Review Blog

Jan 23 2018

How to hang a witch by Adriana Mather

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How to hang a witch Book 1. Walker Books, 2018. ISBN 9781406378795
(Age: 14+) Recommended. Themes: Witches. Ghosts. Salem (Mass.). Trials. When Samantha Mather arrives to live in Salem, Massachusetts, she finds herself at the centre of attention as the descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men who had been responsible for the trials of the witches in the infamous Witch trials. A group of teens directly descended from the original witches and called the Descendants, are not happy that Samantha has come to town, especially as terrible things start to happen around her. Sam too has encountered Elijah, the ghost of a young man from the time of the hangings and Jaxon the boy next door who is the only person who has made an attempt to be friends.
The real strength of How to hang a witch is its fast pace, and this makes it very difficult to put down. Sam lurches from one catastrophe to another as things seem go wrong around her - she is the only witness to the death of one of the Descendants and the only person not to get a terrible rash at a party. She is blamed for all the bad luck happening in the town and accused of being a witch. But Sam is a strong, resilient, if sometimes unlikeable character and with the ghost Elijah ably helping her, she perseveres with her investigation of what is happening, knowing that she must turn all the trouble around to save her father from his coma.
The note at the back of the book lets the reader know that the author is a descendant of the original Cotton Mather and this adds much interest to the story. She has made Salem with its many cemeteries, old houses, woods and ghostly appearances feel very spooky and readers who are interested in witches and the paranormal will enjoy the spine-chilling exploits of the Descendants and want to find out more about what really happened in Salem during the original witch hunts.
Pat Pledger

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