Conversion by Katherine Howe is a mysterious tale about a private school in Danvers and a mysterious illness that takes over. Colleen is doing her best to stay focused during her senior year but she is juggling quite a few things. First, and most importantly, would be her college applications and interviews. Plus she is desperately trying to stay at the top of her class while trying to hang out with her friends. However shortly into the spring semester Clara (one of the most popular girls in school) is found convulsing on the floor. No one know what caused her to have a “fit” and before long more and more girls are coming down with the mysterious illness that no one can diagnose or stop. As the weeks continue Colleen, who has been reading The Cruciblefor class, begins to wonder if there is a correlation with the girls of Salem Village and her school. After all, Danvers was once Salem Village.
I liked how Howe told the story and paralleled the current girls with the girls of Salem Village. She did a great job of keeping her readers in suspense and just as clueless as everyone else. You could really feel the pressure the girls were facing with preparing for college and daily life, creating very believable characters. It was easy to get caught up in the drama of their illness and wonder who was going to be next. The Crucible was one of my favorite high school reads, so I must confess that I really enjoyed the historical look at the Salem Village, as well as Colleen’s examination of the play. It was interesting to read about the original girls and how quickly they were all swept up in the herd mentality and how quickly it spun out of hand. This is a fun summer read for someone looking for a YA book that is off the beaten path.
Conversion is our YA Book Club for August 12th. If you are over 17 and would like to join our group, we will be at Mostly Books from 7:00 – 8:00 PM.