How to Hang a Witch

Written by Adriana Mather, a 12th generation descendant of Cotton Mather, How to Hang a Witch introduces us to Samantha Mather, a fictional descendant of Cotton. Samantha and her stepmother, Vivian, have recently moved to Salem after her father mysteriously slips into a coma. Upon her arrival and attendance to the local high school, Samantha quickly realizes that the Mather name doesn’t inspire much toward positive interactions for her. In fact, it’s quite the opposite as Samantha is bullied by a group of students dubbed The Descendants. You won’t need to be a genius as to why this group of students are named such.

Bullying is one of two prominent themes throughout the book. It irked me quite a lot that the Descendants were incredibly quick to judge Samantha based solely on the fact that she was a descendant of Cotton instead of getting to know the girl first. Her neighbors son, Jaxon, is the only student that, from the beginning, is actually nice to her. However, the Descendants treatment of Samantha only continues to feed into the second theme of the book: History repeating itself.

As the book continues, Samantha is frequently accused of being the cause of various incidents not only in school, but around town all involving various family members of the Descendants. Once a ghost by the name of Elijah makes his presence known to Samantha, the two quickly discover the correlating events of present day Salem with that of it’s past as the hysteria surrounding Samantha’s presence continues to escalate. A large chunk of the novel is Samantha and Elijah trying to solve this “curse” while she also tries to mend some bridges in order to get some help from some of the Descendants.

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