Sunday, 28 August 2016

Conversion by Katherine Howe review

Hey! So as you can probably seem my blog looks completely different and yay! I love it! I hope you like it too. So a big thanks to my friend who helped me to do this, and by helped I mean he wrote all the code for me because I'm useless with computers, if you guys have any advice on how to improve it or if you just love it let me know.

When I picked up this book it was something like £2.50 on amazon, so to be honest I just noticed the mention of witches/the supernatural and the price I just immediately bought it and jumped in without knowing anything; due to this I had no idea this was based off true events which makes this book slightly better.

'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 Timesbestselling 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?'

The only thing that kept my reading this book was the amazing premise and plot behind it. I mean, mysterious behaviour in modern times being linked to witchcraft from the 1700s - yes please, more of that please. I loved how this was written in the sense that you never really knew what was going on, which made you want to keep going and not put it down; within each chapter something new was discovered or a new link made between the past or the present. It was smart of Howe to switch the narrative between two girls in different times whom experienced this 'illness' in different ways, it me interested and invested in the narrative. 

The actual events taking place were amazing too because the illness interacted with everyone in different ways, and it was just so freaky. I loved how throughout the book we were kept guessing at what was causing this illness, and I made several guesses throughout the book that just weren't accurate at all.  Also there were some really interesting mentions of how stress can affect young people's lives, and as a 17 year old student going into year 13 I can strongly relate to all of this, I work so hard sometimes I make myself ill and it was good to see that an author recognised that students face real problem with their work and expectations. But, enough of the present, the events that took place in the past in this novel were spectacular, and I loved reading about how people's beliefs at the time impacted their view/outlook on the story being told. It was done in a really smart way as well as an account of one of those at the centre of the story. 

Now, the thing that let this book down for me was the characters and the unnecessary romances, I loved all the characters that were introduced to us in the 1700s; but those in present time were just annoying. Colleen, our main protagonist, I found whiny and confusing at times - her outlook on situations seemed to continually change and I couldn't keep up with the inconsistency with this character. Furthermore, she had an abysmal romance with a character in this book that just wasn't necessary, I understand that as teenagers we fall in love quickly - but there was just no chemistry between them and it was difficult to read. Another unnecessary romance in this book was Emma and their teacher - look I understand if she was going for the whole Aria/Ezra thing, but it didn't really help the plot move along at all, it was just a kinda weird subplot the book could have done without. I just can't stand romances/relationships that are badly written, or characters that are badly written - it almost made me put this down. 

Now the ending of this book when the whole mystery illness was solved was weird, I think it's great that this book mentioned how stress can impact people's health and all of that, and I know this is based on a true story; BUT, but, what was the point of the symbolism of the yellow bird at the end then?! I'm all for a book leaving a mystery open for us, but here the yellow bird felt like more of an afterthought from the author, if you're gonna base an ending/wrap up to a mystery on true events, it's normally best to stick to those true events and not mix supernatural premises with it otherwise it's just weird. 

Overall this book was okay, Howe totally nailed the narrative and plot of Conversion, but the characters and romances? Not so much. Which is a massive shame really because it pulled the whole book down for me, and stopped it from reaching it's full potential. Howe needs to step up her game in regards to the last two factors to write a truly good book. 

1 comment:

  1. I love the new look, I bet whoever made is an incredible person, and very good looking and not me.

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