Review: Conversion by Katherine Howe


Title: Conversion
AuthorKatherine Howe
Release Date/Publisher: July 1st 2014 by Putnam Juvenile
Finished: March 29th 2014
Pages: 432-ARC Paperback-given for review

Synopsis from 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?

What I Thought:

I received a review copy from Razorbill Canada.

I have to say that this was a pretty good book, but I’m having a hard time putting it to words. It seems like the kind of book that really gets a discussion going, but also kind of hard to talk about without giving too much away. It could probably even be read in schools or book clubs and talked about.

There are two sides to this story that it flips back and forth from; one which features Ann Putnam from the 1700’s in Salem, and the other Colleen from 2012. The past one recounts a different version of what happened and a kind of confession. The more present offers a mysterious illness that is afflicting girls in St. Joan’s school, which leaves you wondering what’s going on. I liked the idea that the two of them have similarities, and how this is mentioned a little bit in the book. This is of course fiction, but it was really interested to find out how it all came together and what might be wrong with the girls.

At the back of the book the author has a section that describes how she came into the story, and she tells what pieces she took from actual accounts to make it. I really appreciated that part, especially since I never got to read the Crucible in school and I never knew that things were changed in it.

If this book sounds interesting and you want to know what happens too, go get a copy. I really enjoyed reading it.

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4 comments on “Review: Conversion by Katherine Howe

  1. I really like this look of the one.The first thing that got me was the cover it looks so eerie!

    I am really glad you liked this one. It seems like the premise really shines through. The sound of the change in time frames sounds really interesting and it seems like the weave together quite well!

    Thanks for sharing and I am glad you enjoyed this one! 🙂 xxx

    Alex @ The Shelf Diaries

    • The cover drew me in too, that’s what made me want to request it when I got the opportunity.
      Thank you! I’m glad you liked my review 🙂

  2. I’ve been very curious about this book but yours is the first review I’ve read for it. I’m happy you enjoyed it overall. The dual time frames sounds pretty cool and since I’ve always been fascinated with Salem (love me some witchiness) I’ll probably try this one out at some point! Thanks for the great review ^^

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