Mini-Reviews - Wicked Girls: A Novel of the Salem Witch Trials by Stephanie Hemphill

Thursday August 5, 2010

Wicked Girls: A Novel of the Salem Witch Trials
by Stephanie Hemphill
B+B (HarperCollins)
Released July 1, 2010
Goodreads Summary: Wicked Girls is a fictionalized account of the Salem witch trials based on the real historical characters, told from the perspective of three young women living in Salem in 1692—Mercy Lewis, Margaret Walcott, and Ann Putnam Jr. 

When Ann’s father suggests that a spate of illnesses within the village is the result of witchcraft, Ann sees an opportunity and starts manifesting the symptoms of affliction. Ann looks up to Mercy, the beautiful servant in her parents' house. She shows Mercy the power that a young girl is capable of in a time when women were completely powerless. Mercy, who suffered abuse at the hands of past masters, seizes her only chance at safety. And Ann’s cousin Margaret, anxious to win the attention of a boy in her sights, follows suit. As the accusations mount against men and women in the community, the girls start to see the deadly ramifications of their actions. Should they finally tell the truth? Or is it too late to save this small New England town?

Review: The Salem Witch Trials is a topic that never fails to draw curiosity no matter the venue, books, movies, documentary's never fails to draw interest. The fear, terror and death that a few girls brought to a whole community is still shocking to this day.

Author Stephanie Hemphill follows up her Printz Honor book Your Own, Sylvia (a "fictionalized" account of Sylvia Plath's life and death told in poems and is AWESOME) with this gem of a book. Told in verse and narrated by three of the main characters the story brings life and probable motivation to the actions that led to the deaths of over 20 innocent people. 

I could not put this book down! I like that the author doesn't "villainize" any of the accusers instead showing how a group of young girls too young to understand the long-term consequences to both themselves and the accused are emboldened by community members serving their own agendas. Excellent! The story itself is fine for middle school but best for higher level readers.


jedisakora @ The Little Corner of the World said...

Sounds really good. I'll have to look for it.