The Children’s Book Review | December 10, 2016
Written by Adriana Mather
Age Range: 12-16
Paperback: 358 pages
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf (2016)
What to Expect: Supernatural, Ghosts, Witches, Romance
If you want to read about the supernatural in American history, then there is no better time and place than Salem, 1692: the setting of the infamous Salem witch trials. What better, then, as a setting for a modern supernatural story, then Salem three hundred years later? How to Hang a Witch transforms the rich history of Salem into a story which is not only a gripping ghost thriller, but also an insightful exploration of family, history, and relationships.
When Samantha’s father falls ill, she and her stepmother have no choice but to move to her grandmother’s ancestral home in Salem. It is not a place she is familiar with – her father never liked Salem and they never visited her grandmother there – but it is hard not to be aware of the haunting history that has made the twon famous – especially as, being a Mather, she is a descendent of the same Cotton Mather who was responsible for the witch trials so long ago. Sam wants nothing more than to fit in, but she soon discovers that her name alone is enough to draw the hostility of her new neighbors and schoolmates. In a town where past history is still very much alive, Sam finds herself caught up in conflicts with those for whom the trials have never really gone away – including a group of girls who call themselves the Descendants, and whose ancestors were the very witches Cotton Mather hanged. To make matters worse, Sam’s new home is haunted by a ghost who will go to great lengths to remove her from what he considers to be his home. As Sam struggles to come to terms with her own family troubles, she finds that she cannot escape the past; in fact, a centuries-old curse attached to all who were involved in the trails may well be the reason for the tragedies that plague her.
Perhaps the most intriguing feature of this novel is its realism: not only is the history and setting in Salem all too real, but the author herself is, like her heroine, a genuine descendant of the Mathers who featured so prominently in the original trials. Well-constructed and convincingly narrated, this novel is well worth reading.
About Adriana Mather
Adriana Mather is the 12th generation of Mathers in America, with family roots stretching back to the first Thanksgiving, the Salem Witch Trials, the Revolutionary War, and the Titanic. Adriana co-owns Zombot Pictures, a production company that makes feature films. In addition to producing, Adriana is also an actress. She lives in Los Angeles where she has a life full of awesome, cats, and coffee. Follow Adriana on Twitter, @AdrianaMather.
How to Hang a Witch, by Adriana Mather, was reviewed by Dr. Jen Harrison. Discover more books like The Rains: A Novel by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with Aliens, Dystopian, Science Fiction, and Young Adult Fiction.