by Katherine Howe


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Conversion 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Promise100 More than 1 year ago
I loved it! I am fascinated by the Salem Witch Trials and this book does such a great job incorporating the Trials into a modern day story which is also compelling. I'm not surprised since this is the third book by my favorite author and I have loved each of them. I highly recommend this book!
Jo_K68 More than 1 year ago
My biggest issues were location errors as I live in Salem. The cafe he girls go to called Front Street is actually in Salem and it is not walking distance from Danvers, and also in February  even if the Shanty was open (which it isn't) nobody would park on Essex and walak, you would park in the parking lot on Derby next to the Walgreens that is directly opposite Artists Row. Otherwise - this was a really good book. It was clever.
irishclaireKG More than 1 year ago
Go Back and Read 'Deliverance Dane.' I enjoy Howe's writing style; she's a good storyteller and knows how to build suspense. Her background in Colonial American history was amazingly at work in her first, wonderful, novel 'The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane' (one of my favorites of the last 5 years), and here she treads the same ground as 'Dane'--the Salem Witch Trials. As a college professor who routinely teaches early American literature, I have taught and studied the Trials at length, and maybe that's why half of this book fell flat for me. The story is told in parallels: from the perspective of 2012 high school senior Colleen and the 1706 view of Ann Putnam, one of the ringleaders of the Salem Trials and the only one who ever publicly admitted wrongdoing and regret. The story of Colleen's upper class private school and the mysterious affliction which sweeps through the female student body is taunt and fast moving: what is happening and why does it resemble the witchcraft hysteria of the Salem era? As it is based on an actual incident that happened in 2012, the mystery is intriguing. But, surprisingly, the whole novel ended up as a disappointment. The Salem portion dragged into being way too long and did not keep my attention--yet that may be because I knew the history and have studied Putnam's involvement; that might be the problem as there were no surprises. However, my biggest issue with the entire novel was the ending--the 21st century story is totally anti-climatic with annoying questions still not answered: very unsatisfying and a major fizzle. I kept thinking: 'That's it?' As for the Salem half's climax? Well, we know how that ended. If you are unfamiliar with the Trials or Arthur Miller's play 'The Crucible' (which plays a role here), then this is a good introduction to both, and YA readers who may not have that history or background--this could be a good history lesson on the Trials. Howe even uses portions of Putnam's own words at times. Yet I think I may be looking for another 'Dane' from this author as I didn't like her second novel 'House of Velvet and Glass' at all (one of the most annoying endings of all time). I think I just need to reread 'Dane' as 'Conversion' is such a let down--yet other readers may find it fascinating. If the subject intrigues you, it is worth a look. If you know the history, it may not be.
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
This book had a lot going for it. The cast of characters is diverse. The story is set in both present-day Danvers and the Salem village when the witch panic starts. The narrator is reading The Crucible. On top of that, I really enjoyed Howe's debut The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane and was incredibly excited to hear she was writing a YA novel. Sadly, this one wasn't for me. While it had all the right pieces, none of them came together quite right. Colleen and her friends never quite sounded like authentic teens. The plot never felt quite as urgent and compelling as it should. The writing did not come across as strong as it did in The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane. Furthermore, this book felt stilted as if you knew the author was new to writing teen voices. The story is still exciting and interesting but it was, sadly, not a good fit for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I needed more from the ending!!   
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was genuinely disappointed by Conversion, to be perfectly honest. While the stress of being a teenage girl was accurately depicted fo r once, the characters were shallow. There's people suffering from a mysterious illness that could very well come after any one of them,  and not one even cared about how this may be affecting the people, but how it was affecting them and how the other girls being out of the running would affect their grades. The premise of the book is very good, very, very good. But it did not follow the plot it had suggested in the description, simply focusing on the mundane lives of teen girls. And, the girls were not well represented as teenagers, culturally.  No one used slang, common even in catholic schools, and if they did use slang, it was aged, from the 80s or 90s, even early '00s.  Every teenager I know, that number being quite a few- I am a teenager myself, says 'like' in the improper way, not as a comparison, but as a filler word. The girls in this book hardly ever say it, and if they do, it's in the wrong spot in the sentence and forced. There is a  correct place to say 'like' in a sentence, not grammatically correct by any means, but correct in the way teens use it. It doesn't matter if  they're going to an Ivy League school or not, people will use modern terms in a modern age, unless they're pretending to be professional, like in a classroom setting, but every student I know still uses slang terms around their friends. This book misrepresented  teen culture and life, save for the stress of any school, while ignoring the fun drama provided (the misterious illness), and focusing  instead on the average drama- fight for valedictorian, do I like this boy?, if so-and-so gets sick and has to leave school will i be  valedictorian?, how can I raise my GPA? Things like that.  The whole book is tied up with hardly any explanation to the cause of the illness, especially with the tie to the Witch Trials, and is left  very open-ended, hinting at alternate causes for the illness. If this means that a sequel will be made, although unnecessarily ( the characters were wrapped up and done, the plot was not), I will not be reading it.  TL;DR: This book was obviously written by an older person, trying, and failing to put themselves in the shoes of a self-obsessed teenage girl with a few of her classmates getting sick and a ton of drama going on in the background for no real reason what so ever. 
WhatsBeyondForks More than 1 year ago
Conversion by Katherine Howe had a very interesting premise that quickly grabbed my attention. The Salem Witch trials has always interested me, and this story line flips back and forth between present day and the Salem Witch trials. Both story lines were based on true events. The Salem Witch trials obviously happened, and the present day events were based on a group of high school girls who got sick in 2012. I think the story was trying to link the two events together. Aside from both events dealing with a group of girls exhibiting odd symptoms, there really wasn't much similar about them. I didn't think so anyway. I thought there'd be some deep, dark thing revealed that would link the two, but I never got that "aah" moment where it all came together. That lack of a link was a disappointment. I wasn't sold on the ending either. There were a few things in the end that didn't belong or add up. So, it just left me wondering why? I think I may have gone into this book with a different set of expectations that I just couldn't get my head to give up enough to enjoy the actual story. It may be something you'd enjoy though. Give it a go!
lrhubble More than 1 year ago
Amazing!!! Contemporary Young Adult Suspense Danvers, Massachusetts At St. Joan’s Academy it is senior year and the school is a pressure cooker. Colleen Rowley and her friends are expected to keep it together though dealing with everything from the battle for valedictorian, college applications and deciphering boys’ texts. Until they are unable to do so. Clara Rutherford who is the school’s queen bee suddenly falls into uncontrollable tics in the middle class and while she is the first she most definitely isn’t the last. The mystery illness quickly spreads to others first through her closest clique of friends and then other students and symptoms follow: hair loss, seizures and violent coughing fits. St. Joan’s is suddenly buzzing with rumors and then the rumors blossoms into full-blown panic. Now the media is descending on Danvers, Massachusetts. Everyone is scrambling to find something or someone to blame. Is it stress? Pollution? The girls faking? While doing some extra credit reading of The Crucible, Colleen seems to be the only one to realize that Danvers was once Salem Village. Where another group of girls suffered from a similarly bizarre epidemic three centuries ago. This book takes the story of true events and turns it into an amazing story that is very hard to put down once the reader starts it. The reader will want to find out just what is happening in Danvers and they won’t be disappointed in the journey that the story takes them on. It is also a story that will stay with them long after the last page is read. This is a must read for anyone that enjoys suspense stories. It will keep the reader guessing until the very end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In my opinion, Conversion by Katherine Howe was an amazing book. She presents three parallel plots. These plots show the pressure that comes with being a teenage girl. These pressures cause a mystery illness at the main characters all girl private school. Colleen Rowley is going against one of her classmates to be valedictorian of their graduating class. She is interviewing for admission to Harvard. She is trying to start a relationship with a boy that one of her best friends tried to set her up with on a double date. She has a lot on her shoulders but she believes that she will be able to handle it without any problems. Girls in Colleen’s class begin to get sick. It starts out a just a few, and then the number begins growing and growing. None of their symptoms are alike and no one knows what the cause of the illness is. Ann Putnam is a girl who lives in the 1700’s. She is telling her story and confessing to her part in the Salem Witch Trials. What Ann says starts to matter to the adults around her and she sees that. She uses that to help her friends in their lie even though it is absolutely absurd. Doing this ultimately back fires on her. This story shows us what teenage girls do when they are under extreme pressure. The book has a very good pace to it until the ending. When the end of the book arrives, things seem to get rushed. The story seems as if Howe was tired of writing and just wanted the book to be over with. The ending definitely did not ruin the book. The authors note helped us understand a lot about the book. It helped show how teenage girls react to things in similar ways as they did back then.
Chancie More than 1 year ago
Poor grammar, uninteresting writing, and a flat plot that feels like it's been done many times before. I've been excited for this book for a while, but now that I have my hands on it, I'm very disappointed. Nothing worthwhile here.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The part that was written in 2012 was good and interesting, but when it was flipping back to Salem it was super boring. The whole salem part could have been left out. It took me forever to read this book because it didn't hold my attention. I did finish it and ending is a bit weak and makes you wonder why you even bother finishing it.
SarahEJohnson More than 1 year ago
Warning spoilers! To be perfectly honest, i was seriously disappointed in this book. I thought the writing style was okay, easy to read, much like the mind of a senior teenage girl. But i absolutely HATE the ending. It's very confusing. The health department claims they have a certain illness, while later the author contradicts that with what emma's mom says. It's really weird. I'm very disappointed that there wasn't more of a climax in the book. it escalated quickly, but then fell flat just as fast. 
Shawscribbles More than 1 year ago
Set in Danvers, Massachusetts, Conversion follows the story of a mystery illness that breaks out at a highly ranked private high school. Told from the viewpoint of the main character, Colleen Rowley, the story weaves a tale tainted by high school pressure, teen angst and witchcraft. I really enjoyed this book. It is inspired by real life events, which gives it an authentic feel. The author cuts from modern day Massachusetts to the Salem witch trials in the 17th century in a way that keeps the reader engaged. While I found the mystery of what was happening to the girls at St. Joan’s Academy (loved the fact that the school's patron saint was Joan of Arc), I have to admit that at times I found the book a bit slow. The mystery was intriguing enough that I kept coming back for more but at times the pacing of the book was just not fast enough for me. Character development was good in this read. I really liked Colleen and was eager to see what happened to her. She is a smart and strong character who is also, for the most part, likeable. Having said that some of the secondary characters were a bit underdeveloped and there were a lot of them. From the the girls who fell sick (most of whom were really interchangeable) to the other side characters, it was hard to keep track of everyone and to also stay engaged with them. Colleen seemed to have a wide circle of "friends" but so many that it was at times difficult to follow. But that is also part of what made her character so believable. She is a popular girl but with very few close friends. The flashbacks to the 17th century were convincing but here, again, there were far too many characters to keep track of and at times I found the flashbacks pulled me out of Colleen's story and slowed the book down. Overall, I would recommend reading this piece. It's not The Witch of Blackbird Pond (Elizabeth George Speare) but it is definitely an interesting tale about the pressures teenage girls face today and the mystery of witchcraft.
JJBreads More than 1 year ago
Katherine Howe won my heart with The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, but House of Velvet and Glass didn't resonate quite as much. With The Conversion, Howe is back to true form. This is an exquisite updating of the Salem witch outbreak that brings home just how "wicked" adolescence can be. When I finished, I wanted to give a copy to my granddaughter-- and to her parents! Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am not really sure how to describe this book. The writing itself was really good but the storyline was confusing. The author obviously sought to draw parallels between two unrelated incidents- the Salem witch trials and a probable conversion disorder at a girls' school. The book was a relatively enjoyable read but it was too long. It was also prettty much pointless. Unless you are interested in the Salem trials, I wouldn't recommend it at all. If you are, it is a hit and miss kind of thing. Not a fun read at all. Stephanie Clanahan
Silverclaw More than 1 year ago
Not worth your time. There are very few books that I have had to force myself to finish reading, and this was one of them. It's not even that it's bad... it just never reaches its full potential. It just wanders around aimlessly on petty problems. In a single word, this book was TEDIOUS.