Conversion by Katherine Howe

Title: Conversion
Author: Katherine Howe
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Release Date: July 1, 2014
Pages: 432
Source: BEA 2014

Summary from Goodreads:
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?


This book is undeniably well-researched and well-written. Even better, this story was inspired by real events, and I don’t just mean the Salem Witch Trials, but the modern day Mystery Illness too. I loved the in depth glimpse at both and the parallels that Howe made between them. It was really, really interesting.

I think I watched, rather than read, The Crucible back in middle school or high school. I am familiar with the Salem Witch Trials but not well versed on the subject. I’ve forgotten most of what I knew and didn’t have all of the history in the first place. That being said, I loved Howe’s rendering of this time in history. As a bit of a history buff, I loved learning about the events that unfolded and how everything escalated and spun out of control. It’s kind of crazy and sad really…

But the story takes time to build, which made for an ending that was much stronger and more exciting than the beginning. I couldn’t read fast enough when I got to the final 3rd of the book but the first 2/3rds didn’t completely pull me in. I admit that I wanted the book to move faster.

I’d recommend this book to fans of Historical Fiction, individuals interested in the Salem Witch Trials, or those who don’t mine a slower paced book. It really is a compelling story in that regard.
Copyright © 2014 The Quiet Concert
Template and Design by New Chapter Designs