Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters. By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.
As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience: Fans of Firespell, paranormal and boarding school stories
High point: The complete package
Low point: Archer
Reader maturity: 13+
Hex Hall is one of those books that grabbed my attention from the very beginning, not through action or a clever hook, but by engaging me as a reader. I became immediately invested in Sophie's story.
Hex Hall reminded me of Firespell a little bit--school with supernatural students, quirky roommate, lots of sneaking about at night, but it's written from a totally different emotional angle. Though Hex Hall sets up for a series, it never felt like a set-up book. The novel is full and complete in its own right. I have questions and want answers about the Prodigium and Sophie's father and past, but I'm not totally frustrated by having to wait for the next book in the series. The characterizations were just right, and the writing pulled me into Sophie's dark world. I could picture myself sneaking around with her and experienced the same confusion that she did when her spells went awry.
The only thing I didn't like is that I didn't get Sophie's attraction to Archer. It just...her head and her heart seemed to be yanking her two different ways to me, but she seemed pretty certain. I did appreciate that she respected (for the most part) certain relationship boundaries. And though labeled "wayward," she's a pretty cool teen with a good head on her shoulders.
Hex Hall isn't heavy on the "witch" aspect and it's fairly clean so it should be safe for most YA readers. I really enjoyed Hex Hall, and I'm eagerly awaiting the sequel, Demonglass.
Title: Hex Hall
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Genre: Fiction - Supernatural
Book Source: Won from Book Love: Teen