Only the Stars Know Her Name: Salem’s Lost Story of Tituba’s Daughter

Little Bee/Yellow Jacket. Jul. 2019. 304p. bibliog. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781499808902.
Gr 5-8–A year after the Salem witch hunts, Violet joins a coven to seek revenge on the people who tore her family apart. Violet is the daughter of Tituba, the enslaved Arawak woman who was accused of witchcraft and was sold after she recanted her confession. Violet is left searching for her mother and for answers. When she decides to join the mysterious, angry Tammy Younger and another accused witch’s daughter, Violet thinks she’s finding sisterhood and freedom in the woods. But Tammy’s plans become increasingly sinister. Having seen hatred’s destruction before, Violet must use her powers to free herself from Salem and Tammy. Marrone’s research shows in chapter epigraphs taken from trial records and parallels between the girls’ vengeance and actual events. A bibliography is included. Violet is very aware of racial hierarchies, particularly the growing alienation between her and the non-enslaved children with whom she’s grown up and how her assigned surname, “Indian,” flattens differences between tribes. While Violet defends Tituba, her knowledge about her mother’s culture is vague. Unfortunately, Violet’s identification with her roots doesn’t lead her to question the Salem villagers’ casual prejudice against local Indigenous groups.
VERDICT An exciting adventure about friendship overcoming the occult that gives voice to a forgotten historical figure, but stumbles in fully realizing part of the protagonist’s identity

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