I have a confession to make: I haven’t been reading much lately. Between health issues, a heavy freelance workload, and reading manuscripts for friends and critique partners, I’ve barely had time to pick up a new book. But I’ve had Conversion by Katherine Howe requested from the library for forever, and when it finally became available I knew I had to drop everything and read it. Because seriously:
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 Timesbestselling 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?
Like almost every other teenage nerd girl on the planet, I was incredibly fascinated by the Salem Witch Trials. The idea of a group of girls my age accusing people of witchcraft? Starting a hysteria that led to the execution of their (innocent) friends and neighbors? How does that even happen? And how did anyone actually believe them?
Katherine Howe takes a story we all know, the story of Salem, and uses it to craft an incredibly compelling narrative that weaves together 1692 Salem and 2012 Danvers. I wish I could say more about this book other than I loved everything about it, from the characters to the pacing to the oh-so-beautiful-writing, but I’m terrified of giving anything away! Because that’s the kind of book this is–the less you know (or think you know) going into it, the better. So instead of spoiling anything, I’m going to just leave you with the link to Goodreads.