Hex Hall, by Rachel Hawkins
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion Books
Release date: March 2, 2010
Website: Rachel's blog
Summary (from book jacket): 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 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 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 prepears for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.
Recently, I read a review that describes Hex Hall as a supernatural spoof. While I can certainly see how ti could be a spoof (in ways, it's reminiscent of Percy Jackson and the Olympians), I didn't read it that way at all, and I don't think it's meant to be a spoof. If it is, though, it's definitely awesome.
I loved the humor. None of it seemed spoof-like to me; it all seemed realistic and was placed perfectly throughout the novel. I don't normally laugh out loud when I read, but Hex Hall had me cracking up. I loved the scene where Sophie attacked her teacher during a defense class. It was well-executed and had me laughing (until it quickly took a very serious turn; then it was just sobering, and I really felt for Sophie). There were so many other scenes that had me laughing, like Sophie's self-described drama queen meltdown, and the moment when she and her crush, Archer, are talking about demons and she asks him if they're green and horny. Of course her question came out wrong; she really meant are they green and do they have horns, and I loved it, because it's definitely something I would say without thinking if I were her, and then realize too late how it sounds. Moments like this made it easy to like Sophie, with her strengths and flaws. She was an awesome, well-rounded character.
Hawkins did an amazing job of balancing the paranormal aspect of the novel with the realistic, human aspect. Like Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, Sophie has to learn how to deal with being a witch all while also being a teenager, and dealing with cliques, boys, and being an outcast in her new school. It's a story we read time and time again, and it could easily get old, but with her ability to weave suspense and humor seamlessly throughout the novel, Hawkins keeps it new.
Overall rating: 4/5