It's the Salem Witch Trials meets Mean Girls in a debut novel from one of the descendants of Cotton Mather, where the trials of high school start to feel like a modern day witch hunt for a teen with all the wrong connections to Salem’s past.
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.
If you have ever been obsessed with the Salem witch trials or even remotely thought witches were cool at all; you'll want to read How to Hang a Witch. There is mystery, romance, and action up the yin yang; all of which is surrounded in great plot line. I knew I was going to love this book from the very first chapter, and I love being right. The Salem setting was naturally spooky and if you are looking for something to get yourself ready for Halloween; this is it. The epicly lovely old houses, and forest were described so vividly that I could see everything written. I myself have never personally been, but if Ms. Mather used reality for inspiration, I know where I'm taking my next holiday.
The characters in this book were so amazing! Samantha was gritty and difficult but not in the annoying way most YA heroines tend to be. Jaxon and Elijah both had there own strong traits that made them likeable; but ggiiirrrrllll, I'll always have a soft spot for men born before the 1900's . #TeamElijah .
I'll admit, I chuckled a little at their name but The Decendents kept me guessing with each chapter. My only real issue with them; is that they weren't mentioned enough. They were all secondary characters at best, and that left me wanting more. Susannah was obviously my favorite, but Alice was strarting to grow on me and dare I say it; I kind of liked her at the end. I wanted to hear more about their stories. If anything, I hope that this becomes a series just so I can explore them more.
The best thing about these characters though, there was a realness to them that made them likeable; even when I wanted to shake some sense into them. Each personality brought something to the table. it was refreshing and dramatic and how they were written helped push their story to the next level.
Should you pick up a copy be ready to get lost in all that How to Hang a Witch is . It might be closer to a PG rating than I would normally like; but I never found it lacking. The writing was excellent and even though I was reading an ARC copy I didn't find much to nit pick. The story had plenty of twists and turns. The climax and ending also did not disappoint.
Why I couldnt give it a 5/5:
I was left with a lot of questions about Sam's family. Plus Like I said before with The Decendsents; the only thing this story needed was more background. Sure, most everyone has heard of the Salem witch trials, but I felt like there was a missed opportunity to intertwine the two stories together. I would have liked to see more of the past linked in to help make this more than just a good story, but an actual word to be immersed in.
I hope to see more from this author, and maybe if I'm lucky more from these characters.
As always you guys, pick up a copy for yourselves. You never know, you could just find your new favorite . Happy readings.