Friday, July 15, 2016

Early Review of How to Hang a Witch (How to Hang a Witch #1) by Adriana Mather

Title: How to Hang a Witch
Classification: Young Adult Fiction (Age Range: 12+/Grade: 7+)
Genre: Paranormal/Contemporary
Format: Hardcover; 368 pages
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (July 26, 2016)
ISBN-10: 0553539477
ISBN-13: 978-0553539479
Author's Website: Not available at this time.
Notes:  Received this one at BEA (Book Expo America) from the publisher.

Salem, Massachusetts was once the home of some of the world's most infamous witch trials. Hundreds of years later, Samantha Mather finds herself living in the town wondering if history is repeating itself. An outsider with family ties to the horrific events which transpired years ago, she finds herself a social pariah the second she encounters the "Descendants"--the living relatives of those who were persecuted all those years ago. Over the years, the town has changed its view on what transpired. While her ancestor, Cotton Mather, wasn't accused of being a witch, some lay the blame for what happened at his feet.

Strange things have happened to Samantha over the course of her life which have kept her from making close ties with others. She always felt like she was cursed, but here, in Salem, she finds out she just might be right--and she may not be the only one. As the ancestors of those who were involved in the trials start to die off in alarming numbers shortly after Samantha's arrival in Salem, it becomes clear something is definitely amiss. She intends to get to the heart of the matter because if her theory is correct, she and her dad might be next.
I truly enjoyed this story and it would make a delightful read during the Halloween season. This one had a little history to it, but that was not the focus of the story. It's a true ghost/witch story and has a few twists and turns added into the mix. You may notice that the author shares the same last name as the main character, Samantha and Samantha's relative from the witch trials, Cotton Mather. This is by no means a coincidence. Ms. Mather is a descendant of the witch trial Mathers and states so at the end of the book. It was her research into her family history that inspired this story. So while reading this book, make sure to read the Author's Notes at the back. It is well worth your time.

Samantha comes to find herself in Salem months after her father fell into a mysterious coma. One moment he was cooking breakfast, and the next her stepmother was on the phone with 9-1-1. While they're hopeful he'll recover, financial reasons have warranted they give up their New York home. Her grandmother's old house in Salem is charming and, as Samantha soon finds, haunted. A previous occupant doesn't like her messing with his things and makes his presence and dislike of her known. He'll be instrumental, however, in bridging the gap between past and present so they can figure out what happened all those years ago.

Witches, ghosts, and curses, Oh my! I couldn't help but give this one 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. While there were a lot of twists and turns in the book, I did figure quite a few out before they were revealed. They were, however, things that if you were truly the main character, you'd understandably not see. This one definitely kept me spellbound to the pages wondering what would happen next. I recommend finding a time when you can sit down and read continuously until the end or you'll find yourself trying to sneak peeks at the book throughout the day trying to find out what happens next. This is a wonderful new series and I can't wait to see what the author will brew up for the next installment of the series.

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