Thursday, March 8, 2018

How to Hang a Witch

How to Hang a Witch, Adriana Mather 
This book is a great piece of YA entertainment.  I think it'll resonate with people struggling with atypical bullying.  For those wading through scenarios that fall outside the usual mean-girls-gang-up-on-the-new-girl-paradigm?  Maybe not.  Be warned, cliches abound.  There are mean girls, brooding love interests, love triangles, clumsy-but-cute protag's, evil stepmothers, centuries-old-boys appearing in bedrooms, goths in Salem, and supernaturally-gorgeous in-crowd.  I wouldn't go so far as stamping it as derivative, but I would say it's formulaic.  And for that reason, it is a satisfying read if you are craving this very thing.  Fortunately, I was in the mood for YA entertainment and found it fun.  It was fast-paced, funny enough and suspenseful.  I appreciate Mather has simplified history for her target audience, but I would have reveled in further depth through the details (and what a bonus that this, of all things, could be clocked up as an #ownvoice narrative!).  The link between Puritanical witch-hunts and bullying felt more tenuous than it should have -- since I think it's fair to draw a parallel between these two evidences of humanity's tendency to single out and be cruel to those different.  The greatest disappointment: that so many adults are unequivocal jerks in this narrative!  The best pleasant surprise: that the heroine doesn't let the haters get her down!  There's no wallowing, no consideration of quitting, and no resorting to unhealthy management of pain -- what a treat!  I loved reading about a girl with some spunk who digs in when the going gets tough and holds to what she knows to be true, rumours be damned! (Which brings me to a side-note: Happy International Women's Day!  Hitting the bookstore or library for a copy of this to read at your place would be a great way to celebrate!)

Advisory notes: there's attraction but no serious sensuality, very little swearing, little violence but a fair amount of disturbing imagery.  Also: witchcraft...obvs.  From the title alone, I would hope any readers with still-smarting memories related to nooses should steer clear.

Review copy received from Walker.

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