I like to theme my reading around the holidays. These means that during September and October you’ll likely see me gravitate towards books with horror and thriller elements and during November and December I’ll read books set in winter or around Christmas. And it just so happened that last month we received a book order at my library and How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather was in it so I checked the book out and brought it home.
Now I’ve also been really interested in the Salem Witch Trials so of course I was intrigued by the premise of this book. In it a teenage girl named Samantha Mather returns to her families hometown of Salem, Massachusetts. Sam is the descendant of Cotton Mather, a Puritan minister who was very concerned with the possibility of witches and the influence of Satan and was a firm supporter of executions. He wrote about his experiences and some historians think his fervent beliefs and writings may have made the Salem Witch Trials more dangerous than they would have if he hadn’t posted his thoughts.
Once in Salem Sam finds herself an enemy of a group of teens who call themselves The Descendants because they are descended from the supposed witches who had died during the Trials.
Then, to make things even more confusing/interesting we have to throw in a cute living guy, a cute ghost guy, and a curse on all of the descendant families including Sam and the witches. Oh, and Sam appears to have some magical talent as well.
Now onto the good parts of the book. It was an okay read once I actually got into it, especially since I knew the author really is descended from Cotton Mather. (And honestly, I kept wondering how he’d feel about the contents of this book.) And I really liked the twists involving Sam’s family. But…
I can’t remember for sure but I think I got nearly a third of the way through before I really got into this book. That is way too many pages for a reader to get through before it starts to get good. Also the main character was annoying. The insta-love triangle was weird. Her and the ghost went from hating each other to being all into each other in way too short of a time. The flirting scenes between her and the live boy were so awkward they were painful. And the writing was clunky.
So did I enjoy this book a little bit? Sure. Do I wish I had read something else instead? Kind of. Have I read worse? Totally.
Overall How to Hang a Witch wasn’t the best book to get me into the haunting season but I probably could have found worse.