Author: Rachel Hawkins
Series: Hex Hall #1
Release Date: March 2, 2010
Pages: 323 (hardcover)
Obtained from: the library
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.
Hex Hall begins like 95% of the other paranormal teen-goes-to-boarding school novels out there: the main character messes up and gets sent to reform school to get herself and her magic under control. Classic, right? But unlike other paranormal academy books, Hawkins has the lady balls to lightly make fun of the genre she's decided to write. I'd call this a supernatural spoof at it's finest! Though Sophie is quite naïve compared to the other students at Hecate Hall, she has a strong voice and a wonderful sense of humor about being exposed to drooling werewolves, stuck-up faeries, and vampires who are obsessed with the color pink. I was impressed with her ability to keep her chin up and moral compass pointed north (for the most part) even though she's labeled as a social outcast from the moment she arrives at school. The dynamics between the misfits and popular students at Hecate Hall offered the most entertaining kind of teen drama--except better, since they can use magic to curse each other's socks off...literally.
Though the world isn't as rich as oh, say, Harry Potter's, Hawkins does a good job building an underground paranormal culture. Filled with its own mythology, history, and crazy killer cults, she is able to construct a world within our world without showing us much of it. Even though the plot twists were fairly predictable, they were still fun to watch unfold since the book was such a quick read. Slipping into this world was as easy as breathing, and I had no trouble finishing it in a few hours. There are a number of clues and hints throughout Hex Hall that lead up to the ending, and it's obvious that these details will be used to build a frame for the sequel. Speaking of the ending...I was ready to upturn a table the second I reached the last page. Worst. Cliffhanger. Ever. Though the book ends in a logical spot, it's the kind of ending that will leave you wanting more. Like, 300 pages more. Thankfully, from what I've heard, Demonglass promises to be just as good as the first. So give the Hex Hall a shot if you like the genre and like to laugh. You won't be disappointed.
P.S. I don't normally talk about book covers, but can somebody who has read Hex Hall please, please, PLEASE tell me what is up with the cat on this one? There wasn't even a cat in the book! In fact, I don't think there was even a cat mentioned in the book. If somebody can solve this mystery for me I'll love you forever.