I was lucky enough to get a copy of WICKED GIRLS from the fab team at B+B. When I first received it, I immediately got a little thrill of excitement, because, dude: the Salem Witch Trials as told from the POVs of the girls themselves. The psychological implications of that and that alone are INTENSE.
Let me begin this book rave by saying that I read this book in one day. I had never, in my entire bookish-life, read a whole book in a single day before this one. I swear there's some kind of witchcraft going on with WICKED GIRLS (ha, witchcraft. Get it?), because once you start in on it, it does NOT let you go.
Hemphill immerses you in the stark, threatening world that is Salem circa 1692. How bleak and small the world is to girls especially, and how these girls encountered the same kinds of teenage problems girls of every generation tackle (boy troubles, future concerns, friend drama, and, most interestingly, peer pressure). By presenting the entirety of these girls' involvement in the witch trials as all-too-relatable peer-pressure, it makes it real in a way I've never seen with the Salem Witch Trials. Hemphill takes an era that is usually seen as vastly different from ours and makes it not only relatable, but so understandable that most of the time I forgot the year was more than three centuries ago.
To top it all off, the verse style of WICKED GIRLS adds a level of GORGEOUS that is the delectable dash of sprinkles on the already delicious cake that is this book. Some of the verses were so heartbreakingly pretty that I had to read them a few times to let the beauty of Hemphill's words really sink in. That's the true wonder of this book -- how Hemphill managed to create a book that makes you want to both savor it and fly through it.
Witchcraft, indeed :)