Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, action/adventure, romance, Young Adult
Length: Full length (352 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Lupine
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.
Hex Hall is actually an excellent book, though the blurb doesn’t do it justice–I nearly skipped over reading it because I wasn’t intrigued. Don’t let yourself be fooled. It’s a worthwhile story!
The book combines romance with humor and the seriousness of life problems. It’s a great read for the young adult. Sophie is a little bit naïve but she grows in her character well through the book and she has something that some female protagonists don’t: A brain. Shocking, I know. She’s sassy and a quick learner, who stands by her friends and doesn’t make unneeded drama about her life or angst over a teenage boy. She seems like a regular, normal teenage girl, except the fact that she’s a witch.
Even the usual hot love interest was a new spin on the usual. Archer was just a usual teenager who struggles with his life and the choices he’s made, but he doesn’t use that as an excuse to be sad and broken and “too bad for you” and Sophie never feels the need to “fix him”. I thoroughly enjoyed the setting and the plot, and though it never really picked up a lot, it never slowed down. It was steady enough to keep me turning pages, and though I usually like some more action in my books, I thought the author did a good job with the low key setting.
The ending was a bit of a slap to the face for Sophie, and I usually make fun of female protagonists longing for their crush, she actually has a legit reason to be confused on how she feels. I didn’t really like the stereotypical mean girls and the hot bad boy and the new girl and her awesome sidekick cliche that happened, BUT I would like to give the author kudos on making it better than usual. The bad boy isn’t a broken wreck, the mean girls aren’t stupid, the sidekick has a great friendship with Sophie that needs to be admired by the reader, and Sophie isn’t a dingbat. It’s a well written book that deserves all the credit it can get.