Gallows Hill

( 78 )

Overview

Role-playing takes on a terrifying cast when 17-year-old Sarah, who is posing as a fortune-teller for a school fair, begins to see actual visions that can predict the future. Frightened, the other students brand her a witch, setting off a chain of events that mirror the centuries-old Salem witch trials in more ways than one.

When seventeen-year-old Sarah works in the fortune-telling booth at a school carnival, she finds that sometimes she can really see the future ...

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Overview

Role-playing takes on a terrifying cast when 17-year-old Sarah, who is posing as a fortune-teller for a school fair, begins to see actual visions that can predict the future. Frightened, the other students brand her a witch, setting off a chain of events that mirror the centuries-old Salem witch trials in more ways than one.

When seventeen-year-old Sarah works in the fortune-telling booth at a school carnival, she finds that sometimes she can really see the future in the crystal ball, a talent that disturbs some of the other students and makes them suspect her of being a witch.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Reviewers praise Lois Duncan:

For Gallows Hill:

"Duncan delights in building suspense brick by brick until she has a whole creepy wall to collapse at the climax."
Publishers Weekly

"Entertaining and enlightening, this is a book that should have wide appeal."
VOYA

"...An exciting, suspenseful tale that will certainly be welcomed by Duncan's many fans."
School Library Journal

For The Twisted Window:

"Duncan is a true pro, grounding the twists of her plot lines with sure motivation and providing the reader with several surprises along the way."
—Kirkus Reviews

For Locked in Time:

"Duncan's new thriller is impeccably structured, convincing and harrowing...In the denouement, Duncan proves again her talent for outguessing even veteran mystery buffs."
—Publishers Weekly

For Stranger With My Face:

"The best of the sinister and supernatural is Lois Duncan's Stranger With My Face...Spine-chilling from top to bottom."
—The New York Times

Publishers Weekly - Cahners\\Publishers_Weekly
Duncan (Stranger with My Face) delights in building suspense brick by brick until she has a whole creepy wall to collapse at the climax. This time, her mortar is an eerie crystal paperweight, the Salem witchcraft trials, hints of reincarnation and the unsteady alliances of step families. Sarah and her mother, Rosemary, have moved to a small, conservative town in the Ozarks because Rosemary has fallen in love with the hypocritical, still-married Ted. Sarah tries to fit in at the high school, but she has no friends-until the too-perfect Eric asks Sarah to be a fortune-teller at the Halloween carnival. Speed ahead in the predictable plot, and Sarah finds that she really can read future disaster in the crystal ball. Soon, frightened classmates proclaim her a witch, put a dead crow in her locker and lure her to a remote gallows to meet her fate amid a crowd of unbalanced teens and a blazing bonfire. While the characters are far too pat-the jolly fat boy, cruel cheerleaders, evil handsome class president, shrill ex-wife, bossy stepfather-Duncan nevertheless propels the reader along, dropping sinister clues on every page like bread crumbs in a forest. As in many YA suspense novels, the adults are unsympathetic and clueless, allowing their teens to run rampant into the alluring arms of evil. The real nightmare of being a teenager is having nobody believe you or help you conquer your demons, but in this book, Sarah manages through self-reliance to face her fears, both natural and supernatural.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Duncan (Stranger with My Face) delights in building suspense brick by brick until she has a whole creepy wall to collapse at the climax. This time, her mortar is an eerie crystal paperweight, the Salem witchcraft trials, hints of reincarnation and the unsteady alliances of step families. Sarah and her mother, Rosemary, have moved to a small, conservative town in the Ozarks because Rosemary has fallen in love with the hypocritical, still-married Ted. Sarah tries to fit in at the high school, but she has no friendsuntil the too-perfect Eric asks Sarah to be a fortune-teller at the Halloween carnival. Speed ahead in the predictable plot, and Sarah finds that she really can read future disaster in the crystal ball. Soon, frightened classmates proclaim her a witch, put a dead crow in her locker and lure her to a remote gallows to meet her fate amid a crowd of unbalanced teens and a blazing bonfire. While the characters are far too patthe jolly fat boy, cruel cheerleaders, evil handsome class president, shrill ex-wife, bossy stepfatherDuncan nevertheless propels the reader along, dropping sinister clues on every page like bread crumbs in a forest. As in many YA suspense novels, the adults are unsympathetic and clueless, allowing their teens to run rampant into the alluring arms of evil. The real nightmare of being a teenager is having nobody believe you or help you conquer your demons, but in this book, Sarah manages through self-reliance to face her fears, both natural and supernatural. Ages 12-up. (May)
The ALAN Review - Diana Mitchell
Sarah is the new girl at school when she is asked to work in the fortune-telling booth at the school carnival. Although hesitant to do so, she accepts the offer because she doesn't want to be an outsider forever. In her booth Sarah is shocked when she looks into the crystal ball for her "clients: and sees vivid scenes that later come true. Branded as a witch by her school mates and the jealous daughter of the man her mother lives with, Sarah soon receives threatening objects and notes. The plot of this supernatural thriller then thickens when Sarah and her friend Charlie begin their school research projects on the Salem Witch Trials and Sarah has terrifying dreams of being part of the Salem witch hunt. What can be happening? Are the participants in the Salem Witch Trials gathering in the present to work out the struggles they experienced hundreds of years ago? Will Sarah survive the intense hostility she feels building? This compelling, fast-paced novel is classic Lois Duncan, and her fans will welcome this newest book.
VOYA - Delia A. Culberson
When seventeen-year-old Sarah Zoltanne lets herself be talked into playing a gypsy fortune teller in her new high school's Halloween Carnival by handsome and popular Eric Garrett, she uses an old crystal paperweight that had belonged to her deceased Hungarian grandmother, and sets in motion a chain of strange and ominous events that create discord and danger around her. She gradually learns that all is not as placid as it seems in this small town in the Missouri Ozarks, where Sarah and her mother have recently relocated from California. And when the mysterious glass paperweight reveals secret information that she could not possibly know, and her disturbing visions begin to come true, Sarah is accused of witchcraft and threats are made against her. Particularly upsetting are her vivid dreams and vision of the infamous witch trials in seventeenth century Salem, and when people and happenings in Pine Crest begin to parallel those of the old New England village, Sarah realizes that her life is in mortal danger. She also now knows that it is really Charlie Gorman, intelligent and loyal but not particularly handsome or popular, who is her one true friend. Duncan's consummate storytelling skills convey a pervasive supernatural atmosphere as she weaves the facts of the Salem witch trials into her story line to offer an unusual and intriguing tale peopled with believable characters. It also illustrates how ignorance and bigotry can prevail against fairness and common sense, turning neighbor against neighbor, in the seventeenth century or today. Entertaining and enlightening, this is a book that should have wide appeal. VOYA Codes: 3Q 3P M J S (Readable without serious defects, Will appeal with pushing, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
School Library Journal
Gr 7-9Sarah, 17, has just moved from California to a small Missouri town so that her mother can be near her new boyfriend. The teen reluctantly agrees when handsome, popular Eric asks her to run a fortune-telling booth at the school's Halloween carnival. After her impressive performance, he convinces her to continue telling fortunes off campus. Then Sarah becomes unnerved by the startling visions about other students that she sees in the antique paperweight/crystal ball and begins to have terrifying nightmares. Her classmates, not knowing how to deal with Sarah's unsettling information, label her a witch. Her only friend is another misfit, Charlie. Because both of them are having dreams about the Salem witchcraft trials, Charlie develops a theory that they are living out the results of what happened in past lives in Salem; that many of Sarah's classmates may be former victims of her false accusations seeking revenge. Parts of the plot stretch credibility. That so many students could so easily become convinced that Sarah is a witch seems highly unlikely. Equally hard to accept is the idea that Sarah's mother has been drawn to the town so that Sarah can fulfill some sort of karmic destiny. Charlie's belief in reincarnation causes him to sound like a textbook on Eastern religions. Adult characters merely serve to move the story along. Sarah, however, is an insightful and perceptive character, and readers will identify with her anguish as she tries to deal with the cruelties inflicted on her. Unfortunately, the ending is abrupt and loose ends get tucked in too easily. Despite its weaknesses, this is still an exciting, suspenseful tale that will certainly be welcomed by Duncan's many fans.Bruce Anne Shook, Mendenhall Middle School, Greensboro, NC
Kirkus Reviews
A sloppy suspense novel—Duncan (Night Terrors, 1996, etc.) unsuccessfully charts a plot full of witchcraft, ESP, reincarnation, book-burning, and fortune-telling, as well as an utterly incredible chain of events.

When Sarah's mother inexplicably falls in love with Ted, a tyrant, she gives up her job and home so they can move to his small town. Since he is separated from his wife, Sarah's mother is the "other woman" in a Peyton Placestyle community where it is nearly impossible for Sarah to make friends. When she poses as a fortune-teller at a school carnival, Sarah actually sees the future in her crystal ball, an ability that results in the widespread suspicion that she is a witch. With a heavy hand, Duncan draws parallels to the witchcraft trials of 17th-century Salem. When Sarah faces hanging at the hands of a drunken mob of kids, Charlie—son of a bookseller whose store was torched for selling "books that people didn't approve of"—saves her by convincing his classmates that they were all in Salem in a past life, and need to put it behind them. In addition to such implausible scenes, some subplots simply trail off, teenagers sound like adults, and too many characters are suddenly versed in witchcraft. Readers are repeatedly informed that the town is "conservative" and churchgoers are uniformly hypocritical. Bleakly shallow.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440227250
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 9/28/1998
  • Series: Laurel-Leaf Bks.
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 451,604
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 900L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 4.85 (w) x 6.88 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Read an Excerpt

As that thought took form in her mind, Sarah found herself struck by a feeling of such abrupt and intense foreboding that it was as if a black void had opened directly in front of her.  In that instant of dislocation, as she fought to maintain her equilibrium and keep from tumbling headfirst into the pit of darkness, a voice seemed to shout directly into her right ear.

"Guilty as charged!" it bellowed.  "Away to Gallows Hill!"

"No!" Sarah heard herself whimper.  "I didn't really mean it!"

"Poor little Betty," another voice said more gently.  "The child is too frightened to remember.  "

Betty does remember, and she's sorry!  She never should have done it!

For an instant the chasm gaped wider, and then the illusion was gone as if it had never been.  With a gasp of relief, Sarah found herself safe again in the living room, where the only activity was on the television screen and the only voice was Kyra's, tinny and tiny at the other end of the phone line.

"You didn't mean what?" it was asking.  "Does that mean you've changed your mind?"

"Yes," Sarah said.  "I guess so.  But for Rosemary's sake, not yours.  I couldn't care less how 'cool' you think Eric Garrett is."

She replaced the receiver in slow motion and sat down on the sofa, feeling as if she had served a short stint in the Twilight Zone.  Whatever had caused her to have such a bizarre hallucination?  Gallows Hill, she thought, what a horrible name!  Why did it seem so familiar, as did the name Betty?  Had she read or heard about something like this on television?

"That's what I get for not eating," she told herself shakily.  "Low blood sugar can make people dizzy and disoriented."

It was not until she was standing at the microwave, watching the plate of lasagna rotate behind the glass, that she fully realized what she had agreed to.

What have I let myself in for? she thought with dismay.

Like it or not, she had committed to playing a fortune-teller.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 78 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(45)

4 Star

(25)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(0)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 78 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2010

    Amazing!

    A very good book. You get caught up in the plot and you cant put it down! Very beleivable, also. One of the best I've read so far(:

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2008

    Second and Still Good

    This was the second Lois Duncan book I have read. (The first was Don't Look Behind You) He has not dissaponted me yet- not that he is going to by the looks of it. It was well written and kept your interest the whole time. A little slow in the begining but it speed up quickly. I LOVE the main character (Sara). Also I like how it taught you different stuff about witchcraft and reincarnation(sp?). Totally worth reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2008

    OMG GREATEST BOOK

    oh my god! this was agreat book by lois duncan and i just couldn't put it down!Lois Duncan ,I luv u!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2007

    Book Reader

    I didn't know anything about this author. I read this book, when I bought it off clearance at Barnes and Nobles. I loved it, I would recommend it to anyone. I am 25 and love young adult books, this had the touch of romance but the mystery of unknown.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2004

    MY FAVORITE LOIS DUNCAN

    I have read every single Lois Duncan books, and I love them all, but Gallows Hill is my absoulte favorite. I highly, higly recommend this book. There's even a movie based on it, except it's called I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR YOU. In the movie, they spice it up a bit, like they did I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER. I think the books are better than the movies, like most books are. But anyway, this is a very, very good read. I also think that Lois Duncan's SUMMER OF FEAR should definitely be made into a movie!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2004

    Bewitching

    Welcome to Pine Crest, where Sarah Zoltanne has been dragged from sunny California by her mom¿s love for Ted Thompson, a local school teacher. But Sarah¿s image of the Christian town of Pine Crest soon changes after playing a fortune-telling gypsy at the school¿s Halloween carnival. However, with help from her new friend Charlie she starts to find out that everything that¿s happening is for a reason, a very old reason. What I liked about the book was the connection it had with the Salem Witch Trials. And once I realize just how close that connection was I didn¿t want to put down the book. However, it also led to why I disliked the book. The citizens of Pine Crest are narrow-minded to new ideas. They even burnt down a bookstore because it sold such books on reincarnation. In the end, I recommend this book to any Duncan fan or anyone who has read The Crucible. I especially feel it¿s important to have read The Crucible so you know how the two books tie together, but at the same time you won¿t be lost if you¿ve never read it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2001

    Not The Best. But O.K.

    this is a pretty good book allthough I liked most of lois duncans other books better. this story involves a girl named Sarah who has just moved to a small town called pine crest with her mother. Strange events start happening as she starts a 'buisness' as a fortune teller with the help of her new selfish 'boyfriend' and stepsister. She also befriends a guy named Charlie who starts to have dreams very similar that she is having about the Salem Witch Trials. But soon the people in pine crest start to think that she's a witch. I'm not going to tell the ending but it will make you breathing so hardly that it will feel like your on a gallows with a rope tied around your neck...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2013

    Bella to person

    Yes

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2013

    Love this book!!!!

    It is so amazing! It did not disappoint me!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2012

    AWESOME

    This is a great book! I just love it!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2012

    Just one of Lois Duncan's amazing books!!!!!!

    Just one of Lois Duncan's amazing books!!!!!!

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  • Posted March 29, 2011

    Great Book!!!

    I really enjoyed this book! It was made into TV movie called I've Been Waiting for You! It has an all-star cast...so if you get a chance, rent it, buy it...guaranteed you will not be disappointed!

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  • Posted April 3, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Best Lois Duncan Book

    I've read most if not all of her books. She is an amazing author. Gallows Hill is THE book to get if you are interested in the Salem Witch Trials. Even if you don't like the Salem Witch Trials, I am undoubtedly positive that anyone would love this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2008

    fun read, but not much else

    it was a fun read, but not very fresh or interesting. the 1998 movie 'i've been waiting for you' looks like a bad knock off of it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2007

    A reviewer

    I loved Gallows Hill. I love Lois Duncan, she is one of my favorite authors of all time. I've read all of her books and this one was one of the best. If you like realistic/informational books this is the book for you. You can't just pick up this book and expect to finish it in one day. You really have to get into it and enjoy it, to be able to finish it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2007

    Good Book

    This book is pretty good, but not something to rave about. It's exciting and mysterious but some of it is also a little stupid and childish. If you really really like books about witches and reincarnation, you should probably read this. If you don't, you might want to pick something else.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2006

    awsome

    I love this book. It is my favorite book by Lois Duncan. She is the best writer i know of and all her books are great but this one is the best. I highly recommened it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2006

    kept me reading

    Of all the Lois Duncan books I have read, I would say this one came in #3-out of 6. This book was so great, I actually felt like I was there. I could feel whatever emotion Sarah was feeling. I enjoyed this book and like the way it ended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2006

    i guess it's worth it

    sometimes i really don't like lois duncan's books, but this one was pretty good. what makes these books pretty neat is she brings up subjects you know of but still don't hear too much about, like with the whole reincarnation and karma thing she used her. it made me think. it also was worked into the plot well. i'm reviewing this for a book club and i think my club picked a good book. the small-town thing even worked out, because rosemary and sarah weren't given much of a chance since rosemary was seen as an intruder. i just thought sarah's character was a bit weak. the language wasn't ALL like teenagers, but much, much closer than her usual books. hey, what can i say? it was a good read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2005

    Great book!

    This is the first book of Lois Duncan's that I've read. I choose to do a book talk over it at my school. I'm usually not into these types of books, mysterious. But I was really into this one.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 78 Customer Reviews

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