Book - 2014
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When girls start experiencing strange tics and other mysterious symptoms at Colleen's high school, her small town of Danvers, Massachusetts, falls victim to rumors that lead to full-blown panic, and only Colleen connects their fate to the ill-fated Salem Village, where another group of girls suffered from a similarly bizarre epidemic three centuries ago.
Publisher: New York : G. P. Putnam's Sons, ©2014.
ISBN: 9780399167775
Branch Call Number: YA HOW
Characteristics: xi, 402 pages ;,24 cm.


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Aug 17, 2016

I liked the majority of this book. It was suspenseful and well-paced. Sometimes the writing was awkward but it didn't really prevent me from enjoying it. That being said, the ending was really underwhelming and I'm disappointed with how this ended.

Apr 11, 2015

Well written companion piece to anyone interested in the Salem witch trials/accusations as well as The Crucible. Full of teenage drama at a religious private school.

athompson10 Apr 04, 2015

Interesting story, based on the true-life Salem witch trials and a modern-day outbreak of mysterious illness among high-schoolers in Western New York. The author does a good job of interweaving the stories. The ending is a bit of a letdown, and there's a (SPOILER ALERT).....................................................................................................romance between a teen girl and her teacher that's written sympathetically, which is appalling in a young-adult novel.

JCLChrisK Dec 16, 2014

Parallel stories of mysterious illness. Illness that spreads like contagion, yet only to teen girls. Illness of unknown cause; might it be something consumed? Viral? Psychological? Environmental? Supernatural? Illness of unknown cure, and as the illness spreads and the unknowns mount, so does the hysteria, spread and mount, in the form of community reaction. The longer people go without answers, the crazier they get.

The main story is set in a privileged, highly competitive, all-girl high school in Danvers, Massachusetts in 2012. The secondary story, told in alternating chapters called "interludes," is set in Salem Village, Massachusetts in 1706. The illnesses in each might be the same but they might not, and therein lies the mystery. The intrigue lies in how people react to the mysteries, both the specific, intimate reactions of the two protagonists, each narrating her own story, and the general, larger reactions of those around them. There are plentiful fascinating comparisons to consider.

Perhaps most fascinating is that both stories are based on actual events. At times the narrative is hampered by the constraints of being true to those histories and by the structure of the parallel tellings to prompt the comparisons, the characters and their interactions a little less than organic and fully believable as a result. Nevertheless, they remain sympathetic characters and their stories are compelling ones.


"Do you know what it's like," I ask him, "to not be listened to?"

"What do you mean?"

I can tell from the look on his face that the Reverend is about to insist to me that of course he knows. And he probably thinks he does. But he doesn't.

Look at him. He's a son, maybe even an eldest son, I don't know. He's educated. His clothes fit. He's got that hearty wife in the hall, with the piglet girl and the hiccoughing baby. A whole churchful of parishioners ready to attend to his opinions, looking to him for guidance. Even me. I'm appealing to him, I'm prostrating myself, showing him my sin, as if it's in his power to absolve me, which it isn't. He's been listened to all his life. He always will be.

"I was an eldest daughter," I begin, hunting for a way to make him understand. "We were people of worth in the village. I wasn't bound out, like Abby. My labors weren't half as hard as hers. But even so, to be a girl of thirteen . . . "

I hunt his eyes for understanding, and I can see him straining to find it. Silently, I beg him to *see me.*

But I read it on his face plain as day.

He doesn't. He can't.

bandblair Sep 25, 2014

It's awesome. A real page-turner. I'm also glad it's not a series because you actually find out what is happening by the end!

Aug 26, 2014

A great dark tale based on true events. Also very well written.

Jul 31, 2014

Imagine a prestigious girls's school in Massachusetts suddenly caught in the grips of an all-out mysterious illness. Colleen,a. Student at the school, watches her classmates fall prey to this - one by one, classmates experience seizures, lose hair, are unable to walk, and vomiting pins! What is causing this? Many make feeble attempts to diagnose the problem, and still more girls succumb to the illness. Parallel to this story, Katherine Howe recasts the story of the Salem Witch Trials, which happened in the same location as where the girls's school currently stands. Creepy! The author does a great job of building suspense - the resolution, however, falls a bit flat. However, this is a good read, and the cause of the illnesses leaves one to ponder the pressures young women, both in early Salem and now, undergo and how far the human mind and body will take us to purge that pressure from itself.

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Apr 11, 2015

JessicaDH thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


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