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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, 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?
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Nadia on 07-06-14
good character wasted on mediocre story
What would have made Conversion better?
Would you ever listen to anything by Katherine Howe again?
Maybe. But I read the summaries of her other book - once again about the Salem witches. Seems kinda repetative.
Have you listened to any of Khristine Hvam’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
No. But I liked her. Especially when she did Wheez's (the main character's baby sister) voice. It was adorable.
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Conversion?
Anything that had to do with Emma. I really loathed her character. And everything that revolved around her.
And the last sentence of the book. That's just messing with the reader.
Any additional comments?
I very much liked most of the book - the parts that were about modern times. but those interludes - they were boring! I almost audiably groaned, I think, every time when one of the started. It took self-control not to skroll past them.
Also, I think the media-obsession unfolded too quickly. I mean - a couple of girls fainted - and people are talking about an epidemic?! Come on!!
3 of 5 people found this review helpful
By CB on 11-21-17
Should be called "Waiting For Something to Happen"
I read this book on a recommendation from a friend. She is a media specialist and hadn't read the book, but she said it seemed interesting to her. I started reading the hardcover and after initially putting it down, I picked up the audiobook a few months later. This book starts great and started with an interesting conflict right away. The performance of the main character Colleen is well done, and it makes her character relatable.
However, this book then changes perspective to a girl in Salem during the Salem Witch Trials. The speaker during these sections (which seemed to happen all too frequently) tried to have an accent, either British or early American. Either way, it was really obnoxious to listen to because it was so inconsistent. The same words were always said five different ways. Ugh.
The overall book seemed to have a lot happening... until all the action suddenly stopped about halfway through. Nothing seemed to be advancing the story. I finally realized that I only had about an hour left, and still, nothing happened and there was no end in sight as far as tying up loose ends. The ending seems very slapdash and thrown together, and I was left feeling disappointed overall.
As a middle school English teacher, I would have a hard time recommending this to a student. The different points of view seem disjointed, never really connecting in any clear way, and I ended up feeling let down at the end. The audiobook performances were annoying at times, and I would not want to listen to something performed by the same actress. Unfortunately, this book has an original idea, but it was poorly executed.