Hysteria on Paper - Book Club Recommends: Salem Witch Trials

Friday, November 20, 2015

Paper Bindings | Hysteria on Paper - Book Club Recommends: Salem Witch Trials

It began with the screams of two young girls, Abigail Williams and Betty Parris in 1692 and ended with the deaths twenty people accused of witchcraft in Salem and its surrounding areas. Was it due to some lost girls trying to grab some power in a society that rendered them powerless? Psychological hysteria or just some spoiled bread? The Salem Witch Trials are a unique time period in American history. This tragic tale has captivated people for centuries. Here's a list of some of the best books about the Salem Witch Trials.

A Break with Charity by Ann Rinaldi
Susanna desperately wants to join the circle of girls who meet every week at the parsonage. What she doesn't realize is that the girls are about to set off a torrent of false accusations leading to the imprisonment and execution of countless innocent people. Susanna faces a painful choice. Should she keep quiet and let the witch-hunt panic continue, or should she "break charity" with the group--and risk having her own family members named as witches?

Witches Children by Patricia Clapp
During the winter of 1692, when the young girls of Salem suddenly find themselves subject to fits of screaming and strange visions, some believe that they have seen the devil and are the victims of witches.

Beyond the Burning Time by Kathryn Lasky
When young Betty Parris contracts a mysterious ailment that spreads to other girls in her Puritan village of Salem, Betty and her family must confront the deadly superstitions that will change their lives.

Witch Child by Celia Reese
Welcome to the world of young Mary Newbury, a world where simply being different can cost a person her life. Hidden until now in the pages of her diary, Mary’s startling story begins in 1659, the year her beloved grandmother is hanged in the public square as a witch. Mary narrowly escapes a similar fate, only to face intolerance and new danger among the Puritans in the New World. How long can she hide her true identity? Will she ever find a place where her healing powers will not be feared?

The Crucible by Arthur Miller
Based on historical people and real events, Arthur Miller's play uses the destructive power of socially sanctioned violence unleashed by the rumors of witchcraft as a powerful parable about McCarthyism.

I Walk in Dread: The Diary of Deliverance Trembley, Witness to the Salem Witch Trials, Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1691 by Lisa Rowe Fraustino
Deliverance Trembley lives in Salem Village where she must take care of her sickly sister, Mem, and where she does her daily chores in fear of her cruel uncle's angry temper. But after four young girls from the village accuse some of the local women of being witches, the town becomes increasingly caught up in a witch hunt. When the villagers begin to realize that Deliverance is a clever girl who possesses the skills to read and write, the whispered accusations begin. Suddenly she has more to worry about than just the wrath of her uncle, her ill sister, and the fate of the other women in town. Within the pages of her diary, Deliverance captures the panic, terror, suspicion, and hysteria that swept through Salem Village during one of the most infamous eras in American history.

Conversion by Katherine Howe
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 mystery illness quickly spreads to her closest clique of friends, then more students and symptoms follow: seizures, hair loss, violent coughing fits. St. Joan’s buzzes with rumor; rumor blossoms into full-blown panic. Soon the media descends on Danvers, Massachusetts, as everyone scrambles to find something, or someone, to blame. Pollution? Stress? Or are the girls faking? Only Colleen—who’s been reading The Crucible for extra credit—comes to realize what nobody else has: Danvers was once Salem Village, where another group of girls suffered from a similarly bizarre epidemic three centuries ago . . .
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Tracy is a history/film fan who loves to read YA, historical and contemporary fiction. She’s also a sucker for a sad tale. Harry Potter (“Harry Potter”), Peeta Mellark (“Hunger Games”), Nathaniel Blake (“Little Men”) and Daniel Landon (“Catcher, Caught”) are her literary boyfriends. She’s also the resident Ravenclaw and librarian.


  1. It's funny. I find this period interesting (and Salem was fun), but I haven't read many books with this setting. The only one I can think of off the top of my head is The Crucible, and that was for school XP

    1. Same. Although, I thought we read one in fifth grade that was in that time period about witches, but I cannot recall for sure.

  2. I'm surprised! Read one on the list ;)

    1. Me too. I thought I was going to have read none.

  3. I LOVE this list!! There was a period of time where I was totally interested in the Salem Witch Trials. The only one I've read is the Crucible, because it was required reading in school.

    Thanks so much for sharing this list!

    Emily @ Follow the Yellow Book Road

    1. I've only read The Crucible for that reason too. It would be cool if we got a few more YA books in that time/subject range, I think it'd be an interesting book.

      Thank you for stopping by.


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