“Conversion” by Katherine Howe
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Mystery, Contemporary Fiction, Historical Fiction
Summary from Goodreads:
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?
-I didn’t feel the urgency of the story. I could understand Colleen and her friends’ stress but I didn’t feel their stress. Likewise, I could feel Ann and the other girls getting in over their heads but didn’t feel the necessity to lie.
-The characters were pretty bland and boring. I really wasn’t sympathetic to them. I didn’t particularity like any of them.
-I’m a fan of odd medical stuff so I enjoyed seeing the Mystery Illness play out.
-The ending of Colleen’s story was really bizarre. It didn’t ruin the story for me but it certainly annoyed me.
The bottom line? Enjoyable enough.