Hocus Pocus Is Better: How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather

It’s the Salem Witch Trials meets Mean Girls in a debut novel from one of the descendants of Cotton Mather, where the trials of high school start to feel like a modern day witch hunt for a teen with all the wrong connections to Salem’s past.

Salem, Massachusetts is the site of the infamous witch trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam and her stepmother are not exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is the descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those trials and almost immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves The Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were?

If dealing with that weren’t enough, Sam also comes face to face with a real live (well technically dead) ghost. A handsome, angry ghost who wants Sam to stop touching his stuff. But soon Sam discovers she is at the center of a centuries old curse affecting anyone with ties to the trials. Sam must come to terms with the ghost and find a way to work with The Descendants to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first accused witch was hanged. If any town should have learned its lesson, it’s Salem. But history may be about to repeat itself.

Source: GoodReads

There’s a reason I’ve been sort of burned out on YA this summer and it’s because of books like How to Hang a Witch, which has an awesome premises and an awful execution.

The whole witch trials is something I’ve always been interested in reading or learning more about since I read The Crucible back sophomore year.  There’s not much of an offering about this bat shit crazy period of time in YA, so seeing a modern day book that features it I was interested.  Added the fact that the premises said handsome angry ghost in the blurb I was so there.

Because ghost in YA make me think of Jesse de Silva from The Mediator Series and that means insta purchase.

However….yeah, Sam was no Suze Simon even though she’s from New York and wears a leather jacket.  Correction, vegan leather jacket (that is pointed out like five thousand times).  If Suze was here, she wouldn’t be bullied and complain about it like Sam did.  She’d get even.  She wouldn’t be spooked by ghost boy in her house, she’d punch his lights out and make fun of his puffy shirt or whatever.

But this book does not feature Suze Simon….and Sam is well a drip who reminded me heavily of Bella Swan (sulky disposition and all) so…

Yeah, I didn’t finish this one.

I made it through to about 90 or so pages which is a shame because everything about the book really should’ve been cat nip to me.  It wouldn’t have taken much.

Hell, it could’ve been kooky like my favorite Halloween movie (Hocus Pocus) and I would’ve been happy with it.  But instead, it was just dull as could be.  All I got besides Sam being bullied, oblivious to the fact that there’s a God damn ghost in her bedroom,  was she somehow was looking into the library for the locations where the hangings in Salem took place.

Really, the library?

Like, there wasn’t a little thing called Google but she had to go to the library and look in the records.  I mean, it’s nice to see a character go in the library but you would at least think she would’ve gone through electronic options in this day and age first.

And I don’t exactly know if the local library would even have those sort of records but…

I digress.

The whole evil witch bully gang thing was utterly bizarre as well. From the blurb, I was expecting that they’d be somewhat like the girls in Jinx but they were much more overt in that.  Plus, Mather isn’t exactly that uncommon of a surname and I doubt that one teen let alone several would know or care to know the history surrounding Salem or for that matter who the New Girl was related to.

Whatever though.

I knew it would be a little far fetched based on the premises, but with the poor characterizations I couldn’t even buy it that much.

Really, the only thing that would’ve kept me reading at that point was if Sam suddenly decided to light a candle and brought back the Sanderson sisters and they started showing the Mean Girl Witches how real witches asked.

Overall Rating: DNF

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