Author: Rachel Hawkins
Publisher: Hyperion Children's
Published: March 2, 2010
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Source: Personal Copy
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 student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.
Sophie's always known she was a freak, so why not own it, right? When yet another of her spells goes wrong, Sophie's only chance at a normal life with others like her is at a boarding school called Hecate Hall, or to its students, Hex Hall. Sophie isn't pleased she's been condemned there, and she's even less pleased to see the offbeat school in person, meet the students and discover half her life has been a lie. But there are silver linings...her vampire roommate, though odd, is pretty nice and there's a crushworthy boy just lurking in the foreground. There are mysteries in Hex Hall though, and Sophie's past and future are tied to them, making normal seem like a very lofty goal.
Again, I'm late reading Hex Hall, mainly because when I first started reviewing, it was really hyped. You know me and hype - we don't get along so well. Anyway, I finally decided to read Hex Hall, and I was actually pleasantly surprised. The author, Rachel Hawkins, has a decidedly unique writing voice. It's conversational, easy to follow and allows one to easily access the characters' minds, especially Sophie. I read fast, but Hex Hall, though fairly long, is a fast read with a steady plot, plenty of twists and turns and a lovable heroine that kept me on my toes throughout.
I will say that I don't think Hex Hall, speaking generally, is the most original story (ie - school for magic, hot boy, new students, vamps, mean girls yadda yadda), BUT Hex Hall does present these common items in a unique and interesting way. Sophie's dialogue was consistently tangible to me. She uses slang, she's snarky and her sarcasm was something I could totally relate to. Furthermore, Hex Hall had secondary characters like the hot guy, Archer Cross, who managed to step outside of his stereotype into something a little more, and Sophie's vamp roommate was a great twist on a lot of vamps in YA fiction. Mixed together with an intriguing mystery, Hex Hall is a fun and inventive tale that had me rooting for and laughing with Sophie the entire time.
I'm surprised to say this, but Hex Hall quite lived up to its hype. I give it a strong 4 out of 5, docking points only for the underlying common themes, but I definitely recommend it. I think it would be enjoyable for those who like YA, especially paranormal books with vampires, werewolves and witchcraft.