Monday, April 5, 2010

Book Review: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins


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.


This is an engaging, original take on the world of fantasy and mythical creatures. Pulled together in one school- a reform school for the monsters- are shifters/weres, witches/warlocks, and faeries. This alone makes this book stand out as unique but throw in the ghosts and the vampire and it is certainly a hit. The writing flows smoothly, keeping pace with Sophie and never dropping out of character while also engaging the reader throughout.

There are several strong characters in this book, holding some "cliche" type elements but casting them in a variated light to make them unique. Hawkins does a fine job casting understanding and empathy on unlikeable characters, as well as turning to the tables on seemingly innocent characters and shedding their outter skin to something harder to face. Sophie has her moments of weakness and her airheaded times that makes the reader want to slap her but Sophie is still a teenage girl- witch or not- and Hawkins portrays this fluidly. Archer is an equally compelling character, one filled with wit but also his own dark secrets and though he is the "hot bad boy," I also found myself falling for this adorable but hard shelled character.

The plot, while sometimes predictable, holds many unexpected twists and plays out nicely before leaving the reader with a cliffhanger ending to guarantee they will keep reading. From the shocking announcement that closes the book to a character who's fate is left unknown, Hawkins has panned this book out nicely and left a stunning lead in for the next installment. This is a strong debut by an author holding plenty of promise for future hits both within this series and other ideas.

Source: Finished hardbound copy received from publisher for review
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH; 1 edition (March 2, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1423121309
ISBN-13: 978-1423121305

Author's Blog


  1. Admittedly I thought this book sounded pretty lame so I didn't look into it all that much. But I think your review changed my mind. This actually sounds decent and one of those "cute" type reads so I'll definitely have to see if my library has it. :D

  2. Loved this book, wonderful review! :)

  3. I love this book!!!! :) Nice review darling.

  4. Fab review!
    I'm really looking forward to reading this. I've got it on order from the library so hopefully it'll come in soon.

  5. Great review! This one's on my TBR list. :-)

  6. Great review! Happy reading!

  7. This is currently the first book on my wish-list! I am absolutely dying to read it! Lovely review Kari :)

  8. I've read a bit of this, and enjoyed it!! Great review XD