Rachel Hawkins is a 20-something former teacher who left teaching to take a chance and get serious about finishing that book she'd always wanted to write. Her first book, Hex Hall, was the result of that leap of faith. She's a graduate of Auburn University in Alabama and lives with her husband and three-year-old son.
Sophia Mercer is a young witch. She has a hard time keeping her powers to herself, which has resulted in 19 family moves over the past few years. When a spell goes horribly wrong on prom night, Sophia's absentee father, a powerful warlock, sentences her to exile at Hex Hall, a reform school for witches, warlocks, faeries, and shape-shifters. Even there, Sophie doesn't quite fit in. Mysteries about her family and dangerous school happenings help her unlock the answers as to why. VERDICT This series debut blends mystery, drama, fantasy, and a touch of romance. Cris Dukehart provides believable depth to Sophie and her high school cohorts. A fun, light read recommended for YA collections and those who enjoy the works of Cassandra Clare, Maggie Steifvater, and others in the genre.-Lisa Anderson, Metropolitan Community Coll. Lib., Omaha (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Gr 8-10-Sophie Mercer doesn't seem too different from your average 15-year-old-except that she's a witch, and not a very good one at that. A botched prom night spell lands her in Hex Hall, a reform school for witches, fairies, and shapeshifters located in an isolated part of Georgia that's right out of a Gothic horror novel. Before the end of her first day of school, Sophie has a crush on Archer, the cutest boy on campus, meets her roommate, Jenna, who's a vampire and an outcast among the students, and makes enemies of the three queen bees. Soon Sophie is deeply involved in a campus mystery-who's responsible for the death of Jenna's old roommate and several nearly fatal attacks on this year's students? Is anyone safe at Hex Hall? Since Harry Potter, there have been a seemingly endless stream of children's and YA novels set at schools for supernatural kids and teens, but Rachel Hawkins's novel (Hyperion, 2012) stands out by gently poking fun at the tropes of the genre, with a manga-loving vampire who decorates her dorm room in hot pink, for example, and Lord Byron, a vampire, cast as the school's English teacher. Cris Dukehart perfectly captures the sarcastic sense of humor of the narrator and does a credible job voicing the other characters, including the different accents required for the headmistress, the other teens, and a British ghost. First in a trilogy, this audiobook would be an excellent addition to school or public library collections.-Margo Tanenbaum, Rancho Cucamonga Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.