Author: Rachel Hawkins
Genre: Young Adult
Release Date: 03/02/10
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.
Plot: 5 Stars
The YA market is filled with novels involving paranormal students going to a special academy or school that caters to their skills, but Hex Hall stood out and felt very original. I really liked how Hecate was a place for paranormal students to go when their powers put them in jeopardy of showing society what they truly are, instead of being a place all paranormals within the world had to go. The twists and turns within this novel kept me guessing until the last second, and I cannot wait for the sequel.
Pace: 5 Stars
I haven't read a book in less than three days for months, and I finished Hex Hall in 36 hours (with two seven hours shifts at work getting in the way). This novel grabbed me from the first page and never let go. There was never a dull moment in which I contemplated putting the book down for a little bit. Instead, I had to force myself to put it down so I could get some sleep.
Characters: 5 Stars
Sophie was a very likeable young adult main character. She did teen angst perfectly: just angsty enough that you feel for her, but not so much that it makes you crazy. She deals very well with being thrown into a new school filled with talented paranormal students, especially since they seem to know more about her father than she does. I also loved Sophie's roommate Jenna. It was nice to read a novel with a lesbian character without it being a big deal. Jenna tells Sophie that she likes girls when the subject of Archer (Sophie's crush she doesn't want to have a crush on) comes up, and that's that.
Cover: 4 Stars
The cover is very striking, especially after reading the novel and knowing the significance of the cover models. It just seemed a little too happy and cheery for a paranormal YA novel. It had almost a fairy tale feel to it that didn't match the more urban fantasy of the book. I was also a bit puzzled by the cat (since there wasn't one in the book) but I love cats, so it's ok in the end.
Overall: 5 Stars
Disclosure: I bought this book for my own enjoyment.