Title: How to Hang a Witch
Author: Adriana Mather
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Teen/young adult fiction, Contemporary, Fantasy – supernatural
Book format: Paperback
Description: The trials of high school start to feel like a modern-day witch hunt for Samantha Mather, who has all the wrong connections to Salem’s past…
To say Sam is unwelcome in Salem would be an understatement. She is the target of the Descendants, mysterious group of girls whose ancestors were persecuted in the Witch Trials. Complicating her life further is Elijah, an inconveniently handsome resident ghost, and her cute neighbour, Jaxon.
When a centuries-old curse is rekindled, Sam finds herself at the centre of it. Can she stop history repeating itself?
*Free copy provided by publisher for review…
Review: I can’t believe how much I have enjoyed reading this book! I read it all in just two days (only stopping as real life got in the way!). ‘How to Hang a Witch’ is a brilliant young adult/teen novel with a good mix of both the supernatural and more contemtorary elements. The story begins when Samantha Mather and her stepmother move to Salem, a place where her father grew up. With her dad in a coma, and no way of knowing if and when he’ll wake up, Samantha has to get used to a new life at a school, in a place where everyone seems to know her name and where a dark past haunts her family for generations.
The story is so easy to get into right away and it’s not long before some eerie stuff begins happening to Sam. The story is told from Sam’s point of view and this perspective really made it easy to get into the tale and feel the strange things that were happening to Sam. As the story moves forward she discovers some interesting history surrounding her family and Salem, and begins to see strange things. At the same time she is facing hostility from some of the students at her school which only escalates as the story moves forward. I don’t want to reveal more of the story but it is so well written that I found myself unable to stop reading and kept wanting to finish “just one more chapter”.
I’ve always enjoyed fantasy stories, especially ones with supernatural elements but this one is so compelling as it surrounds the real life witch trials of the seventeenth century, with eerie similarities to what is happening in the story in modern times with Sam. Every chapter of the book has its own title and the story on the whole is very fast paced. There are a few uses of the s swear word, but it’s not very often. There are however scenes which might be a bit disturbing for very young teens as they go into details of how some people died including explanations of hanging and other deaths.
At the end of the book are some author’s notes which are well worth reading as I did wonder if there was a connection between the author and the main character, both having the same surname. This section is very interesting as it gives you details on the author’s own family connections as well as letting you know that much of the historical facts in the book are real!
What I like about this book is not only the supernatural story surrounding the witch trials but also the fact that this modern day story focuses on the real life issue of bullying, especially mass bullying. I don’t want to go into detail but the book does a good job of tackling this dark subject in modern times which also occured in the past. I really like the way this story handles this issue especially as it’s so easy for bullying to take such a massive effect if no one speaks out.
The ending of the story is a very satisfying one, I not only smiled but almost cried in happiness, even at the last line (I say almost as it takes a lot to make me actually cry at a book!). It was such a compelling read, with a brilliant supernatural story surrounding real historical events. I’d recommend this book to anyone, it really was a great read and I feel like re-reading it already (I’ve only just put it down!), it was that good!
Do you like books with supernatural elements? What about stories that tackle bullying? Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂