4th June, Oneworld Publications, 432 pages, Paperback, Review copy
Content: supernatural, school life, humour, tense moments, tissues needed
Summary from Katherine's website
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?
I was a bit worried when I started reading this book, thinking it might be too creepy and I'd have to put it down and not pick it up again, so I'm glad that didn't happen. It held all elements which I enjoy – a rich school life with strange goings on and memorable characters. The way that the story in the past had it's own chapters while the present scenario occurred kept me gripped all through the book. The truth of the matter was a bit surprising, as it wasn't entirely what I'd expected, but it was really good.
It's a fairly thick tome but I didn't notice time passing while I read it, so engrossed was I by the teen drama (some easy to relate to, others not so much). There's a great deal of mystery and fear of what happens next, but somehow Colleen's voice is fun to read and I was rooting for her to be ok through the unfolding drama.