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Hex Hall Book One Paperback – February 1, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8-10-Sophie Mercer doesn't seem too different from your average 15-year-old-except that she's a witch, and not a very good one at that. A botched prom night spell lands her in Hex Hall, a reform school for witches, fairies, and shapeshifters located in an isolated part of Georgia that's right out of a Gothic horror novel. Before the end of her first day of school, Sophie has a crush on Archer, the cutest boy on campus, meets her roommate, Jenna, who's a vampire and an outcast among the students, and makes enemies of the three queen bees. Soon Sophie is deeply involved in a campus mystery-who's responsible for the death of Jenna's old roommate and several nearly fatal attacks on this year's students? Is anyone safe at Hex Hall? Since Harry Potter, there have been a seemingly endless stream of children's and YA novels set at schools for supernatural kids and teens, but Rachel Hawkins's novel (Hyperion, 2012) stands out by gently poking fun at the tropes of the genre, with a manga-loving vampire who decorates her dorm room in hot pink, for example, and Lord Byron, a vampire, cast as the school's English teacher. Cris Dukehart perfectly captures the sarcastic sense of humor of the narrator and does a credible job voicing the other characters, including the different accents required for the headmistress, the other teens, and a British ghost. First in a trilogy, this audiobook would be an excellent addition to school or public library collections.-Margo Tanenbaum, Rancho Cucamonga Public Library, CAα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From Booklist

If Meyer’s Twilight series embodies the romantic supernatural, Hawkins’ debut novel exemplifies the supernatural spoof. Sixteen-year-old Sophie Mercer, whose absentee father is a warlock, discovered both her heritage and her powers at age 13. While at her school prom, Sophie happens upon a miserable girl sobbing in the bathroom and tries to perform a love spell to help her out. It misfires, and Sophie finds herself at Hecate (aka Hex) Hall, a boarding school for delinquent Prodigium (witches, warlocks, faeries, shape-shifters, and the occasional vampire). What makes this fast-paced romp work is Hawkins’ wry humor and sharp eye for teen dynamics, especially between the popular and the misfit crowds. Sophie is a multidimensional character, both likable and believably flawed. Secondary characters lack her depth, but their more broadly drawn portraits are in keeping with narrator Sophie’s impressions of her teachers and classmates. Many clever touches (vampire Lord Byron teaches literature), spot-on depictions of classic teen situations (crushing on the queen bee’s boyfriend), and an ending that leaves you hanging will have readers grabbing for the sequel. Grades 8-11. --Debbie Carton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 18 and up
  • Grade Level: 9 and up
  • Series: Hex Hall (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion (February 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423121392
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423121398
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (411 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 56 people found the following review helpful By A Very Merry Shakespeare on March 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I want to begin with, Bravo and Bring on the Movie!

Sophie Mercer has been carted around to nineteen different schools throughout her very young life; we first meet her at one particular school on prom night. Sophie feels bad for a young woman crying her eyes out in the ladies' room; the young girl is dateless to the prom and wants this to be rectified. Sophie takes her out to the parking lot, tells her to close her eyes, and think about THE boy who she wants with all her heart to be her escort. Dark clouds amass above their heads; a purplish light glows within the black core; and green lightning rains down from above... Yes, the girl's wish is granted, but the nice, sweet prom quickly turns into Carrie. Suffice to say, Sophie is on her way to her twentieth school.

She arrives in Georgia in the brutally hot month of August on her beloved mother's arm. She's being sent away to Hecate Hall - a reformatory school for witches, shapeshifters, faeries, and other even more non-humans, who have flaunted their skills in the wrong places, risking exposure to their world. This is no Hogwarts, people; Hecate Hall is a cold, two-hundred-year-old mansion that looks like something out of a horror movie, with fugly wallpaper and an addition of pink stucco that goes off the back of the house and into the woods. Sophie's very first meet-and-greet with a supernatural being comes in the form of a young man named Justin, who turns and snarls at her while transforming into a werewolf. Sophie raises her finger, screams "bag dog," and basically sees him as a cocker spaniel standing on his hind legs. (This is what I love most about this writer - she's wonderfully sarcastic).

Sophie's roommate is Jenna, a young girl who is a vamp and is at Hecate Hall on scholarship.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By K. Knight on May 20, 2011
Format: Paperback
NOTE: As an adult reader of YA books, I realize I am not the target market for these books and a lot of my disappointment with this book probably stems from the fact that the tone is very teenage (not all YA books are like this). Reviewing it for adult readers, I would give it 2 stars. If I were a teen, though, I probably would have given it 4 stars...so I averaged them. My review is geared toward adults who enjoy YA novels.

This is also the first in a series (Demonglass is also available).

This book kept appearing on my recommended list, and the premise sounded interesting, so I picked it up. It was a fast read, and certain elements of the book were strong (Sophie's character was well-rounded, the details allowed me to easily picture the scene and the supernatural elements were dealt with in a believeable way. Also Sophie's vampire roomate (and her story arc) was great).

My main issue with this was the feel of it. The pop-culture references annoyed me. Sophie's dialouge (especially when dealing with the 'mean trio') annoyed me. It's like 'The Craft' at a boarding school. (Trio of bad girls seeking a fourth...death and destruction ensue). The ending (I don't want to give it away) was pretty predictable, though the twist with Archer (the one-dimensional love interest) surprised me.

I don't want to sound overly critical, because it seems like a lot of people really liked this book, and if I was a teen, I probably would have, too. But if you're an adult reader who likes YA novels, I'd recommend skipping this one.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jamie E. on December 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover
When I first started reading this I was not sure I wanted to finish it. It came across as VERY young adult. The first person narration style we get for Sophie is bona fide teen speak. So while I could quickly see this appealing to teens (13-17) I had a hard time thinking of anyone over the age of 20 that would enjoy being stuck in her head. Luckily I gave it a few chapters and it does mellow out a slight bit enough to tolerate. Through in some her snarky personality and it made the book reasonably enjoyable.

Before I go too far I want to be sure to explain that that my initial dislike of the book is bad for many others but the book, while having strong paranormal aspects, is in effect a teen drama/contemporary. Instead of the tradition jocks/nerds/cheerleader/etc cliche high school crowds we get fairies/werewolves/witches. Otherwise think high school with dormitories and that is Hex Hall. Now I have never been a big contemporary fan and I prefer my YA to be a bit more on the mature side than this. However, for the average high school student this book is perfect and most likely easy to relate to.

While the book started out with a major eye role, Sophie's character is one that is amusing to read through. The witty remarks made me grin sarcastically in several scenes. She is sent to Hex Hall after one too many spells have gone quite wrong to learn better control. Little does she know that she is in for a less than friendly welcome due to past events beyond her control. She is behind on her magic, has the only vampire for a roommate (and said vamp has a slight obsession with the color pink) and her family has quite a few skeletons in their closet that she must confront! Not to mention the attacks that are happening on the students!
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