How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather

Posted on February 24, 2017 by Regina | 2 Comments

How to Hang a Witch by Adriana MatherHow to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on July 26, 2016
Pages: 368
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
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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.

Ummmm….An actual relative of COTTON FRIGGIN’ MATHER wrote a book about witches. How am I not going to read and like this book?!?!

Image result for cotton mather
Cotton Mather

When I started Adriana Mather’s debut novel, How to Hang a Witch, I knew I was in for a spooky-good time. My anticipation was met, and then some, by the end of the novel. Besides being historically on point, this book was a magical mash-up of some of my favorite 90s and 00’s films.

Ghost+ The Craft+ Mean Girls+The Crucible= A unique YA novel that entertains and educates to the beat of its own drum.

Image result for the craft
The Craft 1996 film

When Samantha Mather moves back to her ancestral family’s hometown of Salem, Massachusetts, old family feuds and ghostly apparitions are conjured, drawing Samantha into the dark history of her family’s past. As a descendant of the infamous Cotton Mather, Samantha immediately becomes a person of interest at school for the local ‘mean girls coven’, and she is swept up in a storm of rumors, bullying, hauntings, and black magic.

Image result for cotton mather's house salem massachusetts

Oh, and there just might be a peculiar love triangle…or quadrilateral that fits itself into the story.

I loved the setting of this book. The creepy old house, with creaking stairs and A SECRET LIBRARY, absolutely seduced me from the beginning of the book.

The antagonists in the story (there are a handful of them) are the kind you love to hate, and I was left guessing until the very end about who was truly evil and vengeful, and who was just an insecure bully.

Samantha was a smart and strong MC, and I was equally torn between the two romantic interests that complicate her life beyond witchcraft.

This book was a fast read for me because I had a hard time putting it down. Besides the fact that I love all things witches, I really enjoyed the snippets of historical insight that Mather provides in the novel, straight out of her own, personal family history.

Image result for on witchcraft cotton mather

I will say that there were times when this book felt schizophrenic. It was almost as if the author could not decided what type of creepy story she wanted to write. In the end, I decided to roll with it. It was fun, entertaining, and unique because of the author’s lineage.

Have you read How to Hang a Witch? What did you think?!

And Just for FUN:

A home video of some of the Witch Trial memorial sites introduced by a tour guide:

An interesting student-made documentary about the tourism and spectacle that surround the Witch Trials:

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Classical music nerd by day, freelance writer and blogger by night. When I review books, I don't dish out and rehash every character and detail. What's the point of reading a book if you give most of the deets away in a review??? My reviews are more about my impressions and over all experience with the book. I am also a world-renowned armchair psychologist, and love to psychoanalyze authors.
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2 responses to “How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather

  1. As a girl who grew up in the 90’s, I can say that The Craft is one of my absolute favorite movies ever. I can’t even say how many times I’ve seen it (same with Mean Girls), so after seeing your comparison, I know that I HAVE to read this book! It definitely sounds like something that would be right up my alley! Such an awesome review, and I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed this one!
    Kelly @ Here’s to Happy Endings recently posted…Review: A Good Idea by Cristina MorachoMy Profile

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