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
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.