HOW TO HANG A WITCH
By Adriana Mather
Series: How To Hang A Witch #1
Series: How To Hang A Witch #1
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Knopf books for Young Readers (July 26, 2016)
Age Range: 12 up
Grade Range: 7 up
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 really do not enjoy DNFing books but when nearly everything about the story is confusing and just poorly written, I have no choice but to stop reading and cut my losses.
This is the story of Samantha Mather and her stepmom moving to Salem to be closer to her dad, who is in a coma. Sam is the decendant of Cotton Mather, someone that is very well known in Salem for having a lot to do with the witch trials so long ago. Sam learns quickly that a group called The Decendants immediately takes to not liking her because they happen to be decendants of the witches hung so long ago by Sam's distant relative. That is as far as I got in the book, only 47 pages, so I'm not sure really what the rest of the book was about.
From the first page, everything about this story was bad. The writing was full of incomplete sentences and thoughts, characters were never developed (or even talked about), there was zero world building, and on one page in particular, the author contradicts herself by saying the MC knew who another girl was, yet several paragraphs below shows where the MC is unsure of who the same girl is.
A little known fact about me and my reading style: if items are unnecessarily described, it annoys me to no end. At one point, the author chose to keep telling the reader that the lipgloss Sam was carrying was strawberry flavored. Why did the author feel the need to tell the reader the lip gloss is strawberry flavored? Does that have anything to do with the story? Does this help paint a better picture for the reader? In this case, no. It is a pointless fact that does not help the story at all.
Sam, the MC, is a terrible protagonist. She is moody, angsty, and has a huge chip on her shoulder for no apparent reason. She starts school with the intent of being a jerk and is shocked when people are jerks back. She snaps at everyone that calls her by her full name of 'Samantha'. She feels everyone is out to get her and chooses to be standoffish. None of these make for a good MC. On top of that, her inner monologue was horrid. It makes her sound more like a whiny brat than a teenager who's just moved into a new town to be closer to her sick father. I won't go into the insta-love she has with her neighbor, Jaxon. That was just painful and I will spare you the details.
I never found one redeeming thing about this book that would make me want to finish the story. I was miserable after the first few pages until I finally put the book down. In order for this book to be any good the writing needs tremendous work, characters need to be developed, and an actual story line needs to be established. The author needs to figure out how to bring the reader into the story, not just throw it at them and basically say 'this is what is happening'. There is no way I could ever recommend this book to anyone.