When Sophie Mercer turned thirteen, she 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 Hecate Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward prodigium, a.k.a. witches, fae, 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, tag-along ghost; and a new roommate, who happens to be the most-hated person and only vampire on campus. Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her friend Jenna is the number one suspect. Meanwhile, Sophie has a more personal shock to grapple with. Not only is her father the head of the prodigium council, he's the most powerful warlock in the world, and Sophie is his heir. 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. (From Good Reads)
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins is the perfect antidote for all things dark, depressing and disturbing. Hawkins does a fantastic job at creating characters who are fun to read and a plot that was complicated enough to engage, yet lighthearted enough to breeze through quickly.
What I liked most about Hex Hall was Hawkins' characters. Sophie’s repartee immediately pulled me into the story. She is quick-witted, throws some great zingers and stands up for herself even though at times she does it on an impulse and then second guesses herself later. I enjoyed how well she parlayed with Archer, a warlock who was the hunk of the school. I also liked how she was able to stand up against the three queen bee’s who always had something negative to say about Sophie’s vampire roommate. The various characters all played a role in making Hex Hall interesting and provided a variety of complications for Sophie to work through.
Which brings me to Hawkins' setting and plot. While there is nothing new about having a school of magic front and center as a setting, Hawkins definitely put a different spin on it. This school brings together witches, faes and shapeshifters, deemed delinquents because they have used their magic in front of humans. Adding Sophie to this mix is interesting because while Sophie knows she has powers and has used them once too often, she basically has no idea just how powerful her magic is. There are several complications in Hawkins' plot, but of course the biggest is that one girl has been killed, and others are being targeted and all eyes are on Sophie’s roommate. Add to this a love interest, and the ghost of great grandma past and believe me when I say this becomes an interesting story to figure out, and one that ends unexpectedly.
I really enjoyed Hex Hall and I am hopeful that this will not be the last we see of Sophie, and her adventures. Next time I expect we will get to know Sophie’s dad and maybe learn a little more about the powers that are trying to wipe out magical being.