Hex Hall (Hex Hall, Book 1)
by Rachel Hawkins
Release Date: March 2, 2010
2010 Hyperion Books
Hardcover Edition; 327 Pages
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Source: Local Library
5 / 5 Stars
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.
I have always been intrigued by the paranormal, in particular witches and ghosts, so it came as no surprise that I would be thrilled to get my hands on a copy of Hex Hall. And I was not disappointed in the least. In fact, I read it straight through in one sitting, thoroughly enjoying the antics of its lead character, Sophie Mercer, as she tries to figure out who is killing all the young witches at Hex Hall.
Hecate Hall, most popularly known to the students as Hex Hall, is a reform school for young paranormals who have difficulty controlling their powers. Sophie, having been sent there for a spell gone wrong on prom night, is surprised by the paranormals she will soon be sharing her quarters with, including the young vampire with whom she will be sharing a room. I found Sophie to be charming and delightful, full of surprises and very quirky. I loved her humour and found myself laughing out loud at some of the things she said and did. I also found her quite naive, and because I could identify with her quite easily, her shocks became my shocks as well. Connecting with a character is very important to me, and I could feel her pain as she learned so many revelations about her father and her family from a source other than her mother. I was also proud of her that she remained so strong despite everything she had to go through, and I have to admire her loyalty to her friends. I enjoyed watching her grow and develop and begin taking charge of situations although she did not see herself as a leader at all. Naturally, because of her strong personality, she soon had run-ins with the popular crowd which included three very powerful witches who wanted her to join their coven, something Sophie was very reluctant to do, however much she wanted to be powerful. Her sarcastic wit is priceless and so very, very funny!
Although the plot could have been formulaic, the antics of its characters, and the surprising twists and turns, kept it from being plodding and predictable, to being interesting and great fun. I have to admit that I was surprised by some of the revelations in the ending, and although far from conclusive, kept me on my toes, paying attention to what was going on so I wouldn't miss anything. For those who like to have it all, Hex Hall certainly delivers in that capacity as you will find romance, love, suspense, teenage angst and heartbreak, mystery, suspense, and surprising twists and turns.
Ms. Hawkins definitely has a very lyrical style of writing that draws the reader into her very interesting and fun world. I enjoyed this novel and the characters tremendously and am definitely looking forward to the release of Demonglass in March 2011, where Sophie's adventures will continue.