Author: Bates, Laura
After starting fresh with her mother in a Scottish fishing village, Anna learns that rumors of the "incident" have followed her, and she finds herself drawn to Maggie, a girl burned for witchcraft centuries before. Includes discussion questions.
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 03/01/2020 Gr 9 Up—Bates's debut novel is a contemporary social statement on the impact of bullying, peer pressure, and vicious crowd mentalities both online and in person. Anna flees England to start fresh in Scotland after being maliciously cyberbullied and blackmailed at her old school. In the digital age, physical miles mean nothing and her past quickly catches up to her. Adding a magical realism element, Bates connects Anna to the story of a local woman, Maggie, who was accused of witchcraft in the 17th century. Visions of Maggie's life serve more as a narrative vehicle for Anna to understand that there are parallels in the social justice system in the digital age to the madness of witch hunts in the past. Addressing important topics such as peer pressure, slut-shaming, and bullying, Bates tries to navigate between storytelling and attempts to empower the reader with feminist values. It's hard to do the subject matter justice and Bates's attempt is clearly laudable in her research and execution. VERDICT Bates's twist on a cautionary tale will take readers on an emotional roller coaster, hopefully feeling stronger and less alone upon conclusion. For fans of Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak and Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why.—Melanie Leivers, Burnhaven Library, Burnsville, MN - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 03/01/2020 In this emotionally charged UK import by the founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, a teenage victim of revenge porn starts over in a new school and learns how often history repeats itself when it comes to sexual double standards. Anna and her mother have moved to the tiny Scottish village of St. Monans, hoping to escape the past. Anna has deleted her social media presence and is going by her mother’s maiden name. Anna soon makes good friends and finds an actual nice guy to flirt with, but a chance remark sets off a wildfire of innuendo and harassment. A local history project also leads Anna to reflect on the uncomfortable parallels between her own situation and that of a seventeenth-century woman accused of witchcraft by a possessive nobleman. This interesting historical mystery is undercut by supernatural elements that aren’t smoothly integrated. Though Bates provides a powerful, hopeful ending for Anna, the authenticity of the harassment and cyberbullying is difficult to read; some may find it traumatic, others cathartic. An author’s note with resources is included. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.