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Katherine Howe. Putnam, $18.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-399-16777-5

As she did in her adult novel The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, Howe draws thrilling connections between the Salem witch trials and the present day in her YA debut. Colleen Rowley and her friends attend St. Joan’s Academy, a private Catholic high school in Boston that caters to girls with Harvard-size aspirations. After Colleen’s classmate Clara has a strange seizure during class, Clara develops shocking, Tourette’s-like verbal and facial tics. The condition soon spreads through the school until there are dozens of girls with inexplicable and divergent symptoms—Colleen’s friend Anjali has started coughing up pins. The school nurse and local medical professionals scroll futilely through diagnoses, and the media descends on St. Joan’s, making life a circus for the girls and their families. Howe gives Colleen a strong and sure voice, while alternating between the present-day action in 2012 and “Interludes” set in Salem Village in 1706. A chilling guessing game of a novel that will leave readers thinking about the power (and powerlessness) of young women in the past and present alike. Ages 12–up. Agent: Suzanne Gluck, William Morris Endeavor. (July)