When I saw the ARC for Hex Hall sitting on a friend's bookshelf unread, I grabbed it. He thought I was nuts, by the way, at how giddy I got over it. This is one of the Tenners books I had been looking forward to reading, and since I don't yet have (ahem) a contact at Hyperion, I was so excited to get my hands on this one.
Rachel Hawkins introduces us to Sophie Mercer, a normal, somewhat rebellious, somewhat snarky teenager. She's a witch with no impulse control. When a spell goes wrong and turns a perfectly lovely school dance into a "Carrie Prom" she is sent to Hex Hall, a boarding school for misfit witches, warlocks, faeries, and shape shifters. It's like Hogwarts meets Sunnydale.
On Sophie's first day, she finds out that her roommate is a vampire, she already has a crush on a hot (and unavailable) warlock, she has caught the attention of three of the prettiest and darkest witches at Hex Hall, and she's being stalked by a ghost. She is just trying to get through her days and make some friends. Unfortunately, students are being attacked, and they are all members of the same coven - a coven she may or may not have agreed to become a part of. Several groups have been known to hunt witches, especially the L'Occhio di Dio, but she can't make all the pieces fit. She somehow finds herself in the middle of this dangerous mystery, all while learning some startling news of her own family's past...and present.
Hex Hall has everything a YA reader wants -- cool supernatural beings, a gorgeous love interest, girls we love to hate, laugh-out-loud witty banter, and a main character we can root for.
I was happy to learn that Hex Hall is the first in a series by Rachel Hawkins. While she wraps up her story nicely, she leaves us thirsty for more. I look forward to the next installment of Hex Hall! Congratulations to Rachel Hawkins for a knockout debut novel!
Parents' Note: While some YA books cross the line of what may or may not be appropriate for younger readers, Hex Hall is one that I recommend without hesitation. Yes, there is a love interest, and discussion about girls losing their V-Card (thank you, Sheri, for translating what this was), but Rachel Hawkins doesn't cross the line. It's steamy without being dirty. And while the supernatural action is exciting and spooky, it's not too gruesome or gorey.
About the Book: Hex Hall (Hex Hall, Book 1) by Rachel Hawkins
Reading level: Grades 9-12
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH (March 2, 2010)