Friday, February 3, 2012

Review: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Publisher: Disney/Hyperion
Publication Date: March 2nd, 2010

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.

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.
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

I read this about a year and a half ago, and since I just re-read it as a buddy-read with my daughter, I decided to post my review... First off, I have to say to that although I wouldn't have re-read this on my own, I think I did enjoy it more the second time around, already knowing the big reveal at the end (which I, obviously, won't share here).  I love Rachel Hawkins (ya'll should follow her on twitter because she makes me all the time with her tweets)!  She has the type of sharp, snarky wit that I love!  Add to that the fact that she's a Southern girl*, and this book is set in Coastal Georgia (my favorite place), and well, it's kind of made of win...

Hex Hall
is a cute book about a school for wayward witches and other Prodigium (fae, shifters, and the occasional vamp); more of a reformatory school than a boarding school.  It's not that the kids are bad (most of them, anyway), they just can't control their powers, so they have to hang out somewhere "safe", while learning some magical restraint, until they come of age.  It's also for their protection because there are organizations out there that would kill them if they got wind of what they are.  But who says they're safe at Hecate Hall?

Sophie is a bit different.  Her entire life, she was raised by her very human single-mom, who had no way to give her any guidance when she came into her powers.  The few times she innocently tried using her powers, the results were disastrous.  Finally, her very powerful Prodigium father, who she had never met, stepped in and demanded she go to Hecate.  When she gets there, she finds out her magic is small potatoes, that she has no clue WHO her father actually is, and what it really means to be Prodigium.  When she finds out, she's floored.  She develops a crush on the "it" guy, makes enemies out of the mean-girl clique of witches, and a BFF out of the school pariah, her vampire roommate, Jenna.  The one highlight for Sophie is that the ghost of her great-grandmother, Alice, starts visiting her and giving her lessons on how to use her powers more effectively.  When the mean-girls start being attacked and drained of blood, everyone's assumptions go right to Jenna, but Sophie believes she's innocent.  That's where the fun really begins...  There are a couple of really great twists that I never saw coming when I read this book the first time.  This book is light, smart, funny, and a an easy read.  If I could date a book, I would date this one.

The sequel to this book, Demonglass, came out about a year ago, and although I have not read it, it will be my next buddy-read with Emma, so stay tuned.  (I also happen to have an autographed copy of it to give away when the 3rd book, Spell Bound, is about to release next month.)  I'm not sure why I haven't gotten to reading it, but re-reading Hex Hall has gotten me super-excited to (for spoilery reasons I can't mention here)...

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Grade Level Recommendation:  There is some talk of sex (although no actual having of) and some mild language.  I would say a safe bet would be 6th grade and up (ages 11+).  I let my 5th grader read it because she is aware of these things, and has been for some time, but I understand that some 5th graders aren't, and that should definitely be a consideration.

*Disclaimer: Although I am originally from NY, I am a Southern girl at heart, and relate to Southern Girls.  Having lived in the South for 16 years, I can make that claim.  :)


  1. Nice review I thought this was pretty fun. I haven't read book 2 either and I should soon because i'm starting to forget what happened in this! O_O

  2. I've been waiting to read this book.I write about mermaids but I have a deep love for witchy things. Plus, I'm a New Yorker who wishes I were really Southern. :)

    saw you're doing the DAC! I'm hosting a giveaway for my debut THE VICIOUS DEEP . It's also up here


  3. Nice review. Can't wait to read it now but I can't, trying to stick with my to-read list


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