Mostly-Spoiler-Free Review: Conversion


“It’s possible that they had a slight allergic reaction to a preservative in the vaccine.”

School girls in a small town in northern Massachussts are falling ill with… something. heck, maybe a witch cursed them or something, wait a minute….

Author Kathryn Howe

Conversion is about a mystery illness spreading unpredictably through a small private school in Danvers Massachusetts. It is paralleled with the mysterious illness that spread among the girls in Salem Township in 1692. As more and more girls at the school fall ill, the fear in Danvers grows. We all know how the hysteria  in Salem lead to finger pointing and death, but what will happen when the hysteria takes hold in modern day Danvers?

“We are what we always were in Salem, but now the little crazy children are jangling the keys of the kingdom, and common vengeance writes the law!”
– Arthur Miller The Crucible

This novel goes with the idea that the girls in Salem made it all up to get attention and they whipped the town into a hysteria that got out of hand. Personally, I think the more believable theory is that the girls were coached by their parents to get the upper hand in petty feuds between neighbors, and the finger pointing got out of hand.

I have a few issues with the size that Danvers is portrayed to be in the novel. There’s this whole subplot about a Danvers morning show. but Danvers seems small to have a morning show.

I’m from the “uncharted territory” of Massachusetts


Originally posted on


I don’t know the Danvers era very well. Does Danvers really have a morning show? Danvers is not that far from Boston and Salem, I imagine their “local station” would be from one of them.

Danvers only has a population of 27,000 according to the all-knowing Google. 27,000 is not very big, it’s not a small town by Massachusetts standards, but it’s not that big. 27,000 is about half the size of Salem today.

I find it hard to believe that ANY high school kid in Massachusetts gets to senior year without knowing the basics of the Salem witchcraft trials. But these kids did. What kind  history teacher accutually assigns The Crusable as a history book?! *whisper*plot point*whisper* Oh, THAT kind…

The kids aren’t the only stupid ones. The mysterious illness leads to the town of Danvers being flooded with reporters and for some reason, not one of them researched the town history at all! Colleen has this drop-the-mic moment when she’s talking to a reporter where she brings up this fact about the town like it’s an earth-shattering revel, but it’s the most basic fact about Danvers Massachusetts. I assumed we were all suppossed to know the whole time! With the town flooded with reporters over this strange illness, how did no one bring this up?!

I REALLY hate the way the “romance” is played at the end, This situation is clearly abusive and gross. I get it, you think you’re paralleling Abigail Williams and John Proctor, but there is no reason to believe that there was ever something inappropriate between them! History is not Miller’s play! I can’t get into that without major spoilers so I’ll leave with the fact that the abuser should be rotting in jail!

So did I like the novel? Not really. If you think the Crucible is an accurate account of the Salem witchcraft trials, you may find something in this book. If you are a history buff like me, there is nothing in the novel for you.

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