Sisters of Misery Review
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Hawthorne is a little town, just outside Salem, Massachusetts. It tries to hide the role it played in the Salem witch trials, but some things can’t be hidden or even buried. Vengeance will come—someday.

Sixteen-year-old Maddie Crane has been a member of the Sisters of Misery since she was a child, when her mother insisted that she hang around with the wealthy members of the town. Maddie doesn’t really care for the way Kate Endicott, the self-appointed leader of the exclusive club, treats those she feels are inferior. But once a member of the Sisters, she can never get away—at least not without dire repercussions.

When Maddie’s cousin, Cordelia LaClaire, comes to live with Maddie, things start to get sinister. Maddie and Cordelia become best friends, but Maddie finds herself having to choose between protecting her cousin and risking the wrath of the Sisters of Misery. Cordelia is a free spirit with an eccentric edge, and when Kate’s boyfriend shows interest in Cordelia, Kate goes beyond vicious to put Cordelia in her place.

On the surface, Sisters of Misery sounds like just another teen drama, but it has a very Gothic feel to it. In the background, the town’s history involving witchcraft hums along, leaving you with a feeling that something disastrous is about to happen. In fact, the town itself is almost a character in the story, with its mysterious, evil persona lurking in the shadows.

At times, I became incredibly irritated with Maddie for sticking around Kate, even after she’d been cruel to Cordelia. I kept having to remind myself, though, that Maddie is sixteen, and she’s been friends with Kate and her gang since she was a child—so she’d be torn between Cordelia and Kate. Still, I’ve never really been able to understand why anyone would want to hang around with people who are so selfish and mean—not even when I was a teen. Most of my friends tended to be guys, though, so maybe that makes a big difference.

Teen drama aside, though, Sisters of Misery gave me the chills—and as I neared the end, I was seriously creeped out. It’s a frightfully great read, and when it all comes together, it’ll leave you feeling as if a cold, dead hand were crawling all over your body.

Ms. Hall has definitely renewed my love of the Gothic novel—and I’m already looking forward to the second book in the series, The Lost Sister.

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