Monday 31 August 2015

Book Review - Conversion by Katherine Howe


Author: Katherine Howe

Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Witches. 

Published: 2015

Pages: 402 pages (Paperback Edition) (Rock The Boat)

Read: August 2015

Rating: 5 Stars 

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?

Book 32/60 - 2015 Goodreads Reading Challenge

Conversion is a historical fiction novel set around the Salem witch trials and paralleling that with a present day all girl private school. I for one am not a girl that will read much books about witches. I've simply just had bad experiences with them. That is not saying that I won't read a book with a witch in it, I will, it's just when the whole book revolves around witches or witch society that I start to cringe. One such book that made my opinion this way is Half Bad by Sally Green, *shivers* just not the book for me. So when I picked this up, I was apprehensive because of the with aspect, but it was also historical and I just love anything to do with the Salem witch trials. For that reason alone, this book piked my interest.

But then after buying the book, I checked it out on Goodreads and was so devastated to see a huge amount of negative reviews for this book, which led me into a state of "Did I make a mistake?" But I went and read this anyway and I am so glad that I did. I loved every piece of this book!

The one aspect that I loved the most about this book was the time switches. This book would travel from present day back to the past of the witch trials and I just found this to be done really well and I enjoyed that aspect thoroughly. I also love the way that this book was related to real life events, not just the witch trials but also an event that had only happened recently to a group of school girls (I shall not say more.) 

The plot was another major asset to this book. As the plot thickened, there was this air of tension and mystery and just a riveting sensation that kept you flicking through the pages and I instantly became obsessed and invested in this story. I needed to know what happened. I need to know what happened in the present day story and in the past story and then as they intertwined, it just fit. This book fit, both stories that you see in this book slotted together like a perfect puzzle piece! 

The characters (which seemed to be a problem to most people) I found to be fine. There was nothing that made me despise them. Yes, I did question our main present day protagonist's personality at the start of the book as she gave the impression of being this preppy, snappy, cliché of a rich girl and even if that side of her just lessened a small bit as the book went on, I felt that she grew on me and so did her friends. They went through situations and events that had me physically feeling for them, be that betrayal, heartache, happiness, shock, the whole lot. As for the characters from the past story, they had me at the get go. Not much more I can say there... 

Overall, I felt this book was exactly what I was looking for and I am sure that I will reread this again and again and again as well as pick up Katherine Howe's next book which is released soon called The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen. 


  1. I am going to agree with you there - when it comes to most witch books I have yet to read an amazingly good book which will get me excited when I crack open the next witch one. But I just have been hearing such wonderful things about Katherine Howe's writing and books lately, so I will have to check it out...

    1. She is amazing! That is all I can say :P I hope you like it if you do read it :)