Hex Hall – Rachel Hawkins

Synopsis From Goodreads.

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.

“I’m experiencing some teenage angst, Mrs Casnoff,” I answered. “I need to, like, write it in my journal or something.”

Initial Final Page Thoughts.
Wow, I read that book in about five hours…. I probably should get some food. Laughter is the only sustenance I need.

High Points.

Sorry, what was the question?
Sophie. Jenna. Boarding school. MAGICAL BOARDING SCHOOL FOR DELINQUENT PARANORMALS. Ghosts. Flirtytirty boys. Diversity. Cellar shenanigans. Tattoos. Curses. Bustles. Evil bwitches. Ms Hawkins’ deliciously wicked sense of humour.

Low Points.
Yeah, I’m morally opposed to faeries.
And characters being jammed into restrictive stereotypes…. LET THEM SOAR.

I loved Sophie and I could really relate to her because I have magical powers , I canoodle with warlocks on a regular basis, she’s such a massive goon. She was so useless and awkward and unaware of herself and goofy and sarcastic and she was such a refreshing narrator because she seemed really… well, real. So many books that I (and my friends!) read are completely saturated with AFPs who are so simpering and vomit-inducing and they get so angry and frustrated because they didn’t ask to be so heart-stoppingly beautiful and have all these boys fall over themselves to be with them. Gaaaaaah.
So, when Sophie exploded onto the page with her delinquent paranormal ways, her refreshing humour (a perfect vessel for Ms Hawkins’ gentle ribbing of the genre, no cliché is safe around her!) and boob sweat, it was like taking a breath of fresh air. Although, I wasn’t impressed by her opposition to freckles. What in the world is wrong with freckles?!

“So, I have a destiny,” I said. “Crap.”
Yes, sometimes Sophie’s sass and smart-arse comments bordered on a bit much… but if she toned that down just a tad, I imagine we’d be best friends forever and sit up all night eating delicious snacks and chortling over her being a witch and having sexy men fawning over her and how it was so cute that I was completely ordinary and stuck with the bad dog in cargo shorts and his excessive slobber.

Love Interest.
Well, in the beginning I could take Archer or leave him. Sure, he was pretty (“So you think I’m pretty?”), and clever and funny and a bit of a wild boy (WILD BOYS….sorry my Duran Duran references are a knee-jerk reaction now… or you could say a Reflex. Ohhh yeah) and he was a massive douche to Sophie but then, wait, he’s actually secretly nice and loves herjsaq9ijecdjksla;sohdfio02eidjfvsn… sorry I just fell asleep.
Yeah, he was fine…. He coasted. He was on my radar but he wasn’t making any waves.
That was until the end when he suddenly got much more interesting. And ripped, apparently. He’d been keeping that secret under his scruffy blazer and un-tucked shirt, wasn’t he?!
And then we have Cal, who isn’t necessarily a love interest in this book but I’m guessing he’s going to lope into the sequel with his plaid shirt and his axe and his rippling pectorals and his inevitable dark and brooding past that Sophie finds mysterious and intriguing.
But, yeah… I’ve not worked out how he’ll feature in the sequel yet. It’s got me completely betrothed baffled.

Best Friend.
Lesbian vampire. Um, LOVE IT. Jenna was fantastic and, although Sophie was sometimes a bit unnecessarily cruel to her (Um, wallowing in self-pity?! I’d like to see you try going through what Jenna did, Miss Mercer!), I liked the easy and natural sounding dynamic the two of them had. I have to admit when she came out of the coffin my eyes did begin to roll and my lips began to curl, my natural reaction to vampires. But I needn’t have worried because Jenna was actually a decent vamp and kick-ass unlike so many of her un-dead chums.

Theme Tune.
OK, when I first picked up this book I was all smitten and smug (smuggen?) because I had already chosen THE BEST SONG for this book. But then Ms Hawkins with her devious twists and turns (which I will not divulge) completely blew that out of the water. So I thought I was snookered.
But then I thought, no. Because I love this song and it is perfect for seducing unsuspecting warlocks in a basement this book…. Until it… well… wasn’t.

Angst Level.
4/10. This book is relatively tame in the angst level. Sure there are a few bits that are borderline grim, but this book is mainly a one-way ticket to FUN TOWN. (That’s right, FUN TOWN) And it was really refreshing to just sit back and take in the view.
Although… I gather the sequel is going to be a lot darker.
And that’s just fine by me.

Recommended For.
People who want to book a one-way ticket to FUN TOWN. OK, I promise that that’s the last time I’m going to say that… it’s actually making me cringe. People who are looking for a new fictional best friend that will make them realise how boring and ordinary their lives are. People who have always thought their world would end when their acceptance letter to Hogwarts got lost in the post… don’t worry, Hex Hall will take anyone. People who would be able to think of witty responses to a werewolf lunging for your jugular. People who are sick of others being suspicious when they ask them to join their secret coven. People who immediately think of singing Pocahontas songs when they’re outdoors. People who will always lust after the groundskeeper. People who wish their detentions had been that fun… mmmhmmm. People who maintain that boys who are rude/arrogant/downright nasty are just that way because they are completely and secretly besotted with you. It’s true. Right? People who wish their stoopid school had had a prom so they could wear beautiful dresses and get their hair done all fancy… we did get to go to Alton Towers though, which was amazing and didn’t end with a gabiilion girls crying in formal wear, which I imagine happens a lot at proms. Although, I probably would have more luck finding a prom date than finding someone to go on Air for the third time in a row. Wimps.

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