Thursday, July 22, 2010

Book Review: Wicked Girls by Stephanie Hemphill

Wicked Girls by Stephanie Hemphill
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publish Date: July 1, 2010
Hardcover, 336 pages

My Review:
I will admit I am fascinated by the Salem Witch Trials and the truth of the matter is I know very little about them.  When I saw Wicked Girls I knew I had to read it.  What I didn't realize was that it was written in verse.  I have never read a novel in verse and honestly I thought about sending it on and not reading it (it was for a book tour).  But I started it, and once I started it I could not put it down.  After reading the first 5-10 pages I became use to the writing in verse and it flowed so well.  I liked the little stories told by each of the main players and how they interweaved.  When one would stop the story, another would pick it up and it just flowed so well throughout the book.

Told from the point of view of Mercy, the servant girl, Ann Jr., the girl in the group with the highest standing in the community and Margaret, Ann's cousin, it unfolds a timeless story of girls who seek attention and will go to any lengths to get it.

I made a note in the middle of the book about the timeless theme, then read the author's note at the end on how she used that to help with the creation of this book - I was so pleased that I picked up on something like that (sometimes themes go over my head - I will confess I was never and English major and frequently just read books for enjoyment).  Ms. Hemphill weaves this beautifully into the story.  I read this in one day, never leaving it for very long at a time.  I needed to know more about Ann, Mercy, Margaret and the other main players and what would happen next in the village of Salem.

If you enjoy historical young adult novels, or historical novels in general, I think you will enjoy Wicked Girls. It tells a great story of what might have happened during the days of the Salem Witch Trials from the point of view of the major players.  It's a fascinating and captivating read and I am now intrigued by Ms. Hemphill's writing and will be seeking out her backlist as well.

My Rating:  4.5/5.0

About the Book:
Wicked Girls is a fictionalized account of the Salem witch trials based on the real historical characters, told from the perspective of three young women living in Salem in 1692—Mercy Lewis, Margaret Walcott, and Ann Putnam Jr. 

When Ann’s father suggests that a spate of illnesses within the village is the result of witchcraft, Ann sees an opportunity and starts manifesting the symptoms of affliction. Ann looks up to Mercy, the beautiful servant in her parents' house. She shows Mercy the power that a young girl is capable of in a time when women were completely powerless. 

Mercy, who suffered abuse at the hands of past masters, seizes her only chance at safety. And Ann’s cousin Margaret, anxious to win the attention of a boy in her sights, follows suit. As the accusations mount against men and women in the community, the girls start to see the deadly ramifications of their actions. Should they finally tell the truth? Or is it too late to save this small New England town?

About the Author:
Stephanie Hemphill is the author of Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath and Things Left Unsaid: A Novel in Poems. Your Own, Sylvia was a 2008 Michael L. Printz Honor Book. She lives in Chicago, Illinois.
FTC Information: I received this book through Traveling ARC Tours for review.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.


Chrissie said...

Wow, this sounds like a really interesting read! I think the writing in verse would put me off a bit so it's good to hear that you found it ok to read. Great review :)

Sal's Fiction Addiction said...

I just finished reading Wicked Girls, one of many novels in verse that I have read. Now that you've started with this amazing book, I hope you will read more. I am working on a list of more than 100 written in verse and have discovered a number of wonderful authors.

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