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3.31  ·  Rating details ·  9,182 ratings  ·  1,559 reviews
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
Hardcover, 402 pages
Published July 1st 2014 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (first published June 4th 2014)
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Average rating 3.31  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,182 ratings  ·  1,559 reviews

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Katherine Howe
Jun 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
I am utterly biased, but I'm proud of this book. ...more
Ben Alderson
Apr 22, 2015 rated it did not like it
no no no no no!
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 Th ...more
Sarah Elizabeth
“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,
Ahmad Sharabiani
Conversion, Katherine Howe
Senior year at all-girl’s Catholic school St. Joan’s Academy has just begun, and Colleen Rowley and her friends are feeling the heat. Applications to Harvard, the battle for valedictorian, the high expectations of their parents, meeting boys in Cambridge . . . all of it has turned school into a pressure cooker.
Apr 08, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Allison Larkin
Dec 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 31, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: first-reads
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 teenybop ...more
“When a Girl's on a pedestal, there's nothing some people would like better than to shove her off it, just to know what kind of noise she'd make when she shattered.”
― Katherine Howe, Conversion

I read some reviews of people saying this was much like Megan Abbott's The Fever. I respectfully disagree.

The plots have much in common but certain things are quite different.

When I started "The Fever" I was hooked by the end of the first page. It was also a very eerie read. And despite the classification
Mar 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley, 2014-reads
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 fin ...more
Elle (ellexamines)
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 developmen
Feb 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Mar 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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 t ...more
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.' S
Em (Verity Reviews)
Jun 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Aug 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Lauren Stoolfire
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 ...more
Troy Lindeman-Wyner
Jun 14, 2014 rated it did not like it
That's 2 days of my life that I won't get back. ...more
Amy Sturgis
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
Jessica McReaderpants
May 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: adult-fiction
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 jus ...more
Colleen Houck
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. ...more
Audrey Graser
Apr 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016
Very similar to The Fever by Megan Abbott. I found that Conversion was heavy-handed, long and boring. Cool premise, but Howe didn't take it to the next level. ...more
Mike Cuthbert
Aug 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I have always been fascinated by the psychological underpinnings of the Salem witch trials of the 17th century. The irrationality of the New England of that time and the horrific damage done to lives and reputations based on nothing much more than the ravings of teenagers has vibrated in me through various incarnations, most directly the McCarthy trials in our 50s and more recently the political rantings and ravings, mostly on the Far Right in American politics. In both cases, rational thought a ...more
Oct 27, 2014 rated it did not like it
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 e ...more
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
Mar 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

This 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)
Jul 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
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.

Josephine (Jo)
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
Aug 16, 2016 rated it it was ok
Half the Time I Liked Her and the Other Half I Wanted to Strangle Her
Rating: 2/5

Summary: 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.

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YA Buddy Readers'...: Conversion by Katherine Howe - MMC GBR - Starting August 15th 2016 39 112 Aug 19, 2016 09:50PM  
Summer Reading: June 2016: Conversion 1 4 Apr 25, 2016 02:27PM  
Penguin Loves YA ...: October Book Club Selection: CONVERSION by Katherine Howe 2 61 Aug 26, 2015 02:36PM  
Was it ergot? Or something else? 1 20 Jun 18, 2015 06:19AM  
52 weeks, 52 books: Week 2015.24: Conversion 2 20 Jun 18, 2015 03:38AM  
Central College B...: Part 1 1 1 Jan 01, 2015 01:56PM  

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Katherine Howe is a New York Times bestselling and award-winning writer of historical fiction. Her best known books are The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, which debuted at #2 on the New York Times bestseller list in 2009 and was named one of USA Today's top tend books of the year, and Conversion, which received the 2015 Massachusetts Book Award in young adult literature. In 2014 she edited The ...more

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