Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
When Sophie’s love charm goes horribly wrong at prom, she is sentenced to Hex Hall, a reform school for witches, shapeshifters, fairies and vampires. Having been raised by a non-gifted mother, Sophie knows little about the magic world which gets her into trouble at Hex Hall. In her first day, she is rooming with the controversial vampire, Jenna, she has angered three powerful dark witches, and she has a hopeless crush on one of the dark witch’s boyfriend. Could it get any worse? Throw in detention time spent cataloging garbage in a cellar, a strange spirit who won’t leave her alone, and family secrets and you have a wild ride of a book that is sure to please.
Hawkins has managed to write a story filled with witches, magic, vampires and other fantasy elements but also not to take herself too seriously. The writing has a lot of humor, much of it pitched directly at current fantasy novel tropes. Sophie herself is a character filled with sarcasm and a biting wit. Without this writing style, the book could have suffered from the over dramatic and serious tones of many of these novels. Here the lightness works well, creating a very funny and readable novel.
At the same time, the book is not just light. There are dark themes here, real dangers and delightful diversions. I quite enjoyed the mix of light and dark, humor and tension. It kept the pages turning quickly.
Recommended for fans and non-fans of Twilight, both will find reasons to enjoy this novel and to look forward to the rest of the series. Appropriate for ages 13-15.
Reviewed from library copy.