

Description: 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 in this thrilling, creepy and romantic New York Times bestseller.

After Sam's father is hospitalised, she has to move from New York to Salem with her stepmother, Vivian. Unfortunately, Sam is related to Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for the Salem Witch Trials, and to say she feels unwelcome in Salem is an understatement... She is particularly unnerved by The Descendants, a mysterious and tight-knit group of girls related to those persecuted in the Trials. At the same time, she must deal with Elijah, the handsome but angry ghost who has appeared in her house, and her new neighbour Jaxon only complicates things further.

When a centuries-old curse is rekindled, Sam finds herself at the centre of it. Can she stop history repeating itself? 

My thoughts: I've noticed on my last few YA reads that I was really struggling to enjoy them, and had started to think I should skip reading any for a while. Then I picked up this one: YA, contemporary, high school setting: everything I thought I was bored of reading, and yet I got sucked in to the story right away. The story opens as Sam and her step-mother arrive at the large, spooky house that will be their new home in Salem, and in fact is the house her father grew up in. Sam never had any contact with her grandmother, the last person to live in the house, and has never been to the town before. Even so, everyone seems to have it in for her.

The house and town come to life immediately as very atmospheric places - let's just say it's not somewhere you want to be telling ghost stories after dark. As people from the old Salem families start dying, everyone at school points the blame at Sam. She must race to solve the clues in her grandmother's diary and prove her innocence before someone decides to get rid of her for good.

The characters were engaging, and the landscape of Salem is as much a character itself as the people. I've always loved stories about houses with secret rooms, so Sam's house was a treat to read about. It's a very tense story, and although the escalation of the bullying seemed a bit unrealistic at first, I could understand as the story went on why people had such strong reactions.

It's an exciting story that had me whizzing through the pages - I felt a little bit like the way I did when I first read 'Twilight'. I was totally sucked into the world, and the town was brought to life perfectly. I highly recommend it for fans of contemporary YA, especially if you like a fantasy twist in books. 8/10.


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