Monday, January 22, 2018

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

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Age Group: YA
Pages: 368
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: 28 July 201y

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.

My Thoughts:

Being the history buff that I am, I was so excited to read this novel. I kept seeing the book trailer and author video all over my social media, which only made me want to read it more.  The videos left me so intrigued by the premise of the book that I built up very high expectations.  In many ways, the author, Adriana Mather,  surpassed my expectations, in other ways I was left feeling disappointed.

While I had high expectations I was not sure what to expect when I first started reading the novel.  I wasn't sure if it was going to be some kind of paranormal historical fiction or if it was going to be a paranormal romance.  I was pleasantly surprised that while history is important to the book it takes place in present day and uses the past to make parallels to the present.  I personally thought this was a very unique and intriguing way to use history as a plot device.

One of the things that I liked most about this book was the setting she created.  Mather created a world that was so vivid, the description of the homes and the town really gives the reader feel for what Salem looks like in the modern day.  This coupled with the creepy atmosphere that she creates as the reader gets further into the book lend for a visually appealing read.

The characters in the book were rather hit or miss for me.  There were times that I really liked the main character Sam, and there were other times that I felt she was childish and bullheaded.  Then there was the love triangle--if you can call it that.  I personally am just so tired of the cliche that is the love triangle.  It is so overdone in young adult literature, and this one, in particular, was poorly constructed and just felt forced.

The other big miss for me in this book was the fact that many of the characters simply felt too juvenile for me.  I oftentimes felt like the characters were being childish simply for the sake of being childish, and this got on my nerves multiple times throughout the book.  There were some points through the book that I had to sit back and remind myself that the characters are young high school students and not adults.  After trying to alter my mindset a little it did get better.

In total, I did really enjoy this book.  It was by no means a perfect read, and I really had to put myself in the right headspace to read it.  But it was a fun easy paranormal read, that while part a series can easily be read as a standalone.  I think this would be a perfect fall read for a younger audience.

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