Synopses & Reviews
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.
Margaret Walcott, Ann's cousin, is desperately in love and consumed with fiery jealousy. She is torn between staying loyal to her friends and pursuing the life she dreams of with her betrothed.
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?
A Printz Honor winner for Your Own, sylvia, Stephanie Hemphill uses evocative verse to weave a nuanced portrait of one of the most chilling and fascinating times in our nation's history.
Hemphill (Your Own Sylvia) plumbs the psychological underpinnings of the Salem witch trials in blank verse monologues from three of the main accusers. Two girls eight and 12 fall violently ill having seizures and singling out neighbors as witches. Seeing the weight the girls' accusations are given ("All that Betty and Abigail say in fit/ is listened to like it comes from the town council") Ann Mercy and Margaret snatch the opportunity to join in and move to positions of influence as well targeting those who have harmed them or their families. Neighbors are jailed and even executed based on the girls' testimony and even as wiser heads question their credibility the girls turn on each other fueled by jealousy peer pressure blackmail and the desire to dominate the group. Even those familiar with the historical events will savor the exploration of the underlying motivations as Hemphill breathes life into those long dead and holds a mirror up to contemporary society. The expressive writing masterful tension and parallels to modern group dynamics create a powerful and relevant page turner. Ages 12–up. (July) " Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
"Hemphill (Your Own, Sylvia) plumbs the psychological underpinnings of the Salem witch trials in blank verse monologues from three of the main accusers. Two girls, eight and 12, fall violently ill, having seizures and singling out neighbors as witches. Seeing the weight the girls' accusations are given ('All that Betty and Abigail say in fit/ is listened to like it comes from the town council'), Ann, Mercy, and Margaret snatch the opportunity to join in and move to positions of influence as well, targeting those who have harmed them or their families. Neighbors are jailed and even executed based on the girls' testimony, and even as wiser heads question their credibility, the girls turn on each other, fueled by jealousy, peer pressure, blackmail, and the desire to dominate the group. Even those familiar with the historical events will savor the exploration of the underlying motivations, as Hemphill breathes life into those long dead and holds a mirror up to contemporary society. The expressive writing, masterful tension, and parallels to modern group dynamics create a powerful and relevant page-turner. Ages 12 up. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
“In subtle, spare first-person free-verse poems, the author skillfully demonstrates how ordinary people may come to commit monstrous acts. Haunting and still frighteningly relevant.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“The verse format is fresh and engaging, distilling the actions of the seven accusing girls into riveting narrative.” School Library Journal (starred review)
“An excellent supplementary choice for curricular studies of Arthur Millers The Crucible, this will also find readers outside the classroom, who will savor the accessible, unsettling, piercing lines that connect past and present with timeless conflict and truths.” Booklist (starred review)
“The expressive writing, masterful tension, and parallels to modern group dynamics create a powerful and relevant page-turner. ” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“An atmospheric tale.” Bulletin of the Center for Children & #8217;s Books
A Pura Belpré Honor Book
Winner of the 2014 PEN Literary Award for Best Young Adult Book
VOYA Top Shelf for Middle School Readers 2013 list
2014 International Latino Book Award Honorable Mention
An NCTE Notable Book for the Language Arts
An ALSC Notable Children's Book for 2013
YALSA 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults
* "This is the context for a splendid novel that celebrates one brave woman who rejected a constrained existence with enduring words that continue to sing of freedom."
—Booklist, starred review
"An inspiring fictionalized verse biography of one of Cuba's most influential writers. . . . Fiery and engaging, a powerful portrait of the liberating power of art."
"In these poems, their longings for freedom, their fears, their loves, and their heartaches are elegantly crafted through images that make the island of Cuba and its people vividly real and connect them to the hearts of contemporary readers."
"A quick and powerful read worthy of addition to any collection. The verses speak of tolerance and acceptance beyond the context of this story."
"Engle adds another superb title to her lengthening list of historical novels in verse. . . . This is a must-have for . . . anyone in need of a comparative study to our own country's struggle with slavery."
—School Library Journal
Winner of the 2015 Américas Award
A Jane Addams Award Honor Book
Green Earth Book Awards Honor Book
* "A masterful command of language and space. . . Engle blends the voices of her fictional characters, historical figures, and even the forest into a dynamic coming-of-age story not only of young adults but also of a blustering and arrogant United States."
—VOYA, 5Q 5P M J S
* "Engle's extraordinary book is a tour de force of verisimilitude and beautifully realized verse that brings to empathetic life the silver people."
—Booklist, starred review
"As always, Engle's poetry captures with sympathetic wonder and delicate beauty the plight of these disenfranchised voices; here in particular she highlights the natural beauty and love that Mateo, Anita, and Henry find and cling to in the midst of their back- and heart-breaking labor."
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"In melodic verses, Engle offers the voices of three [Panama Canal] workers…Taken together, they provide an illuminating picture of the ecological sacrifices and human costs behind a historical feat generally depicted as a triumph."
—Horn Book Magazine
"This richly developed novel is an excellent addition to any collection. In this compelling story, Engle paints a picture of an often [over]-looked area and highlights the struggles of the people and the arrogance of the Americans."
—School Library Journal
A Junior Library Guild Selection
Bank Street College Best Children’s Books of the Year
An NCTE Notable Book in the English Language Arts
ALSC Notable Books in the Social Sciences
CCBC Choice Fiction for Young Adults
CCBC Global Reading list
Best Multicultural Books, Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature
Newbery Honor-winner Margarita Engle tells the story of Cuban folk hero, abolitionist, and women's rights pioneer Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda in this powerful YA historical novel in verse.
“I find it so easy to forget / that I’m just a girl who is expected / to live / without thoughts.”
Opposing slavery in Cuba in the nineteenth century was dangerous. The most daring abolitionists were poets who veiled their work in metaphor. Of these, the boldest was Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, nicknamed Tula. In passionate, accessible verses of her own, Engle evokes the voice of this book-loving feminist and abolitionist who bravely resisted an arranged marriage at the age of fourteen, and was ultimately courageous enough to fight against injustice. Historical notes, excerpts, and source notes round out this exceptional tribute.
As the Panama Canal turns one hundred, Newbery Honor winner Margarita Engle tells the story of its creation in this powerful new YA historical novel in verse.
One hundred years ago, the world celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal, which connected the world’s two largest oceans and signaled America’s emergence as a global superpower. It was a miracle, this path of water where a mountain had stood—and creating a miracle is no easy thing. Thousands lost their lives, and those who survived worked under the harshest conditions for only a few silver coins a day.
From the young "silver people" whose back-breaking labor built the Canal to the denizens of the endangered rainforest itself, this is the story of one of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken, as only Newbery Honor-winning author Margarita Engle could tell it.
About the Author
Stephanie Hemphill is also the award-winning author of Wicked Girls: A Novel of the Salem Witch Trials, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist; Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath, a Michael L. Printz Honor Book; Sisters of Glass; and Things Left Unsaid: A Novel in Poems. She lives in Chicago, Illinois.