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June 2015 Book of the Month A fascinating book that captures your imagination for its entirety and then releases it to explore new thoughts and feelings, this is a wonderfully clever foray into the difficulties faced by young women on the cusp of adulthood. The story takes place in two time frames in one location, formally called Salem Village now Danvers in Massachusetts. We hear from two inhabitants; Ann in 1706 who makes a confession and Colleen in 2012, in her final year of school and under pressure to perform. The author encourages you to connect the two times, to feel the pain and confusion, to question and evaluate, however there is a twist of mystery in this tale and just as you think you are finding an answer, it swirls off in front of you again. Whilst fiction, Howe explains how her story links to true events in the authors note at the end. This is a fabulous re-imagining of ‘The Crucible’, full of suspense and tension, yet there is a warmth and compassion that makes this a read not to be missed by older teens. ~ Liz Robinson
Senior year at all-girl's Catholic school St. Joan's Academy has just begun, and Colleen Rowley and her friends are feeling the heat. Applications to Harvard, the battle for valedictorian, the high expectations of their parents, meeting boys in Cambridge...all of it has turned school into a pressure cooker.
When beautiful, popular Clara Rutherford starts having loud and uncontrollable tics while her horrified classmates look on, chaos sets in as more and more girls begin reporting bizarre symptoms: losing hair, body vibration, seizures...And then one of Colleen's best friends, Anjali, starts coughing up pins. The media quickly descends on the small town of Danvers, MA, as school officials, angry parents and the board of health scramble to figure out what's going on before it gets worse.
Theories range from a latent Strep virus to environmental pollution, all to no avail. But as Colleen soon realizes, there's one thing nobody has factored in-Danvers, MA was once called Salem Village, the site of a similarly bizarre epidemic among teenage girls over 300 years earlier...
Teens love to read and so in addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can read their full reviews by clicking here.
'Howe skillfully blends a modern medical mystery based on real events with the historical Salem Witch panic ... will keep readers guessing until the final reveal.' School Library Journal
'A simmering blend of relatable high-school drama with a persistent pinprick of unearthliness in the background.' Booklist
'A chilling guessing game of a novel that will leave readers thinking about the power (and powerlessness) of young women in the past and present alike.' Publishers Weekly, starred review
'Richly drawn characters and period language ... a deliberate build-up of escalating tension and suspense.' Kirkus Reviews
'Howe's writing is suspenseful and effortlessly draws the reader in.' VOYA, starred review
'Engrossing and thought-provoking.' Boston Globe
'[Howe] has a gift for capturing the teenage mindset that nears the level of John Green ... there's no one better to bewitch teens and adults alike with a modern tale of gripping panic.' USA Today
'Conversion melds the best bits of private school drama (think Curtis Sittenfeld's Prep) with the mystique of the supernatural. Pick it up this fall for a good old-fashioned mystery and maybe even a flashback to your high school years (for better or for worse). Be prepared to love this bewitching page-turner!' Christian Science Monitor
'...this creepy, gripping novel is intimately real and layered, shedding light on the challenges teenage girls have faced throughout history. Particularly in situations of powerlessness, Conversion shows, stress can reveal itself in mysterious ways. New York Times'
|Publication date:||4th June 2015|
|Suitable for:||YA readers|
|Recommendations:||Books of the Month, eBooks, Reviewed by Children|
Katherine Howe is the author of the #2 New York Times bestseller The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, as well as The House of Velvet and Glass. She is widely considered an expert on American colonial life and the Salem Witch Trials, having written both as an academic and a novelist on the subject. She is a lecturer in American Studies at Cornell University. She is also a direct descendant of three of the women accused of witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials, one who was hanged and two who survived. Her books have been published around the world in 23 languages ...More About Katherine Howe
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