Genre: YA Paranormal Mystery
Publication: July 26th 2016 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Acquisition: received an ARC at ALAAC 2016
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 Goodreads)
5 / 5 Stars
I've loved Salem Massachusetts for a long time. It started in history class when we studied the Witch Trials. Then in English we picked apart The Crucible. THEN came the first of many trips to visit the town IRL (once on Halloween night...I wouldn't really recommend it!)
It's a fascinating place. It's a layered city full of history, tourism and modern day paganism. It's all there and depending on what you are looking for there is so much to explore.
Because of my Salem love, I was actually a little worried about How to Hang a Witch. Witchcraft is a personal thing for me and I've read many a book that depict it horribly.
I found that I had absolutely nothing to worry about. How to Hang a Witch isn't just a story of witchcraft. It's a story of history and magic and prejudice and family and ghosts!
Adriana Mather is a descendant of the infamous Cotton Mather from the Salem Witch Trails. Cotton was a lot more complicated then history books highlight and Samantha is an equally complicated fictional representation.
I loved how detailed everything was especially the history of the original Witch Trial families - the modern day characters that walk the halls of their school like then own the place! A little unrealistic but it makes for some fantastic story telling.
And the ghost! Oh my! The ghost!
Oh! And the ending!
Ok, I didn't really love the ending. BUT I was totally taken by surprise by it. I was so so sure I knew what was really happening to Samantha. There were even times when I rolled my eyes because - OMG it was so obvious! But...I was really really wrong. And that's awesome even if I didn't love why I was really really wrong.
Also...there is romance...and it took a weird turn...and I wasn't really happy about it. BUT lots of other things happened and in the end, all was good...ish.
Overall, I really really loved this book. It's a fantastic telling of a town, so entrenched in it's own history that the inhabitants might be just be destined to repeat it all.