Review: How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather

Publication Date: 7/26/2016
Series: How to Hang a Witch #1
Rating: 3 Stars

Official Blurb: 

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.

How to Hang a Witch is a modern-day twist to the Salem Witch Trials we all know about.  Its history is a black mark on our history as a nation, but a re-telling of this story with a twist intrigued me. Now, I have to admit that YA isn’t my normal cup of genre tea, but I was willing to overlook that for a chance to read a good historically based story.

I just wish I would have liked it better. The hype and excitement that I felt going into this book fell flat when I realized the expectations that I had set for this book may have been a little too high.  The story was intriguing like I thought, but the characters were one dimensional.  Mather threw in so many book niche clichés that it was overpowering the good parts of the book.  Where this author succeeded was in the depth of her world building and telling of the historical significance of this dark period.  Being a descendant of such a major portion of the story, Cotton Mather, it makes sense after the fact.

I found myself skimming towards the end just to find out what happened. While this book may have been a miss for me, it did cement one thing. My desire to visit this creepy, history-wrapped town in the future.


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