Read Conversion by Katherine Howe Online

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From the New York Times bestselling author of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane comes a chilling mystery—Prep meets The Crucible.   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 thFrom the New York Times bestselling author of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane comes a chilling mystery—Prep meets The Crucible.   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 Times bestselling 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?...

Title : Conversion
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780399167775
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 402 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Conversion Reviews

  • Katherine Howe
    2019-01-10 15:12

    I am utterly biased, but I'm proud of this book.

  • Ben Alderson
    2019-01-13 14:16

    no no no no no!

  • Rayne
    2019-01-19 12:53

    We're not even halfway through 2014, and I'm almost certain this has been my biggest 1-star year to date. True, most of it is due to the facts that, a) the more I read YA, the more my standards go up and my tolerance threshold for BS and stupidity lowers, and b) the more time I spent in GR, the less afraid I am of giving out 1 stars. I don't think it's entirely up to me, though. This year has come packed with an avalanche of pretty bad YA books. This year alone, I've read offensive books like They All Fall Down, infuriating ones like Dear Killer, thoroughly disappointing ones like Suspicion, appallingly bad ones like Of Monsters and Madness and Amity, and insufferably generic ones like One Past Midnight. And then there's Conversion. Where does Conversion stand? Well, Conversion achieved the impressive feat of falling into every single one of the aforementioned categories.This book is offensive, infuriating, thoroughly disappointing, appallingly bad and, yes, even insufferably generic because, instead of focusing on the, I don't know, maybe that super weird thing that's happening to the girls in the school that no one seems to be able to explain, we instead get to find out about the marvels of Colleen's eternal pursuit to intellectually demean everyone around her, especially her friends and love interest, as she goes about on her quest to take for herself what seems to be the only spot available at Harvard this year. And I understand where the author is coming from and that she tried to portray the stress of being a teenage girl in a highly competitive background, but it simply did not come through. Instead of driven and competitive, Colleen was insufferably immature, judgmental and petty, not competitive in an intellectual way but in the generic YA way of hating on other girls just cuz. I didn't think it was possible, but Colleen came out of nowhere and safely positioned herself in the group of the most unbelievably irritating, hateful, petty, hypocritical, judgmental, immature, childish, bratty, privileged, self-entitled and disgusting YA "heroines" I've ever had the displeasure of reading about. She almost took the crown right off of House of Night's Zoey for the worst YA "heroine" it has been my misfortune to become acquainted with. The book is just pages and pages of Colleen describing things in the irritating and endless monotone of a 10 y/o, giving you the entire life story of every single person that crosses the door, and then criticizing and demeaning every single one of them in her head as she saw them as competition. I like a smart girl. I love reading about smart girls in YA and I wish every single author in YA portrayed each and every single one of the main characters as smart girls, not because a hot guy comes along and tells them, but because they know it, because they've worked for it and because they are proud of it. But there's a clear line between pride and entitlement, ego-centrism, selfishness, pettiness, obnoxiousness and pretentiousness, and Colleen crossed that line, set it on fire and the danced on top of it. And the worst thing is that she really isn't even smart at all. She reminds you time after time of how brilliant and clever she is, and yet the most painfully obvious things and details fly just right over her head. Moreover, she thought she was entitled to intellectual superiority rather than actually working for it, as perfectly exemplified by this scene in which the goes into a quiz without having studied, acknowledging she's going to flunk, and then ranting at the teacher when she gets a failing grade. That's not how you show someone under stress because she wants to be the best; that's how you show how much of a spoiled, entitled brat a character is. If she hadn't already annoyed the hell out of me with her obnoxious, immature, childish and unsubtle way of telling the story, the way she saw the world from her privileged, pretentious and egocentrically superior standpoint would've done the trick because I honestly didn't care about anything in this book, never managed to put any effort into feeling anything for any other aspect because my hate was so fiercely concentrated in this awful main character. And it's not so much that I wasn't able to like her. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I don't need to like a main character in order to be invested in her story, but what I do need from a main character is to be interesting and interesting Colleen was not - she wasn't even a decently written character with dimensions and personality. Even stuck in the middle of a strange series of events that no one can make head or tails about, Colleen is the most appallingly boring person in the entire planet. This girl could make the end of the world sound as mind-numbingly boring as staring at a piece of cheese until it rots. There is no suspense in this novel, no atmosphere, and it was definitely not a thrilling, deep and psychological study in the events that take place in the novel and those in the Salem Witch Trials. By far, the most interesting thing in this novel was the dual POV that takes place during the actual witch trials, but even that was overdone, dragged for far too long and tediously boring. Each and every single character in this story is painfully generic, extremely shallow and awkwardly stereotyped. Worst of all, not a single one of them was interesting in the slightest. Everything in this novel was mind-numbingly boring, and it's not because of the slightly literary style of the novel, but because the narration focused on everything besides the truly interesting event, which was the mysterious condition of these girls, and when it did concentrate on it, it was boring, repetitive and rather pointless. There wasn't a single aspect of this book that I enjoyed. Even if I had managed to look beyond the unbelievably boring pace and the bad writing, the sheer ridiculousness of the characters and the narration's unwillingness to focus on the truly important matters would've still made this reading experience a terrible one. It's almost like the whole thing was dumbed and watered down because it's supposed to be YA. Whatever shred of interest I may have had in the mystery of this book was brutally stripped away by the tediousness of the pace, the boring development of the story, the insufferable main character and the lack of dimension to the characters and the plot.

  • Sarah
    2019-01-02 09:58

    “How on earth could they think feeding a urine cake to a dog would be a solution?”This was a YA mystery story, about a group of girls at a private school who fall ill with a mystery illness.Colleen was an okay character, and I appreciated how hard she worked to be valedictorian, and how much effort she put into her school work, even if it meant she was a little slow on the uptake when it came to her friends.The storyline in this was about a group of girls at Colleen’s private school, who all fell ill with strange symptoms, and nobody could work out why. We also got some chapters which were set during the Salem witch trials, and had Colleen trying to puzzle out the connection between what happened then and what was happening at her school currently. These Salem chapters were a bit weird though, and it took a long time for the correlation between the past and present really came to light.The ending to this was okay, but there was still a bit of a question over exactly what had happened.6 out of 10

  • Laura
    2019-01-07 10:07

    This is more of a 3.5 star read. I really enjoyed jumping between times but I thought that the 2 stories would eventually come together. However, in the end, they read like two separate stories. The build up was very intense but the final conclusion was very lacking. The author tries to explain the correlation between the two narratives but I still didn't see the likeness. This had so much potential for a 5 star but the ending was just bad. I still love this author but this book missed the mark for me.

  • Allie Larkin
    2019-01-14 08:59

    Witchcraft, conversion disorder? What's really happening to the girls of St. Joan's? Katherine Howe's latest book is smart, suspenseful, and brilliantly executed. You won't be able to put it down.

  • Josh
    2018-12-23 09:08

    My apologies that this is going to sound overly critical, and I am appreciative for the chance to have a copy sent to me in exchange for an honest review via the Goodreads first reads giveaway. In the spirit of honesty, I must say this book didn't develop into the somewhat spooky, mysterious, and twisted tale I had hoped it would become. I kinda knew 20 pages in where it was headed, but I kept hoping the story would ramp, evolve, and mix the historical tale together with the present day teenybopper coming of age almost Valley Girl flavor narrative. For this reader, the strokes never blended. In her notes section, the author described the genesis of the book but remarked that in her initial fleshing out process it didn't strike others as deeply as it resonated in her own head. "To my surprise, my students didn't see a parallel." Put me in that camp as well. Later she hits on what I would guess the real root of the point to this book by stating, "it bears considering why adolescent girls living at the dawn of the twenty-first century, with all of its technological, medical, and social advances, would still be under so much stress that their bodies, quite literally, cannot take it." Interesting enough in terms of a concept (and I certainly agree) but not one I want to muse over for 400 pages. For a more entertaining look at that topic, I'll listen to Jack White sing about his take for 2:51 in "Freedom at 21". Not at all the same approach, but more entertaining for me. In fairness, the audience she writes about might find more parallels than I did; just don't go into it looking for deep writing and complex themes. Sorry, wish I could be a little warmer, but it just didn't hit the mark for me.

  • Brittany
    2018-12-24 14:08

    I have been looking forward to this one since I first started stalking the author’s Pinterest board last year. I was so excited to see Conversion up for grabs on Netgalley, and it did not disappoint. I couldn’t put it down! Conversion is smart, yet accessible enough to appeal to young adults. It alternates between the Salem witch trials and the real-life mystery illness of early 2012 that caused a handful of girls to develop PANDAS-like symptoms. You will race through this one as you read to find out what happens to Colleen and her friends. I plan to recommend Conversion to our American Lit. teachers as a companion novel for the Crucible. I think it will also make a fantastic book club selection, as the slightly ambiguous ending should provide lots of fodder for discussion.Aspiring valedictorian Colleen Rowley is dealing with the stress of her last semester of high school at the exclusive St. Joan’s Academy when several of her classmates develop a mysterious illness. What is causing the girls’ tics, headaches, alopecia, and a host of other bizarre symptoms? A range of theories involving vaccines, strep, and environmental pollution are proposed. Some of these answers seem to fit, but why is Colleen’s friend Anjali vomiting pins? Why has the girls’ AP history teacher Mr. Mitchell been replaced with an underemployed academic as his long-term substitute? Colleen tries to uncover answers as she simultaneously works on an extra-credit project about the infamous Salem Witch trials, which happened right where she lives in re-named Danvers, Massachusetts. Could the two events possibly be related?Katherine Howe expertly weaves together two parallel stories with stunning results. Readers of her first novel will love Conversion, including the shout out to Deliverance Dane’s main character Connie Goodwin. Highly recommended for fans of historical fiction as well as YA contemporaries.

  • Audrey
    2019-01-05 15:53

    I love the history of the Salem Witch Trials. A native Southern Californian, when I had an internship in New England, the only weekend trip I took was to Salem. I’ve been there multiple times since I moved to Massachusetts, and find the history fascinating. When I saw that Katherine Howe was writing a new young adult novel that had some basis in the Salem hysteria, I knew it was a must read. Sadly, it didn’t live up to my expectations.Howe tries something interesting in Conversion. She links the current phenomena of mystery illness among high school students to the hysteria in Salem in the 1690s. The current school in Danvers, MA is a hotbed of stresses: girls worrying about grades, competing with each other for class rank, hoping to get into their ideal colleges, and, of course, boys. Then, the coolest girl in school starts to twitch uncontrollably in class.This book had so much promise. It just didn’t work for me for the reason that some other young adult books by adult novelists don’t work. Howe doesn’t write in a convincing teen voice. Her first-person narrator comes across as inauthentic and stilted. On top of that, it takes her much too long to draw certain connections that are obvious to readers from the outset. There was much face-palming while I read this book.While young adult fiction must seem like a goldmine, not all authors should attempt it. It isn’t as easy as it seems to write a good young adult novel, and Howe just doesn’t pull it off. It’s too bad. Conversion is a good idea, poorly executed.

  • Emma McGrory (Verity Reviews)
    2018-12-23 08:14

    I read Conversion with three black cats on my lap, feeling very witchy (even though cats don't really have anything to do with witches traditionally), reluctant to put it down for more than five minutes at a time. I was completely and totally absorbed in Howe's book. What first piqued my interest was the Mystery Illness, and Howe delivered all the tension, unease, and fear you'd expect to find in a book about an epidemic. But Howe also incorporated Ann Putnam's account of the events at Salem in 1692, with the same elements. Colleen's place in the middle of an epidemic and Ann Putnam's place of power in the Salem Witch Trials paralleled each other in a lot of ways, so that even when they weren't directly related to each other, they were connected. There was a great deal of subtlety in Conversion, from the implied causes of the outbreak and the way the girls' relationships progressed to the way Howe incorporated a piece of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane. (I grinned like an idiot when Connie showed up. No shame).Even though the Salem Witch Trials happened over 300 years ago and a mystery illness like the one that befalls St. Joan's seems too strange to be true, Howe writes them realistically. I can't begin to imagine the hours of research it must have taken to get Ann's story down, or to follow the progression of the Le Roy Mystery Illness of 2012 (which Colleen's story is based off of). My hat is off to Howe for that. She even managed to create a fairly accurate portrait of high school, which is damn near impossible. To be fair, not every little detail was spot-on realistic - Howe definitely added some flair to Colleen's story to make it even creepier - but even the more outlandish bits felt plausible.The atmosphere of Conversion practically earns a star all on its own. I got shivers up my spine reading it. Colleen's story freaked me out because an unknown "illness" was infecting a bunch of people with no known cause and that's just a bit scary. Ann's story was creepy more because there wasn't any illness, just a whole load of lies that led to hysteria and paranoia and 20 deaths. A lot of stories about the Salem Witch Trials are told from the point of view of an outsider or an accused woman; it was interesting and a little freaky to hear Ann Putnam's version of events. I was hoping Conversion would be a little eerie, and it was.I loved the diversity of the characters in Conversion, from their personalities to their backgrounds. Both the modern and historical casts were developed (some more than others, of course) and helped to drive the story. A few times their interactions became a bit cheesy, but to be honest high school is pretty cheesy, and I'm no holding it against anyone. Definitely, definitely read Conversion if you like creepy-but-not-scary books or have any interest in either the Salem Witch Trials or the Le Roy Mystery Illness. It would also make a great book club read; there's plenty of things to discuss. Conversion was a very well put-together book, and it's made me a fan of Katherine Howe's. I want to see what else she can do.

  • Melodie
    2019-01-04 15:12

    I am not usually a fan of young adult fiction, probably because I'm no longer a young adult. But a good story is a good story. And this is a good story. It is a comparison of young girls in the same location in two time periods, 1706 and 2012. In 1706,the circumstances that led to the Salem witch trials are the focus. In 2012, a tony private girl's school, and a Mystery Illness afflicting a growing number of the student body. Is it hysteria born from a spiteful bunch of girls or something more other worldly? Is it really just drama or is it something more sinister?I read this more as a sort of fictional case study.I enjoyed the characters and the comparisons drawn between the past and the present. The ground zero characters in each time period were very different in life circumstances but twins in their ability to garner attention and create mayhem. And I was amused at how easily the adults in both time periods were seduced into believing and acting on what was truly unbelievable. Sadly though there are very real consequences to all these behaviors and innocent people in both time periods lose their jobs,reputations and in the 1700's their lives. Depending on where the reader falls in the belief spectrum of witchcraft the book ends on an ambiguous note. Was it all fake, a psychological phenomenon, witchcraft or a combination of it all? The author lets the reader decide.

  • Q2
    2019-01-11 08:58

    So I see some pretty harsh reviews below, but I loved this book. How tells the story of a group of girls at a Catholic school who, one by one, fall ill with a mystery malady. This book is told from the point of view of one student as she navigates an intensely competitive Senior year, friendship drama, etc. etc. The confounding story of the girls at St. Joans is written right alongside a dramatization of what happened during the Salem Witchcraft trials. I thought most of the girls portrayed in this book were pretty accurately self-absorbed (even the girls from the 1700s!); one review mentioned how one-dimensional the characters were but I'm sorry to say that I kind of think most high-schoolers ARE one-dimensional and even stereotypical, lol. What did I like? I loved how the narrative of 2012 and of the 1700s are told side-by-side. I loved how the author-Howe-keeps coming back to her witchcrafty roots (she's a descendant of women accused of witchcraft). I love the ambiguity of whether or not there was real witchcraft involved, a psychosomatic disorder, or just fakery. What I didn't like? That there aren't more answers...but, how can there be?

  • Cillian
    2018-12-27 14:15

    This book was a piece of shit.Godzilla smash, angry review to come...

  • Lauren Stoolfire
    2019-01-16 16:19

    All the girls at St. Joan's Academy in Danvers, Massachusetts are under a lot of stress senior year. They are all expected to hold it together until they can't any more. A mystery illness begins to spread around the class - Clara, the queen bee, develops uncontrollable tics in the middle of the day and then it seems to spread to her closest friends. Her friends develop completely different symptoms from coughing fits to hair loss. Rumors begin to spread and blossom into full blown panic. As the media descends, everyone's looking for someone to blame. Is it pollution, stress, or are they faking? Colleen, who has been reading The Crucible, realizes there was a similar outbreak in their town three hundred years ago when the town was called Salem Village.The most interesting part of Conversion by Katherine Howe is that the story is based on true events. Howe does a good job of connecting both past and present in the novel. I also remember seeing the news coverage of the girls in Le Roy, NY back in 2012. Unfortunately, I had a difficult time connecting to Colleen and the other girls at St. Joan's. I think my main issue with Colleen is that she's fake, shallow, and pretentious. In conjunction, I also felt disconnected from everything else that was going on in the story. I think I would have preferred the novel to focus on either the past or the present rather than incorporating both, especially with the way it ended since it didn't seem to fit.

  • Elise (TheBookishActress)
    2019-01-11 11:56

    2 stars. Conversion is the story of a group of girls who fall ill at a Salem private school. There's a touch of witchcraft, a touch of girls who spit up metal, and a touch of... plot points so nonsensical that I'm not entirely sure I didn't hallucinate them. Unfortunately, when I say a “touch” of those things, I mean that the rest of the book is a generic story about a girl who's stressed in school. Seriously. There's not much dimension to anything besides the plot here. The character development didn't make sense. The protagonist is petty, rude, and unlikable. There was also a romantic student-teacher relationship, which didn't work for me. Everything's a vehicle for the plot, which would be fine, but the plot doesn't work. Let's talk about nonsensical plotting. I know my opinion on the ambiguous plotting here would generally be considered a case of “it's not me, it's you”. But Conversion ends up boring, tonally dissonant, and lacking in atmosphere. The intention is there; there's a clear attempt at a creepy, small-town private school. Yet it somehow just ends up flat and boring. This book also flurries back and forth between being a high school story and a creepy story, with no across-the-board-tone. It ends up reading like a bad high school story with witches shoved in. In general, this just totally failed. Definitely not recommended.

  • Jane
    2019-01-16 10:04

    DNF at page 36. I know. A record. Good job Howe! You must have put some fucked up shit for me to do that and come on here thirty minutes after stomping on it to make sure it's dead and writing a lengthy review on it!DISCLAIMER: I try to limit the amount of dnf reviews because they are usually unfair to the author but mother of god, this crap was so bad and so many rules were broken that I couldn't resist. When I first found this book, I was like: 'Huh. That looks interesting and intellectual.' So I took it out. Without even reading the blurb.Kids, listen to the age old saying: Never. Judge. A. Book. By. Its. Cover.From the very first page, God was telling me something. He was telling me to throw this cursed book into the fire, THE DAMAGE FEE BE DAMNED.(The book was going the other way to the cover.)But I didn't. Because at the time, I thought that little hiccup was endearing...a smart marketing technique(Hint hint: the librarian was just high as fuck when she was taping the cover to the inside of the book). I was about 32 pages in when I was already brain dead. Much like our very likeable main character, Colleen.Sarcasm, my darlings. Sarcasm.This girl... I wanted her to suffer a long and painful death. With a spoon. A very rusty spoon. Reasons being:A)She is apparently a senior. She does not sound like a senior. Heck, she doesn't sound like a teenager, period. She sounds like an adult trying to sound like a teenager.Case(s) in point: - “Come on Jennifer[...] Can you try not to be a total bitch for, like, five minutes?” Think this is bad? The back story behind it is worse...B) She goes these rants about people. I sometimes appreciate rants when they are incorporated into the story fluidly, but these were mind numbing, clunky rambles.Case in point: “Deena's the first one who's important to know about. She came to St. Joan's in sixth grade, and when she got here, she was the tallest one in the class, even taller than me, this string bean girl from Charleston[..]”And on...“Emma. Nominally, Emma is my best friend. I don't even remember when I first met her, but we were tiny. Before preschool. She's from Danvers, her parents are from Danvers, her grandparents were all from Danvers, her whole family lives in Danvers. Her brother, Mark, went to Endicott in Beverly because he didn't want to be too far from Danvers.”…*cringes*And don't even get me started on that little spaz on Clara Rutherford. Haha, what am I saying? I meant, “don't even get me started on that spaz that lasted 2 EFFING PAGES.” Colleen was so lime green jello that it killed her to see anyone that looked better in a hockey skirt than she did! But she can't hate Clara! And even if she did, it would only be because she was nicer than Colleen! My god, I totes understand your sitch, Cole Cole! How dare this bitch have gorgeous knees? How dare this girl be nice to anyone?I don't think this would have been such an issue if one of my stories from back in 3rd grade of my friends didn't read word for word with Conversion's first few 40 pages. One of three things could have occurred: 1: I was a child prodigy. 2: Katherine Howe's final draft somehow got mixed up with mine and after a bunch of implausible events, some minor editing and thesaurus usage on the editor's behalf, was published. 3: Katherine Howe is a terrible writer.Situation one isn't possible because an excerpt of my old story was literally: 'I am the smart one of the group(....Sigh....), I get the best marks in the class because I'm smart. I want to get into Harvard someday. Lucy is the sportiest of the group. She's so fast and runs very well in the cross country. She always wears these white runners and she is really funny. Jamie( This one was an unpleasant, frodo looking ass and to this day I'm not sure of why I put up with this bitch) is a very good singer. Once I heard her singing under this tree and she sounded like Britney Spears.And under it is a delightful drawing of me reading books under a tree and Lucy with a soccer ball and Jamie singing under another tree with all of us sporting those lips that look like a backward three attached to a 'D'. So let's just go with situation 2 right now because being only like, an sixteenth way through the story and calling her a bad writer seems a bit harsh. Even though she is.C) This girl is an air-headed valley girl speaking idiot that's so incredibly smart she only has one measly girl standing in her way of being Valedictorian! It really annoys me when authors slap an 'AP US HISTORY' class on the main character's schedule and bam. Alberta Einstein. It's like Katherine Howe wrote Nelson Mandela's name on Kanye West's forehead and yelled ' LOOK! MANDELA!' and expected us all to nod and agree that Kanye West is indeed, Nelson Mandela. For what it's worth, Nelson Mandela is dead. So Katherine Howe must think we re really stoopid. Back to the novel. If we're still flying with Generic Airways, Colleen would be would be a dumb bitch/ mean girl hybrid, aka the 'baddies'. (Think Jessica and Lauren from Twilight, Marcie Miller from Fallen, Peter from Divergent). The names I had just mentioned are usually the antagonists and how are they usually portrayed in YA novels? Dumb and mean standing next to our angelic heroine. Duh. They're so heavily stereotyped, it's hard not to unlike them. It's like a knee jerk reaction.Since our main character is basically the 'baddie', it's not surprising that I hated from the first “DER HER DER! I'M IN 9 AP CLASSES! DER HER BLERP BERGGGG” If you're gonna be all: You don't know what it's like! Being smart isn't hard! Some people are born with it!!! I'm going to tell you: Bitch, this isn't a commercial for Maybelline. No one is just 'born' with it. Yes, some people have a knack for things right off the bat, but they need to cultivate that talent or else they'll just become mediocre, above average at best.Horribly stereotypes characters, AAAAAGHHHH my eyes! Why did I forget that they are still not immune to such fuckery! Case in point: There's the quiet,best-friend that's been by your side since you could toddle. The intellectual one that cries at the mere sight of anything that isn't an A! The out-spoken one that's sassy levels are through the roof . The popular girl that trend sets low, ribboned hair ties and is just too perfect. And how could we forget, the popular girl's minions/clones, because, to hell with originality when this piece of crap is already so stereotypical, so why bother, right? And the cherry on top, that creepy, pink haired, heavily eyelined weirdo. ( Weird too... what private school doesn't allow the hemline to be above 6 inches but doesn't bat an eyelash at pink hair? Huh? My teacher flipped shit when my hair tie wasn't in the school color.)This may be one of my longest DNF rants, and this is only from 36 pages. Imagine the rage and anger if I read the whole book.I just might.

  • Amy Sturgis
    2018-12-28 11:14

    In Conversion, Katherine Howe alternates between a current-day health panic in a female private school and the 17th-century witch hunts that took place on the same ground - today's Danvers, history's Salem Village, Massachusetts. Howe captures the runaway train that is hysteria and peer pressure quite well as she describes young women who are under severe stress while, at the same time, they're enjoying a sense of power and visibility previously unavailable to them.What I most appreciated about this novel was how the author drew parallels between the mob-mentality hysteria of the past (witches!) and similar movements today that rely more on kneejerk emotional responses and pseudoscience rather than reason and serious inquiry (scares about inoculations, toxic waste, etc., without proper research or evidence).In short, I liked that Conversion points out how we can be swept up in conspiracy theories and scapegoating. It's easy to look judgmentally on the tragic mistakes of the past, but Howe points out that we're not above similarly bad behavior today.

  • Colleen Houck
    2019-01-21 15:59

    It's so strange to label this book as both historical and contemporary. I loved the back and forth and was absolutely captivated by the glimpses of the past. I'd always liked the yellow bird on the cover but now that I've finished the book it creeps me out a little. When you read it you'll understand why. What an interesting concept. Still have a shiver down my back.

  • Troy Lindeman-Wyner
    2018-12-28 15:07

    That's 2 days of my life that I won't get back.

  • Jeninne
    2019-01-08 12:08

    I often joke around that once in a while I come across a book so terrible that I want my money back. Most of the time, I don’t mean it. I’m generally of the belief that buying a book is like going to a restaurant you’ve never been to before. It could turn out to be so wonderful it has you coming back for more without hesitation, or it could just be the luck of the draw that it’s so bad you lose your money and your time. Of course on special, rare occasions, when books are like restaurants, you end up with food poisoning and you want your fucking money back.I want my money back with this book. Because this book. This book with its main character. This book.Let me tell you about Colleen. Colleen is a narcissist. She thinks she’s amazing. I mean, not to brag or anything, but she’s been in AP classes forever, and you should recognize that those are very hard to get into. In fact, some classes like AP history, limit its spots, so only the best of the best get in. Colleen is like one of those poor girls who gets bumped out a spot. Oh, and she’s going to be valedictorian, not because she works the hardest, but because she deserves it. Because people just deserve things, and she is so much better than that other girl. She’s been working way longer for it that that girl. But Colleen is also so gracious she’ll pretend to be nice to said other girl, because did I mention, Colleen is a fake bitch?Yes, that’s right, Colleen is faker than boobies in Beverly Hills. She has all these friends (she’s totes popular, but not TOO popular, because no one likes those girls) that she’s nice to, but talks mad shit about behind their backs. And she has a comment or observation for all of them, because some of them just aren’t that special, if you know what she means, and others of them try too hard, and yet still, some are funny, but clearly that’s to compensate for other things. Yes, Colleen’s shit talking is endless in this book, and not limited to her friends. She makes throwaway comments about how she often forgets her sibling because she’s so quiet, and teachers are nerds, but that’s okay because I guess nerds are chic right now.Let me put it like this, Colleen is the most pretentious, self serving, shit talking, hypocritical, judgmental, righteous bitch I have come across in a very long time. This girl thinks the sun shines out of her ass. And I want to punch her in the face.Other than that, the plot is boring and the characters are generic. I want my money back. This book gave me food poisoning and I want my fucking money back. I can’t even believe I actually made it through this thing.

  • Emily
    2018-12-27 13:21

    3.5 starsThis was a page-turner, and the modern story seemed so familiar, I had to peek at the author's notes at the end to see if it was based on something that really happened. It was. Obviously the historical segments in Salem were based on actual events. The true story that this (the chapters set in 2012) is based on is fascinating and weird, and I enjoyed reading Howe's fictionalized version. There was a little too much going on, though (view spoiler)[ (a friend who has Pica and another who's had an affair with a teacher, on top of the mystery illness plot, made things kind of crowded in there.) I guess I can see why the Emma/Tad plot needed to be in there to support one of the possible interpretations of the ending.(hide spoiler)]. The Ann Putnam chapters got tedious after a while too, and it wasn't fun to read from her point of view. The present tense narration when she was telling Reverend Green her story from years before didn't make sense to me. Using the present tense when the setting is in the past drives me crazy anyway. It was a good choice for teen book club. With the factual basis, the subject matter, and an ending open to interpretation, we'll have plenty to talk about.

  • Jessica McReaderpants
    2018-12-29 10:52

    I think I am too bitchy now to review books- all of my books read this month have gotten two stars- there should be a footnote ability *this book was read and reviewed while in the throes of hormonal hell- Saying that I just felt this book was a retelling of the same tired old salem witch trials- hysterical girls- blah blah blah- the only twist is that it is happening again at a posh girls school and this time you think it is hysterical girl-itis or is it? Perhaps Emma is a witch. I dunno- I just didn't grab me- It was predictable and yawn. Maybe it really was the devil in the shape of a yellow bird. Just. not. really. This book did not meet the standard for being included into my personal library. It will be going to my local libraries book swap- perhaps there it will go to someone who will appreciate its literariness.

  • Amanda
    2019-01-15 15:17

    that was a mess.

  • Josephine (Jo)
    2019-01-17 07:59

    If this book had been a little shorter or had come to a more intriguing conclusion I would have been more inclined to give it a higher rating. I started it thinking that the two different stories one set in the present day and one set in 1706 would merge at the end with a chilling conclusion. I can see the connection and what was probably the same ailment had extremely more severe consequences in the 1700's than in the present day.The main group of girls in the present time are typical of any group of teenage girls, Colleen being the 'swat' Deena the 'clown' Clara the 'snob', Emma was quite odd. In the blurb on the jacket we are told that it is 'terrifying' but that only applies to the small chapters on the actual Salem witch trials which we all know were so dreadful. There is a nice little romance, and the girls are constantly vying for attention and top position but to be honest without the historical sections it was just a coming of age story in which the rather privileged group of girls take things too far and have to cope with the media storm that they set in motion.An ok read but not really worth 402 pages in my opinion.

  • Andrea
    2018-12-22 15:16

    Half the Time I Liked Her and the Other Half I Wanted to Strangle HerConversionRating: 2/5Summary: Colleen is a senior at Saint Joan’s private school. She is one tenth of a point from being valedictorian and her dream is to go to Harvard. But while Colleen tries to balance school, her friends and a new crush the girls at her school begin to fall ill from a mysterious illness. An illness that seems to resemble the same illness the afflicted the girls Arthur Miller wrote about in The Crucible.There are a couple of things going on in Conversion. We get Colleen’s struggle to get into college. And this girl is majorly stressed. We also see Anne Putnam Jr’s testimony from Salem Village of 1706. Their chapters are interwoven in an interesting way so that their stories begin to parallel each other later on in the book. In addition, there is something going on with Colleen’s classmates and her best friend, Emma. Her classmates are falling ill. Clara begins to develop verbal ticks; the other Jennifer’s hair falls out. Emma is distant and their A.P. US history teacher has disappeared. Emma was quite a suspicious character for me though I wanted to like her because of Emma Carstairs from Lady Midnight. But don’t do that because they are not at all alike. The other thing that bugged me is that Colleen kept saying that Emma was her best friend yet she never really talked to Emma and she even admits to liking Deena better. Your best friend isn’t just the person you’ve know the longest, that’s so BS. Also it’s not some nominal title, you don’t just give it away like a label. Ugh.Colleen annoyed me because she freaked out over every small detail about college and her homework. She was literally killing herself with stress and school trying to succeed. She freaked out over a pop quiz and after getting an extra credit opportunity, she didn’t finish it! Ugh this girl! She just annoyed me a lot, though sometimes I liked her. I liked the romance with Spence. It was cute but wasn’t the main point of the story at all. Overall I liked this, but it was quite slow and long. The ending was confusing and I didn’t really like the answer they gave me for the illness. It could’ve been better and I think there should’ve been more clues and figuring out of the mystery throughout the book rather than at the last 30%.

  • Jo
    2019-01-13 10:20

    3.5 starsI've often wondered what the people of earlier times did for fun. Obviously these girls depicted here were having a lot of fun. There have been many theories posted about why the girl accused fellow Puritans. This was an entertaining read about those girls and some modern day compatriots. We never quite know what is going on with the modern day girls. Are they faking or is it caused by some evil? I thought Howe did a great job of keeping the tension as she alternated between Annie's story and Colleen's story. I'm not sure that I got the answers I needed after reading their stories though. I'm not partial to tales that make you decide for yourself how the book was meant. I don't have enough imagination. I am willing to go on a journey with the author, but I definitely want them to tell me how they see the story ending. I did like that the love story took a back seat to the more immediate troubles. Spence was a good guy, and I really appreciated that. He was supportive of Colleen, didn't treat her or others around him like dirt, and had a pleasant demeanor. No brooding bad boy means a happy me! Colleen shows just how the pressure we put on our kids academically has gotten out of control. Colleen did put the pressure on herself, but she did it because she thought is what her parents wanted. Think of all the life that passed her by when she was furiously chasing the valedictorian dream. Although as a mother of a teen, I kinda want her to be into something passionately if it will mean no drugs or boys. Colleen was a great role model, and I appreciated that she kept her head when it came to Spence. So many girls in YA books lose their head if a boy shows interest. I really liked Colleen. Which brings me to the part that I didn't like... SPOILER AHEADThe teacher/student romance. Emma is consumed with a teacher who should know better. I don't care if she is almost 18, there is a dynamic of power that is imbalanced. I did not like that part of the book. I was really drawn in by the writing and the great main character. Howe really has a gift for painting St. Joan's and the pressures that come with a quality education.

  • Dayla
    2018-12-22 08:21

    This was nothing like what I was expecting. I went into this one without having read the synopsis, because I've learned that this is the best way to enter a book. I did have some vague recollection, however, of what the story might be about because of what I'd seen on YouTube. What I saw on the web was about how this would be a slightly creepy read with a touch of the paranormal. What I DIDN'T know was that this would also be one of those stories where the narrative is split into two different voices, one from the past and the other from 2012. Did I enjoy this story? To be honest, it was a bit bland for me. I enjoyed it in the sense that it was an intriguing topic and slightly different in its approach to a genre that the young adult age group has basically wrung dry. The storyline, however, felt like something that was being dragged out. There were times where I found it so hard to get back into the story, simply because it just didn't quite grip me. Some of the major issues that I had with this one were the editing (it seems that the editor was afraid of commas), the protagonist and her friends--there's a particular part where the protagonist, Colleen, gets told off by a friend for how she treats another friend, which is such a load of bull crap once the road knows what really happened--, the interludes (I know, it IS interesting to see what happened back during the Salem Witch trials, but honestly, it was frustrating having to go back and forth), and the last few chapters, which were just brutal to get through. I DID enjoy the mild romance that plays out in the novel and how it doesn't overtake the storyline. I also enjoyed how the mystery just keeps you guessing all the way through. For all of my complaining and nitpicking, I will say that Katherine Howe knows how to create a good mystery. Will I read something like this again? I don't really know. I think it's just a case of reading the wrong book at the wrong time. I recommend this one to anyone who likes a good mystery that has a solution you might not see coming. If you enjoy the Salem With trials, then you might like this unique take on history. Happy reading!

  • Melissa
    2019-01-10 11:09

    For a mystery, I find this pretty boring and uneventful. There are very little advances in the "mystery" plot, and a lot of drag. The Salem story line is so darn boring I often find myself saying "Blah, blah,blah" just to help pass the time. I feel like this book could have been something exciting, but it really fell flat. I've always enjoyed reading about the Salem Witch Trials, so I thought this book would have been a sure fire hit. Not so.I'm only halfway through, but it is going to drive me bonkers if something interesting doesn't happen to speed this read up a bit. Even the spooky bit about Angelie coughing up fish bones barely held my attention. Not sure if I am going to make it to the end. I'll just look for a spoiler so I can move on to something with a bit more umph.So I finished this book. All I have to say is "Uh," she demurred.

  • Trisha
    2019-01-05 09:10

    I knew pretty early on that this book and I were not going to get along. Luckily, I did this as an audio book so I could roll along with the story while trying to ignore all the glaring ridiculous ones. I think this book is a GREAT example of how a YA book can be okay for kids of that age and not translate well for an adult.I couldn't buy off on how anyone handled the sickness. I love tales of the witch trails in Salem but even that couldn't save this one. It's just boring. and way too long.(view spoiler)[ and doesn't even answer all your questions in the end. (hide spoiler)]

  • Beth Knight
    2019-01-16 13:21

    Right now I'm feeling 2.5 stars but I need to think about it for a day or two.