Wicked Girls: A Novel of the Salem Witch Trials by Shephanie Hemphill

Published By: HarperCollins

Year of Publication: July 1st 2010

Categories: YA; historical fiction

Pages: 408

Summary (from goodreads.com): 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?

Review: I didn’t realize til I started reading it, that this book is written entirely in verse. When I first opened the book up and saw that, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read it, as silly as that sounds. I thought it would be strange to have a book written like that, and hard to understand. However, once I was a few pages in I realized that it wasn’t bad at all, and I actually really enjoyed reading it how it was formatted. So no worries there.

I decided to read Wicked Girls because I’m interested in the Salem Witch Trials. I always have been. I’m not quite sure what I find so interesting about it, but every time I hear something about it, my ears perk up.

Most of the books that I’ve read have been from the victim’s point of view. This one was from the accusers point of view, who I hadn’t really thought of before. So it was great to get “the other side of the story”, and get a glimpse of what might have been going through their heads at the time.

Out of all the characters, I liked Mercy the most. I felt bad for her that she was a servant. It wasn’t her fault that she had that position in life. I thought she was for the most part a nice person. I think out of all the girls who were accusers, she was one of the ones who felt the worst about what she had done.

Looking back on the book now, it’s pretty amazing that a town could be torn apart, and many lives lost because of the words of female teens. I think that they were one of the least heard and respected groups during that time, but during the Salem Witch Trials they were some of the most respected (maybe more feared) groups. What a role reversal!

Probably my favorite part of the novel was the end of the  book, where the author discussed the real people that the characters were based on, both the accusers and the accused. I felt like I knew a lot of the characters, and it was really interesting to hear what happened to them.

Disclosure: I borrowed this book from the library.

Image: Goodreads

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2 thoughts on “Wicked Girls: A Novel of the Salem Witch Trials by Shephanie Hemphill

  1. Pingback: The Month in Review: September 2010 « Geeky Reads Blog

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