Posted in Young Adult Lit

Conversion, by Katherine Howe

Katherine Howe
2014 Putnam Juvenile
ISBN – 9780399167775
Genre – Historical/Fiction
Age – High School
3 Stars

Small Town Massachusetts, present day: Suddenly several girls at a prestigious private high school begin showing signs of a mysterious illness. Some girls have tics and Tourette’s like symptoms, while others begin losing their hair. No one can seem to figure out what seems to be the cause. That is until they realize their close proximity to where the Salem Witch Trials were held. Is history repeating itself, or could this really be a massively contagious new and terrifying disease?

Parts of this book were excellent, like 5 star, can’t put the book down, late for work, excellent. Luckily it never lasted long enough to make me late for work. Here is what worked in my mind: Interchanging between present day illness and the Salem witch trial hysteria. Real life tie ins with the case of Le Roy New York, in which a group of girls started exhibiting symptoms similar to the book. What didn’t work for me: The characters, the characters, and the characters. I didn’t relate to any of them, I didn’t even have an iota of sadness that any of them were suffering. I just also didn’t believe them. They were painted as if they only wanted attention, not as if anything was actually wrong. They were so fake, I couldn’t even pretend to like them, and it ruined what could have been a great read. It made the book shallow, when it could have been deep, and it made me laugh when I should have felt bad.

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