[Review] Conversion by Katherine Howe

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Title: Conversion
Author: Katherine Howe
Series: Standalone
Genre: YA Mystery, Paranormal Elements
Format: Hardcover, 432 pages
Release Date: July 1st 2014
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Source: Bought

Amazon | Indigo | TBD | Goodreads

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane comes a chilling mystery—Prep meets The Crucible.

It’s senior year at St. Joan’s Academy, and school is a pressure cooker. College applications, the battle for valedictorian, deciphering boys’ texts: Through it all, Colleen Rowley and her friends are expected to keep it together. Until they can’t.

First it’s the school’s queen bee, Clara Rutherford, who suddenly falls into uncontrollable tics in the middle of class. Her mystery illness quickly spreads to her closest clique of friends, then more students and symptoms follow: seizures, hair loss, violent coughing fits. St. Joan’s buzzes with rumor; rumor blossoms into full-blown panic.

Soon the media descends on Danvers, Massachusetts, as everyone scrambles to find something, or someone, to blame. Pollution? Stress? Or are the girls faking? Only Colleen—who’s been reading The Crucible for extra credit—comes to realize what nobody else has: Danvers was once Salem Village, where another group of girls suffered from a similarly bizarre epidemic three centuries ago . . .

Inspired by true events—from seventeenth-century colonial life to the halls of a modern-day high school—Conversion casts a spell. With her signature wit and passion, New York Times bestselling author Katherine Howe delivers an exciting and suspenseful novel, a chilling mystery that raises the question, what’s really happening to the girls at St. Joan’s?

I went into this book with a lot of expectations. For one it is about Witches and Witchcraft and for me that is something that makes me pick a book no matter what age group it is for. Conversion for me was a touch a go reading experience because I found that I enjoyed certain parts of the book more than others. And it was these non likable parts that made the book drag for me.

Conversion tells essentially two stories, one set in modern times, and one set during the Salem witch trials. I loved the modern part of the story. The writing was engaging and fast paced and I loved all of the characters. They all seemed to be real and vivid to me as I read the book. The mystery aspect of this part of the story was a great way to get me interested early. I wanted to know what was happening to these girls, and I wanted to know if it was in fact witchcraft. The Salem witch trial part of the book was another thing altogether. I was not fond of the way it was written. It was too far away from the tone of the modern day and I found it took me a while to grasp the language of these parts of the book. I also found that the chapters that dealt with the past were extremely slow and I could not get invested in the character because since they were already documented I kind of knew what was happening. I just found that these chapters took away from my reading experience and slowed down my reading.

I cannot say much about the story because the mystery is the best part and I want to keep it that way. but I do have to say something about the end of the book. I think I was expecting something more than what happened. The explanation although plausible felt a little deflating to me. I wanted something more interesting. And yet the author put in a little glimmer of hope at the end that maybe what we know is not the truth and I think that just made me more angry cause I wanted to know!

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