Gallows Hill Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Gallows Hill

Sarah Zoltanneis a teenager who recently moved to a small town with her mom, to live with her mom's boyfriend and when she has supernatural experiences, she is branded as a witch by the conservative town, mimicking much of the history relating to the Salem Witch Trials. Sarah Zoltanneis loved her old life in California and that she was her mother's only child and hates that now she is stuck in a conservative town, in an old house and that now she and her mom live with her mom's boyfriend. She just wanted to get through the last year of high school, turn 18 and escape.
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It is even worse because she does not get along with her almost step-sister, Kyra who is just one year younger than she is, and two months into the new school year, she has no friends. However, she does have a crush, his name is Eric, he is gorgeous and blond and Kyra's best friend. When they need someone new to pretend to be a fortune teller at the school carnival, she declines but is later forced to participate.

However, Sarah has been having nightmares since she arrived in this town and does not know why. She is, however, compelled to do the fortunate telling tasks by her mom and her boyfriend. Immediately after accepting, she has what she understands later to be a vision of the Salem Witch Trials.

When she arrived to dress up as a fortunate teller, they worked out a way for her to get information about the students who asked for information through the use of a headset cleverly hidden within a hat. Unfortunately for her, the situation abruptly changed partway through the event.

They worked out a way for her to get information about the students who asked for information through the use of a headset cleverly hidden within a hat, but the situation abruptly changed partway through the event. The prop she had for the evening was changing and actually providing her with real information.

She also felt as if she was not alone in her head or her body any more and when she says things about the students she should not have known, everyone at the school and much of the town thinks she is a witch. She is even more ostracized than she ever was and what she did not know if that the globe she used as a prop was a real crystal ball.

Before it came to her, it was used by several real psychics. Now, the globe seems to recognize the magical skills that Sarah has but does not even know about.   

As her nightmares and the voices she hears, or even channels, increase she thinks she is crazy. However, she eventually realizes that the spirits of witches who were killed during the Salem Witch Trials are using her and her skills to access a new reality. It is similar to a form of reincarnation and terrifying to her, because she feels as if she is literally losing herself.

That is even more true, when as the fear and paranoia of the town progresses further and the football players and cheerleaders squad try to kill her because they are so sure that she is a witch. Sarah is saved by her mother and her mom's boyfriend, but just barely and even they are not sure what is going on with her. Her only friend in town that she made is named Charlie and he helps her get through this,

It is important to understand that in order for the spirits of the witches killed in the Salem Witch Trials to find peace, they have to live out their karma and they do so for a brief period of time with the unwilling help of Sarah.

As the novel ends, there are still some unanswered questions. The reader is left to wonder about how the town progressed after Sarah, her mom and her new step-dad leave town permanently after the spirits found peace. The ending is sloppy and and not what the rest of the book was.
Best scene in story: Although Sarah was so opposed to being the fortunate-teller, she really went out of her way to be accurate when she was there, right up until she lost control. Specifically, she went into details about a little girl's life and hobbies and tried to keep one of her high school classmates from cheating on his girlfriend, although she didn't actually know any of them and was only going on the information relayed to her through the special hat.

Opinion about the main character: Sarah Zoltanneis was an interesting character who had no idea what was happening and was more than a little upset by the move anyway. However, when each new thing occurred, she accepted it and dealt with it with a lot of maturity.

The review of this Book prepared by Roberta Still a Level 7 Marbled Godwit scholar

Chapter Analysis of Gallows Hill

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Descript. of chases or violence 20%planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 30%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 40%Descript. of society, phenomena (tech), places 10% Tone of book    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?    -   fantasy story on current Earth Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Horror story?    -   Yes Horror plotlets    -   the witch chased me on her broomstick!

Main Character

Identity:    -   Female Profession/status:    -   student Age:    -   a teen If magical mental powers:    -   clairvoyant


Earth setting:    -   20th century Takes place on Earth?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   explicit references to deaths scientific jargon? (SF only)    -   none/very little science jargon needed How much dialogue?    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like Gallows Hill

Lois Duncan Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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