Reviews for Hex Hall

Booklist Reviews 2010 March #2
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.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Fall
After a spell gone wrong, witch Sophie is sentenced to Hecate Hall, a Hogwarts-like school for delinquent witches, shape-shifters, and fairies. The year brings an outcast vampire friend, a painful crush, and some mysterious attacks on students that Sophie tries to solve. The magical world is meticulously imagined and Sophie's casual narration is genuine; readers will look forward to the sequel. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2010 February #2
Veronica Mars meets Percy Jackson and the Olympians in an appealing, if not groundbreaking, series opener. After one too many well-intentioned spells goes awry, 16-year-old half-witch Sophie Mercer is forcibly enrolled at Hecate Hall, a school off the Georgia coast that serves as a juvenile hall for the magical beings called Prodigium, including witches, warlocks, faeries, shape-shifters, werewolves and a vampire. Sophie lacks her classmates' knowledge of Prodigium mores but successfully avoids being recruited into shallow Queen Bee Elodie's coven. This gutsy move costs her socially, but Sophie bonds with her roommate, the pink-obsessed vampire Jenna, and crushes wildly on super-cute bad boy Archer Cross. When students turn up drained of their blood, Jenna comes under suspicion, and Sophie, determined to clear her friend's name and armed with skills earned under the tutelage of her powerful ancestor Alice, turns detective. In spite of some clichéd, Dan Brown-influenced business with the top-secret Prodigium hunters L'Occhio di Dio, the snappy one-liners, loyal friendships and burgeoning romance will delight fans of Rosemary Clement-Moore's Maggie Quinn series. (Fantasy. YA) Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Journal Reviews 2012 October #1

Sophia Mercer is a young witch. She has a hard time keeping her powers to herself, which has resulted in 19 family moves over the past few years. When a spell goes horribly wrong on prom night, Sophia's absentee father, a powerful warlock, sentences her to exile at Hex Hall, a reform school for witches, warlocks, faeries, and shape-shifters. Even there, Sophie doesn't quite fit in. Mysteries about her family and dangerous school happenings help her unlock the answers as to why. VERDICT This series debut blends mystery, drama, fantasy, and a touch of romance. Cris Dukehart provides believable depth to Sophie and her high school cohorts. A fun, light read recommended for YA collections and those who enjoy the works of Cassandra Clare, Maggie Steifvater, and others in the genre.--Lisa Anderson, Metropolitan Community Coll. Lib., Omaha

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 January #3

Hawkins's proficient and entertaining debut is jam-packed with magical creatures and mystery. With no training on how to use the powers inherited from her absent warlock father, Sophie Mercer keeps making rookie mistakes that force her mother to move them around the country to avoid attention. But when, at age 16, Sophie makes a very public error with a love spell at the prom, she is sent to Hecate Hall, "the premier reformatory institution for Prodigium adolescents" (aka troubled shape-shifters, faeries, and witches like Sophie). She hits it off with her vampire roommate, Jenna, but three gorgeous and powerful witches have declared Sophie an enemy (she nicknames them the "Witches of Clinique"); she has a wicked crush on someone else's boyfriend; and at least one teacher is out to get her. When attacks on students get pinned on Jenna, Sophie is determined to find the true culprit. Sophie stumbles into answers more than searches them out, but the story is well paced and plotted with tween-friendly humor and well-developed characters, particularly awkward but compassionate Sophie. The ending satisfies while paving the way for future books. Ages 11-up. (Mar.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 October

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, CA

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VOYA Reviews 2010 June
Hecate Hall (or Hex Hall, as it is called by the magical teens sentenced to attend there) is no Hogwarts. Instead, it is a reform school for young Prodigium (witches, vampires, shapeshifters and faeries) gone bad. Sophie, a young witch, unleashes a chaotic and ill advised love spell at her high school prom which lands her in Hex Hall. Upon her arrival, Sophie immediately faces plenty of problems, both magical and mundane - bunking with a vampire suspected of killing her previous roommate, an epic (but hopeless) crush on the most popular warlock there, a trio of beautiful and power-hungry witches and the toughest teachers ever. Most disturbingly, a centuries-old secret society is intent on wiping out all Prodigium (particularly Sophie, thanks to the surprising identity of her long absent father), and Hex Hall is the epicenter of their efforts. This book is an interesting mix of styles, offering clever homage to Harry Potter and other books in the supernatural genre while integrating elements of contemporary teen book series such as The Clique. The first volume in a planned series, this book will draw readers to the series with plenty of romance, mystery and a last minute cliffhanger decision. Libraries serving teen readers, particularly girls, will find a receptive audience for this debut book by a promising new writer for young adults. While the story of a school for magical young people may not be new, the twist that this book offers is refreshing.--Sherrie Williams 3Q 4P J S Copyright 2010 Voya Reviews.