Hex Hall, Rachel Hawkins

Another school for young people to study magic may have some people sigh with exasperation from the start, but not me. I tend to find at least one thing to enjoy amongst the genre that is now drowning in clichés and attempts to be the next Harry Potter. After numerous odd events caused by her magic, Sophie is condemned to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for troubled freaks; witches, shapeshifters, faeries and the like.

Without control of her magic, Sophie is immature compared to her fellow classmates who have grown up with people who teach them to control their gifts. On the other hand, every time Sophie does a spell it goes horribly wrong. To make her feel even more like a freak amongst freaks Sohpie is roomed with the one and only vampire student. Though Jenna’s sweet, funny and obsessed with Pink Sophie is still ostracised for befriending her. As if all that isn’t enough she’s insulted the Coven of powerful black witches and is being stalked by a ghost.

With only one friend to help her, Sophie must navigate her way through this foreign school and gain control of her powers. The ghost, Alice, was an intriguing character and who she was even more interesting. Sophie struggles with her conflicting feelings for Archer, the heart-throb the world keeps throwing her towards. I didn’t love the attraction to the bad boy (every book has the sarcastic bad-boy love interest, it would be a breath of fresh air if the love interest is someone normal or a dork), but overall the development of their relationship was alright.

Jenna was my favourite character. She’s one of the sweetest characters in any series I’ve read. Her character was made even more intriguing by the fact that such a nice person was a vampire, a blood-thirsty creature. Especially in this world where vampires are viewed as the evil creatures skulking in the shadows. Though vampires seem like the least scary creature in this series.

It may seem a simple mix between Mean Girls and Harry Potter, but this series is able to stand on its own two legs. A well-developed world full of different magical races and real characters, Hex Hall is a unique series that is a fun read. Series of murders that began created an exciting mystery with a good twist at the end. I enjoyed this book, and I give it 4/5.

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