Cover of Hex Hall: Girl in a school uniform standing in front of a lake which is reflecting a different version of her wearing a green dress

About the Book

Title: Hex Hall (Hex Hall #1)
Published: 2010
Series: Hex Hall
Swoonworthy Scale: 5

Cover Story: Brown Bag It
BFF Charm: Yay!
Talky Talk: Whatever’s Clever
Bonus Factors: Boarding School, The Craft
Relationship Status: Housemates

Cover Story: Brown Bag It

This is by no means the worst cover we’ve seen here on FYA, but the private school uniform and Wiccan reflection don’t really do your image any favors.

The Deal:

High school is a minefield of embarrassment for any teenager, but imagine if your most shameful moments were amplified by magic. Like, you know the time you put on way too much concealer over a zit and ended up looking like a circus freak until you made it to the bathroom after first period? What if you tried to do a spell on your zit and ended up looking like a circus freak… until the spell wore off? This is exactly the kind of shizz that Sophie Mercer has to deal with. Born to a warlock dad and a human mother, Sophie views her magical powers as a serious social liability, esp. since they’ve caused her and her mom to have to move, like, eleventy times. Finally, after an incident at the prom involving a love spell, Sophie is shipped off to Hex Hall, a reform boarding school for magical troublemakers.

Can I just take a second here to ask WHY, after all of the movies and books written about juvie, do people think that reform school is ever a good idea? It’s like, “Hey, I’ve got a troubled teenager on my hands! You know what would really help? Throwing them into a place filled with MORE troubled teenagers! Of course!” Then again, people also think that prisons actually rehabilitate criminals so ANYHOODLE.

Assigned to a vampire roommate and nearly attacked by a werewolf on her first day, Sophie realizes that she definitely ain’t in Kansas anymore. Moreover, she’s missed out on a lot of magic history, specifically the fact that there’s groups of haters out there trying to wipe out her entire race. Wrestling with new knowledge about her family background, Sophie must also deal with regular old human problems–a crush on the hottest guy in school plus a trio of girls intent on adding her to their clique. Oh except strike that “regular old human” part, because these girls? They’re the most powerful witches in school.

BFF Charm: Yay!

Yay BFF Charm

Sophie makes it incredibly easy to like her. She’s hilarious and self-deprecating, and she has a heart for the friendless, because she knows what it’s like to be an outcast. Of course, she’s still a teenager, so she can be impetuous and a bit clueless at times, but I still had a blast getting to know her. Plus, with her magical powers, our slumber parties would be OFF THE CHAIN. We could do spells to create amazing dresses for ourselves and make our crushes fall in love with us and no, I obviously didn’t learn my lesson on the dangers of abusing magic because WHO CARES I’M CALLING RYAN REYNOLDS.

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

Even though he’s going out with the most heinous biotch in the school (isn’t that always the way), I understand why Sophie crushes on Archer so hard. He’s clever and charming and kinda cocky, yet he’s also nice to Sophie and treats her as a friend. I wouldn’t say there was major sparkage in this book, but there were a few tingly moments, and I am particularly thankful for Sophie’s eye for detail when it comes to the male physique.

Talky Talk: Whatever’s Clever

Rachel Hawkins writes in an easy breezy, straight up style, and Sophie’s voice rings loud and clear. She cracks lots of jokes, Buffy-style, and while some of them cracked me up, there were times when I felt like Hawkins was trying a bit too hard with the snappy comebacks. By the end of the book, I kinda understood why Sophie’s mom sent her away, because ENOUGH WITH THE CLEVER. Overall, though, this is a fun and quick read.

Bonus Factor: Boarding School

Regal old boarding school building with turrets and ivy on the stone walls

Boarding school, will our love for you ever wane? NOPE. The incarnation in this book is esp. amusing, since the regular cliques are taken to the next level, with faeries as the snobs and vampires and weres as the losers. And you know how I feel about faeries…

Bonus Factor: The Craft

The four teenage witches from The Craft

Although some of Sophie’s classmates are more of the Sabrina variety, the three girls who want her in their coven mean serious business. Led by queen bee Elodie, these girls are the Plastics of the witching world, and while they’re not batshizz crazy like our old pal Nancy, their hair is definitely full of magical secrets.

Relationship Status: Housemates

If this was our first night at Hogwarts, the Sorting Hat would totes put us in the same house. This book is fun and creative without taking itself too seriously, and we would have a blast together in the Quidditch stands or studying for a Potions exam. I don’t feel particularly close to it, nor would I go on a dangerous Horcrux mission with it, but I’d happily share a Butterbeer with it, esp. if it could teach me that love spell.

FTC Full Disclosure: I checked this book out of the library, and I received neither money nor cocktails in exchange for this review.

Sarah lives in Austin, and believes there is no such thing as a guilty pleasure, which is part of why she started FYA in 2009. Growing up, she thought she was a Mary Anne, but she's finally starting to accept the fact that she's actually a Kristy.