Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Review: Wicked Girls

Wicked Girls: A Novel of the Salem Witch Trials
By Stephanie Hemphill
Published 2010 by Balzer & Bray/HarperTeen

Ann Putnam, Jr. may be the youngest, but she's clearly in charge. Her father's reputation ensures that none of the girls dare stand up to her, lest she make their lives miserable. But what starts as a game and Ann's desire to have her own voice turns into a witch hunt with deadly consequences. Will the girls stand together or fall apart?

I'd read two of Hemphill's novels previously and was blown away by the first, though a bit underwhelmed by the second. I'd seen this one around and was definitely interested - a verse novel about the Salem Witch Trials, told through the voices of the accusers. That's definitely an idea that will pique my interest. I was looking for a quick read recently and picked this one up, since verse novels tend to be quicker reads than regular novels. This was a really interesting read. I loved all the different voices and how the story was told from the perspective of the girls who made the accusations rather than the victims. I find the witch trials endlessly fascinating and I think they'll always be relevant because of what they say about human nature. It was very provocative to see what Hemphill did with the story - from the reasons behind the accusations to what would happen if you disagreed with Ann Putnam to the struggle to stop something that has grown immensely bigger than one's self. I liked that we got to see the story from so many different characters - though they initially were all on the same page, they soon find themselves with differing opinions and struggles. I also really liked that Hemphill included some historical notes, as well as information about what happened to many of the characters after the trials. As for the poems themselves, I felt they were more on par with the first of Hemphill's novels that I read. Many of them were beautiful poetry and could have stood alone, but they also worked cohesively to tell this story. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and would definitely recommend it to fans of historical fiction.

Just as a note, I don't think this cover does the book justice. This makes it look like some typical high school drama book instead of the more complex novel it actually is.

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