How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather
Series: How to Hang a Witch #1
Published: July 26th 2016 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
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.
I really really tried to get into this book. I gave it 30% before I finally just had to DNF it. There are just too many books on my TBR shelf that I could be reading instead of struggling through this book.
First off when the main character spouts off that she has an “affinity for sarcasm” and no one gets her, I am pretty sure she is probably not that sarcastic. And for the most part she really wasn’t. She seemed to have this giant chip on her shoulder without any explanation. For an MC she was very hard to connect with. Sam went on and on about how she found it hard to trust people and even having people hug her was a struggle. As soon as Mr Hot Blonde guy comes along, she’s all oh here are my problems and oh you want to kiss me on the hill where they did all the hangings? OK! Ugh worse insta-love ever. And to top things off, it looks like there will be a love triangle (based upon other reviews and the appearance of the dark brooding guy who just started to show up everywhere). Love triangles, if not done properly, are probably worse than insta-love in my book anyway.
Not only has our MC moved to a new town, her father is in a mysterious coma, she has a stereotypical stepmother, and she has to deal with a new school and the mean girls. That is a lot to take in in the first two chapters. What I don’t get is how the mean girls (aka “The Descendants”) automatically don’t like Sam and treat her like she is gum at the bottom of their shoes, and the teachers just let them? That just doesn’t make any sense, maybe if I read the whole book it will be explained but I couldn’t force myself through that.
When thinking Salem Witch Trials, you would think it would be a little bit creepy (like the Netflix show Salem, but the Mean Girls reference kind of ruins that). This book didn’t have any of that. It was just a high school setting that tried to have a little creep factor, but it was explained away after like 20 pages. After that it just seemed a little bit ridiculous. =/
All in all, I thought the premise was really good which was the reason why I picked up this book. But, unfortunately it just didn’t go well for me. The world building was haphazard and all over the place (probably a little bit like this review).
Has anyone else read this book and liked it? I would like to know if it does get better at the end, I can’t imagine how this will turn into a series at this point.