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Conversion by Katherine Howe
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Conversion (edition 2014)

by Katherine Howe

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6743135,047 (3.39)10
When girls start experiencing strange tics and other mysterious symptoms at Colleen's high school, her small town of Danvers, Massachusetts, falls victim to rumors that lead to full-blown panic, and only Colleen connects their fate to the ill-fated Salem Village, where another group of girls suffered from a similarly bizarre epidemic three centuries ago.… (more)
Member:AHRaymond
Title:Conversion
Authors:Katherine Howe
Info:Putnam Juvenile (2014), Hardcover, 432 pages
Collections:New High School Books
Rating:
Tags:new books, Fall 2014

Work Information

Conversion by Katherine Howe

  1. 00
    The Minister's Daughter by Julie Hearn (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Mass hysteria spreads alongside accusations of witchcraft in these novels about teen girls who find power in unconventional behavior. Conversion perceives reflections of colonial New England in a contemporary private school while The Minister's Daughter takes place in the 17th century.… (more)
  2. 00
    Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Although Prep is realistic fiction written for adults and Conversion is a YA mashup of suspense and historical fiction, both books detail the complex social interactions of elite Northeastern prep schools with intense, sometimes gut-wrenching, precision.… (more)
  3. 00
    The Fever by Megan Abbott (legxleg)
    legxleg: Both books are inspired by the news story of high school girls coming down with a mysterious illness.
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Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
Conversion by Katherine Howe is a return to the style she used in The Physik Book of Deliverance Dane, a novel which I love. Conversion is a young adult novel which blends a retelling of The Crucible, the real history of the Salem Witch Panic, and a touch of high school drama. The Story is told through Ann Putnam, one of the accusers during the Panic, and Colleen Rowley, A modern teenager in her senior Year of high School in Danvers. The voices alternate between the Colleen and the trials of a girl trying to get into the college of her Choice, with interjections from the past with Ann making her confession about her role during the trials. The way this is done the reader can see the ultimate connections Howe is heading towards, without prior Knowledge of the Crucible or more than a passing knowledge of the history of the Salem Witch Trials.

There is enough of the teenage drama to make the comparison to the historical period, but not too much that people who easily tire of the drama will be turned off by it. The book is well written and was more enjoyable for me than Howe’s last book, which was a straight historical fiction, and not the dual time line I enjoyed so much. I would definitely recommend this book, especially to someone who wants something related to witch trials, and not heavy in the fantasy aspect. ( )
  sawcat | Apr 8, 2024 |
It was really hard to get through. A YA book should not be this hard to read. The past/present shifts were difficult, due to completely different sets of language, and the short lengths. Just as I was reacquainting myself with what was going on, the book would shift to the other timeline. The past narrative had two shifts as well--protagonist telling a story to someone and then the actual first-person memory of events. Perhaps the author was attempting at mystery or requirement of reading between lines but it was not executed well. I was also not very attached or interested in any of the characters, except maybe Emma and her mother--but there wasn't enough to hold onto. ( )
  mimo | Dec 18, 2023 |
I liked this--it was an interesting read. I had no idea that the modern story-line was also based on a true story till the end. The mind is a crazy thing. ( )
  bangerlm | Jan 17, 2023 |
3.5 stars

This was a page-turner, and the modern story seemed so familiar, I had to peek at the author's notes at the end to see if it was based on something that really happened. It was. Obviously the historical segments in Salem were based on actual events.

The true story that this (the chapters set in 2012) is based on is fascinating and weird, and I enjoyed reading Howe's fictionalized version.
There was a little too much going on, though (a friend who has Pica and another who's had an affair with a teacher, on top of the mystery illness plot, made things kind of crowded in there.) I guess I can see why the Emma/Tad plot needed to be in there to support one of the possible interpretations of the ending. .
The Ann Putnam chapters got tedious after a while too, and it wasn't fun to read from her point of view. The present tense narration when she was telling Reverend Green her story from years before didn't make sense to me. Using the present tense when the setting is in the past drives me crazy anyway.
It was a good choice for teen book club. With the factual basis, the subject matter, and an ending open to interpretation, we'll have plenty to talk about. ( )
  Harks | Dec 17, 2022 |
Interesting juxtaposition between a contemporary "outbreak" of hysteria a la Salem and flashbacks to the original trials. Good portrayal of high pressure prep school culture, and some unexpected twists. All in all, I enjoyed it and it was a solid read. ( )
  jennybeast | Apr 14, 2022 |
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When girls start experiencing strange tics and other mysterious symptoms at Colleen's high school, her small town of Danvers, Massachusetts, falls victim to rumors that lead to full-blown panic, and only Colleen connects their fate to the ill-fated Salem Village, where another group of girls suffered from a similarly bizarre epidemic three centuries ago.

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When girls start experiencing strange tics and other mysterious symptoms at Colleen's high school, her small town of Danvers, Massachusetts, falls victim to rumors that lead to full-blown panic, and only Colleen connects their fate to the ill-fated Salem Village, where another group of girls suffered from a similarly bizarre epidemic three centuries ago.
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