PURCHASE:Amazon | Book Depository
For fans of Conversion and Mean Girls, comes a debut novel 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.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
I have always been morbidly fascinated by the Salem Witch Trials so when I came across this book, I was instantly drawn to it. I think a lot of things about this book seem a little far fetched but reading the author’s note did help me understand a little about some of the decisions that were made and where she was coming from.
For example, it seems unreasonable that people in a town would still hold ancestor actions against teens. Like that teen didn’t do the deed, so chill the fuck out. It was pretty hard to wrap my head around or even let go of my skepticism while reading so I decided to read the author’s note and it turns out her father experienced similar things growing up (she is a descendant of Cotton Mather.)
One of my favorite parts about this book was how the paranormal and suspense elements worked together to suck me in. Mather has clearly done her research and she brought history to life in such a captivating way in the book. I loved connecting dots and I loved the history of the curse and how everything was spread out throughout the book.
I also liked that the “mean girls” plot was dropped pretty quickly after the first initial bitchy counters because again, holding grudges against people for what their ancestors did (like 200+ years ago) is silly. I mean there was still a mean girl but she wasn’t really a big part of the book so she doesn’t count.
What was kind of upsetting though is that there really weren’t a lot of great relationships to be found in this book. Sam tends to push people away and has never had real friends because she is bad luck (which by the way, was never really explored so I didn’t understand the whole her being bad luck for people around her.) She makes a friend (very quickly might I say) who she also pushes away for his own good. And then there is her relationship with her step mother. I am getting tired of the evil stepmother trope and while her stepmother isn’t the actual worst, I wish there was at least one ~real~ positive adult/kid relationship in the book.
Sam as a character is not the best because she was a little whiny and occasionally one-dimensional but I also think she worked for the purposes of the book. I wasn’t that annoyed with her and was invested in her future but I also didn’t love her.
Overall though, the book was a pretty addicting and fast read and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is fond of family curses, the paranormal, and a quick book. AND THERE WILL BE A SEQUEL apparently so I am excited to see where things will go for Sam and her fam (isn’t that a great rhyme? I should be a poet.)
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