Rachel Hawkins
Hex Hall
Hex Hall, Book #1

Review brought to you by OBS staff member Annabell Cadiz

Synopsis: 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.

Review: I had instantly been intrigued to this book through the cover. One girl standing in a forest dressed in a school uniform. Another girl upside standing in a lake with a black cat. As soon as I read the blurb, I was hooked and I was not disappointed! Hex Hall was filled with witty banter, well defined characters, and tantalizing mystery.

The novel is told from Sophie’s point of view. She is a witch who was raised only by her mother. Her father she has never met so it’s been up to Sophie’s mother to teach her how to handle being a witch which has made Sophie pretty inept at creating spells. Most of the time, her spells don’t exactly go the way they are supposed to. One of Sophie’s love spells goes wrong at prom and Sophie’s mother sends her to a reform school called Hecate (Hex) Hall. It is a boarding school for magical children who haven’t exactly hidden their powers well in the human world.

I was very happy the book was told from Sophie’s point of view. She is too funny! She will cause you to have a lot of laugh out loud moments and you’ll shake your head in amusement. You will feel like Sophie is your friend and care about what happens to her. She is sweet and caring but is she also stubborn and strong. She doesn’t care about being Miss Popular. She just cares about being true to herself. She can be gullible at times but she has never had any real friends and has always felt like an outcast. She also doesn’t understand the magical world and has to learn as she makes mistakes but that’s what makes her endearing.

Of course, no YA novel would be complete without a set of villains and a really hot guy. Elodie, Anna, and Chaston are the top witches at the reform school. They are super powerful and have nasty attitudes to go along with it, especially, Elodie. Archer Cross is the hot boy on campus. He is, technically, off limits considering he is dating Elodie but that doesn’t stop Sophie from daydreaming about him. He is your all around bad boy: sexy features, toned up body, powerful magic, and huge vault of sarcasm at his disposal. I was surprised at Archer’s character because he comes off as being this egocentric jerk but turns out to have a heart.

The pacing of the novel is wonderful. You never feel weighed down. Sophie’s voice flows seamlessly with the plot as it moves forward. The chapters are just the right amount of length. The plot is filled with magic and a dark, sinister mystery as Sophie’s fellow pupils are falling victim to an unseen force attacking the school. All fingers point to Jenna, Sophie’s best friend who also happens to be a vampire. Jenna was, by far, one of the best characters in the book. She is open and loving but don’t mess with her, she will take you down! She cracked me up many times throughout the book and she is completely obsessed with pink which is my favorite color, so it was hard not to love Jenna *hehe*

The novel is a bit predictable but that didn’t stop me from enjoying Sophie and her story. The magic was so much fun and the characters were engaging. The twist at the end was a very nice touch by the author! It did, at times, seem as if the characters weren’t taking what was happening as seriously as they should, but I’m hoping in the next novel the author has the characters mature more. I also hope the drama intensifies since in Hex Hall, the drama was there but not as much as I feel it should have been considering the characters were facing such difficult and tragic situations.

Hex Hall is an easy and fun filled read. It may at times lean more towards humor instead of drama, and at times seem somewhat predictable, but the characters are lovable and the plot is very interesting. I look forward to reading the next novel, Demonglass, and continuing Sophie’s adventure.
For more information on the author and her novels go here.