Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Published by Hyperion Books

Sixteen-year-old Sophie Mercer just learned three years ago that she is a witch. Her mother, a non-witch, has been as supportive as possible, while at the same time refusing to give Sophie any information about the warlock father she’s never met. When Sophie casts a love spell for a friend that goes horribly wrong, she’s sent to Hecate Hall, a reform school for witches, faeries, and shapeshifters. In her first week at Hex Hall, she’s made enemies with the most popular girls in school, befriended the only vampire there, and developed a crush on a seriously off-limits warlock. But there’s danger at Hex Hall – someone or something is attacking the students – and her best friend is the main suspect.

I had lunch with Sandy and Heather last week and they inspired me to feature a Halloween-themed book for today’s post – the only problem was, I had to read one first! So I knew I needed something light and fun that I could read quickly, but also something with that creepy Halloween factor, and Hex Hall turned out to be the perfect choice. I flew through the book, enjoyed every minute of it, and what could be more Halloweenish than a school full of witches, faeries, werewolves, and vampires?

I’m sort of over the whole paranormal/supernatural YA trend, but Hex Hall is so different from lots of other books in that genre in that it’s got a lighter style to it – it feels more YA and less supernatural, if that makes sense. Sophie is the kind of character the reader can easily get on board with – she’s realistic and very likable. I had a lot of compassion for her as she tried to navigate this world, completely new to her, without the aid of either parent. There’s one point in the book where she has a total breakdown after learning that there is a LOT she doesn’t know about her past or about what she’s really capable of as a witch, and I felt for her deeply. At the same time, Sophie is really funny and clever, and the novel had me laughing out loud on more than one occasion.

Hawkins took Hex Hall in a direction I wasn’t expecting, and the ending was the perfect set up for the sequel, Demonglass, which I will be reading soon. I loved the plot of the book because it always kept me guessing and Hawkins tossed in several surprises which made the story even better.

I definitely recommend Hex Hall. It’s certainly not the most serious of novels, but it’s really fun and totally engaging. I loved it!

Happy Halloween!