Witch Hunt by Tabitha Morrow
For sixteen-year-old Ruth, life in New Salem is simple. Obey her parents, go to school, stay inside the walls, and never question the will of the Council. The Council governs New Salem and keeps its people safe, burning mysterious effigies to remind the villagers of the physical and spiritual dangers that seek to infiltrate New Salem's walls.
When Ruth takes to exploring the woods at night, she makes a terrifying and exhilarating discovery: she and her friends Sarah and Elizabeth are witches. But it's dangerous to be different in New Salem, and it isn't long before rumors of witchcraft spread from the Council to the townspeople. After Elizabeth is imprisoned by the Council, it is up to Ruth and Sarah to fulfill their destiny. A coven of witches harbors great strength, and it is only with that strength that they will be able to save New Salem.
Publisher- Diversion Books
Every time I see the words "inside the walls" I have no control over the fact that I instantly think of the movie The Village by M Night Shyamalan. I suppose this is because 1) I love that movie and 2) am always searching for similar stories.
This was one of those stories that hit the mark for me. I really enjoyed the characters, the community and the witch craft. In New Salem there is a separation between the council and the townspeople mainly by the color of robes or clothing they wear. The council is known for their red robes, and the townspeople a very modestly dressed and the town has a very old feeling to it, no technology, farmland and everybody having to do their part for the town to keep alive. The behavior of the townspeople to stay in line is really strict and the kids are watched carefully. Don't forget the forest surrounding the village and the stone wall that blocks them off from any other societies that may be outside.
Ruth is a great main character. She is daring and courageous, the fact that she does question things..mostly because she is different, is a huge plus in this story. There is very little down time and a combination of great elements and characters that really drives the storyline. There is a mystery of where the banished people end up going when they leave. Ruth and her coven are able to develop very amazing powers as they become stronger, and when they are together, that power grows.
I really had a lot of fun reading this story. (I have actually read it twice in the last 4 months) and think that it's definitely one you'd enjoy to read as well. Especially if you are into witches and creepy settings.