It's been on my TBR list for a while.
Counts towards my Fill in the Gaps (YA) Project Challenge.
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 student 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.
What I liked about Hex Hall
I think what stood out about this book above everything else was just how much fun it was. You have pretty much all the stereotypical magical (paranormal) things here, all the stereotypical "mean girl" things here, all the stereotypical girl crush on boy she hates things here, but combined they all make a wonderful guilty pleasure. The writing style is fast paced and there is a lot going on to make you want to keep reading. There is a mystery to be solved and it's great seeing everything come together in such a satisfying way. Rachel Hawkins is not afraid of doing terrible things to her characters either, which keeps the story really interesting and is a little refreshing. I liked the humour. There are a few times in the story where I'm just really glad I wasn't in any public place reading it :) And of course, I loved that despite how much fun this book was, filled with mystery and adventure, that at the end Sophie could really see the depths and implications of who (or should I say "what") she is. This moment really gave me a lot of respect for the author because I could really see the heart that went into creating the story that could get her character to these moments of reflection.
What I didn't like about Hex Hall
There really isn't that much I didn't like about Hex Hall. To be honest, I was really skeptical at first. The whole story kinda reminded me of a mixture of a lot of other books - Harry Potter, Practical Magic, Sookie Stackhouse, Gemma Doyle, etc. But it really won me over and despite the fact I found it really super predictable I couldn't help but like it. Perhaps those similarities are actually it's strong points. Other than that I'd say I wasn't completely taken by the characters. I didn't really have a character that I actually liked. And I could have definitely done without all Sophie's brooding over her having a crush on Archer even though she hated him. Luckily for the characters all their backstories were actually pretty interesting and they were kind of fun to watch and see taken down a few pegs every once in a while.
I read a library copy.