What started out as girls' games became a witch hunt. Wicked Girls is a fictionalized account of the Salem witch trials told from the perspectives of three of the real young women living in Salem in 1692.
Ann Putnam Jr. plays the queen bee. When her father suggests that a spate of illnesses within the village is the result of witchcraft, Ann grasps her opportunity. She puts in motion a chain of events that will change the lives of the people around her forever.
Mercy Lewis, the beautiful servant in Ann's house, inspires adulation in some and envy in others. With a troubled past, she seizes her only chance at safety.
With new accusations mounting daily against the men and women of the community, the girls will have to decide: Is it too late to tell the truth?
When I first picked up this book and found it was in verse, I thought, Nah, no way I'll like this book. But it sat there, taunting me, until I finally sighed and grabbed it, planning to glance at it on my way to school. And, much to my surprise, it was good: the verse aspect gave an even more riveting and fresh view on The Salem Witch Trials. The author does an amazing job of weaving the story through with historical elements, which I love. I have trouble with history sometimes-- well, all the time, really-- because it's just not that interesting. And I often have the distorted illusion that people back then were totally different from us, just a face in a textbook, and I'll never be able to relate to them. But Stephanie Hemphill cleverly injects the plot line with honest-to-goodness intriguing facts, and you soak it up without even meaning to. Her characters are completely relateable. And the Salem Witch Trials are something to learn about, let me just say. Who knew it was a couple of girls who wanted attention and power that started it all? It really goes to show you what a tangled web humans can weave before they're caught in it.
In Wicked Girls, the character's voices are all very real and very believable. In those days, girls were pretty much powerless and swept aside unless they did something that merited attention. It was easy to understand the girl's motives for their appalling actions. Ann Putman, the youngest of the girls, is startlingly powerful and convincing despite her youth, spurned on by her desperate need for love from her indifferent parents. It's actually a little frightening to realize what this seemingly- innocent child was capable of. Her passion is only matched by her cousin Margaret's violent envy of any girl her unfaithful betrothed, Isaac, glanced twice at. You can actually see the mind- numbing jealously working it's way through her, clouding her vision and eating away at her common sense. So infuriated was she that she joined her cousin in the false accusations, battling for the attention of Isaac against the dazzling servant girl Mercy. Of all the girls, Mercy is the one I emphasize most with. An orphan, she spends most of her time fending off the advances of leery men and keeping out of the way of women who feel threatened by her looks. In the beginning, she only joins the two cousins to protect herself against unwanted attention by making people believe she is possessed, and therefore untouchable. But she, too, is infected by the promise of power, pointing fingers at those who'd done her wrong in the past, claiming them to practice the black arts. It's hard to imagine people could do such a thing, and that other people would believe it, and enjoy it even, but these girls-- who were nonfictional characters, by the way-- prove it. Stephanie Hemphill only guessed at their true thoughts and feelings, but in my honest opinion, she came pretty spot-on.