Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Wicked Girls: A Novel of the Salem Witch Trials by Stephanie Hemphill
Release Date: Available Now from Blazer & Bray
Source: From Publisher
What started out as girls' games became a witch hunt. Wicked Girls is a fictionalized account of the Salem witch trials told from the perspectives of three of the real young women living in Salem in 1692.
Ann Putnam Jr. plays the queen bee. When her father suggests that a spate of illnesses within the village is the result of witchcraft, Ann grasps her opportunity. She puts in motion a chain of events that will change the lives of the people around her forever.
Mercy Lewis, the beautiful servant in Ann's house, inspires adulation in some and envy in others. With a troubled past, she seizes her only chance at safety.
Margaret Walcott, Ann's cousin, is desperately in love and consumed with fiery jealousy. She is torn between staying loyal to her friends and pursuing the life she dreams of with her betrothed.
With new accusations mounting daily against the men and women of the community, the girls will have to decide: Is it too late to tell the truth?
A Printz Honor winner for Your Own, sylvia, Stephanie Hemphill uses evocative verse to weave a nuanced portrait of one of the most chilling and fascinating times in our nation's history.
Yet another novel in verse. I have to say that I love, love, love them. I find myself getting just as swept up in the story as I do with any other novel, it's just that I can race to the finish even more quickly. This book, however, is one to savor. I found myself turning back to favorite passages and reading them over and over.
The Salem Witch Trials have always been an interesting subject to me. It's so frightening to think about this type of hysteria taking over a community and leading to such awful events. It's happened again and again throughout history, but I think Salem is one of the worst cases and one that is the hardest to digest.
This novel is about that hysteria, but at the heart, it's about mean girls, peer pressure, and taking a cruel idea way too far. I've been reading the Pretty Little Liars books, and crazy as it sounds, many of those same these appear in that series; bored little girls just trying to be heard in their community and making those around them miserable. It just goes to show that not much has changed in the last 300 or so years.
This is an incredibly rich and powerful read. I was concerned when I started the book that I wouldn't be able to keep the girls separate while reading, but they each have such different voices that it was easy to know who's speaking without even glancing at the name. Hemphill has a true gift. She's taken real life, horrific events and put them into a context where we can almost see where these girls were coming from. The story races on and the tension builds throughout, until the reader is swept into this madness plaguing 17th century Salem. Beautifully written, this is a book to be treasured.