Sunday 20 August 2023

How to Hang a Witch

Finished August 9
How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather

This is a great teen novel. The author is a descendent of Cotton Mather, on of the players in the Salem witch trials and uses that historical event to bring a current issue to a new level.
Samantha Mather has just moved to Salem with her stepmother Vivian, following her father's illness and hospitalization. Her father had always refused to return to this town, and Samantha doesn't remember her grandmother, whose house she is now living in, at all. 
While she is welcomed by her nearest neighbour Mrs. Meriwether and her son, Jaxon, she is still unhappy about being so far from her dad, who will be transferred from the hospital in New York City to a nearby city soon. 
The following day, at her new high school, is even more difficult as she is made to feel very unwelcome by a group of teenagers who are direct descendents of the women who were burned as witches in the 1600s. Samantha herself is a direct descendent of Cotton Mather, who played a large role in the historical event. 
As Samantha finds odd things happening around her and to people in town, she learns that her grandmother Charlotte had been studying similar happenings around descendents of the various players in the witch trials before her own death. 
Assisted by a resident ghost in her home, Samantha digs deeper into research, using her grandmother's notes and trying to reach out to the girls who have made her feel unwelcome. 
The parallels between to the past and the present highlight similarities that related to modern day bullying and scapegoating and show that we haven't come as far as we think in society. 
Samantha's efforts show ways to deal with real life issues even though she exists in a world where magic, superstition, and ghosts are a reality. 
This was a really interesting read, and is the first in a series of books. 

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