SISTERS OF MISERY
Megan Kelley Hall
Kensington, Aug 2008, $9.95
Hawthorne is right next door to Salem; and at the times of the witch hunts three women were killed on Misery Island. Now Hawthorne is a conservative town that on the surface seems to belong on a postcard. Maddie Crane belongs to the Sisters of Misery, which is led by vicious Kate Endicott. Maddie knows she will never leave the club because she fears what the members will do to her.
She is excited that her coaunt Rebecca, a free spirit and her daughter Cordelia have returned to live in Hawthorne. After a rough start, the Sisters of Misery and Cordelia go to Misery Island. Kate has plans for Cordelia and Maddie passes out when it is her turn to be part of Cordelia’s initiation. When she wakes up the next morning at her home, she does not remember what happened including how she got home. When the Sisters return to Misery Island to free Cordelia, she cannot be found. Afraid of what she and the others might have done, Maddie searches for clues to learn what did occur; unaware that her inquiry will lead to more tragedy.
This young adult fantasy will appeal to older readers as well. The character driven tale contains a gothic tone and atmosphere as the main characters are interesting people who have kept secrets for decades. Maddie is a follower; afraid to lead or leave a group she loathes until the Cordelia incident serves as a catalyst to challenge the power of the Sisters of Misery. There are a crop of new girls to replace their mothers as Sisters who control Hawthorne. Fans will find it difficult at first to accept a young girl like Kate is evil because of her age, but will accept the truth as Megan Kelley Halls makes her malevolence seem genuine. She and Maddie are fascinating antagonists who turn the SISTERS OF MISERY into an enjoyable read.