July 26, 2016 debuts

How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather

Knopf Books for Young Readers

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

Salem, Massachusetts is the site of the infamous witch trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam and her stepmother are not exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is the descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those trials and almost immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves The Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were?

If dealing with that weren’t enough, Sam also comes face to face with a real live (well technically dead) ghost. A handsome, angry ghost who wants Sam to stop touching his stuff. But soon Sam discovers she is at the center of a centuries old curse affecting anyone with ties to the trials. Sam must come to terms with the ghost and find a way to work with the Descendants to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first accused witch was hanged. If any town should have learned its lesson, it’s Salem. But history may be about to repeat itself.

"Inspired by her own lineage to Cotton Mather, debut author Mather infuses the story with a rich history of real places and events to anchor its more fantastical elements, including a supernatural love triangle involving Elijah, secret rooms, and hidden compartments containing ancient writings."
-- Publisher's Weekly

My review: I absolutely adore this book. I read it as a manuscript, and I read it as an ARC, and I am going to buy the finished version when it comes out, and I love it more every time. It's so charming and spooky and witchy and twist, and also it features my grumpy ghost boyfriend, who I shall not share with anybody else, even though I understand if everybody comes away from this wanting a ghost boyfriend of their very own. Go find your own. This one is mine.

But seriously, more to the point, what a fun ride this is! Witches and ghosts and--well, not so much a haunted house as an entire haunted town--plus creeeeeeeeeeeeeepy magic and a big dose of history that never feels heavy-handed, all wrapped up in the story about the thoroughly wonderful and believable teenage Sam who just wants her beloved father to be well and her new life in a new town not to not suck so much, what with its bullies and mean girls and unhelpful teachers and difficult parents and, oh, also the ghosts. 

It's a wonderfully fresh take on witchcraft and the legacy of Salem. I'm very much looking forward to the sequel to see what other folklore and history Adriana Mather decides to explore!

Gemini by Sonya Mukherje

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

Seventeen-year-old conjoined twins, Clara and Hailey, have lived in the same small town their entire lives—no one stares at them anymore. But there are cracks in their quiet existence and they’re slowing becoming more apparent. Clara and Hailey are at a crossroads. Clara wants to stay close to home, avoid all attention, and study the night sky. Hailey wants to travel the world, learn from great artists, and dance with mysterious boys. As high school graduation approaches, each twin must untangle her dreams from her sister’s, and figure out what it means to be her own person.

Told in alternating perspectives, this unconventional coming-of-age tale shows how dreams can break your heart—but the love between sisters can mend it.

"Compelling and suspenseful from Page 1; Clara and Hailey pull readers into their unique world and don’t let go. "
-- Kirkus starred review