Written by: Katherine Howe
# of pages: 402
My Rating: 5/5
Read in July 2014
Summary according to Goodreads
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 received a finished copy of this book at Book Expo America 2014.
This novel starts with a prelude, and at first it left me confused, because I went into this book blind, but it eventually all made sense. After only about 15 pages, I was hooked.
The way this novel was written was very unique, because it almost had two stories in one. Every couple of chapters it would switch in time to the 1700s, and give you a story from a seemingly unrelated event. I enjoyed this way of telling the two stories because the reader does not get an information dump, and instead learns things from the past, as things in the present start happening. I am not someone that is familiar with the Salem Witch Trials, but this novel raised enough points to get me interested in doing more reading about it. This author did a very good job of flowing the story well back and forth between the past and the present - both with the attitudes of the characters, the language, and the surroundings.
Although this novel is around 400 pages, I can tell you that you get sucked into the story, and you don't even realize how quickly you are turning the pages. This is a novel that you will not want to put down, and it is so fast paced that you won't. While reading this novel I was never quite sure about how it was going to end, although I did have a good idea. I thought I had been accurate in my assumption, but there ended up being a revelation to the story that I did not expect. In the end all of the loose ends were tied up nicely, and it did not feel abrupt. Both stories - those of Ann and Colleen - got the conclusion they needed.
Overall I really enjoyed this novel as well as the writing style, and am very interested in reading more from this author. I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for something suspenseful with historical aspects, of at least a young adult age.