Monday, July 11, 2016

How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather

Title: How to Hang a Witch
Author: Adriana Mather
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication date: July 26, 2016
Pages: 368
Source/format: ARC from publisher

Rating: ☆☆☆

Synopsis (from

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 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 is about to repeat itself.

M Y  T H O U G H T S

Samantha (Sam) Mather relocates to Salem from New York to visit her father's hometown a few months after her father falls into a coma. After starting her sophomore year at Salem High School, she learns that a group of teens called The Descendants despise her just because Sam is related to Cotton Mather, a key player in the Salem Witch Trials. The Descendants consistently shun Sam and is making her life miserable. However, with a twist of fate, Sam and the Descendants must work together to save the families involved in the Salem Witch Trials.

I am a huge fan of anything Salem related. Because I live nearby to Salem, MA, I can vividly picture many of the locations Adriana Mather mentions in How to Hang a Witch. The plot of the novel is compelling and the character development is well paced. Mather's research for the novel is on point. The novel starts out as a historical fiction contemporary hybrid but then soon morphs into a thriller during the second half.

The plot being a modern day "Salem Witch Trials" is part of a curse that is more than 300 years old. Sam has no idea what she is in for when she moves to Salem. The beginning of the novel starts at a slow pace but quickly picks up in pace with many clues scattered throughout the book.

How to Hang a Witch will capture those who love everything Salem. The novel is one part Mean Girls, one part Sleepy Hollow (the film) and one part Hocus Pocus. The eerieness, the mystery and the ambience makes How to Hang a Witch the perfect autumnal read. Once you read this book, you'll want to plan your trip to Salem ASAP.

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