Monday, April 29, 2013

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins - review

Hex Hall
Rachel Hawkins

**** (four out of six)

Cover - I like the cover.  There's atmosphere, there are the trees mentioned in the story, the lake, the girl in the uniform and in the reflection?  maybe it's a ghost.

Hex Hall is one of those books that grab your attention from the very first page.  Told in first person, the narrative is humorous and best of all - SOUNDS like a teen girl.

After a spell gone bad, young teen witch Sophie is sent to a boarding school for other teens who've made the mistake of not blending in.  Hex Hall is a place for Fae, shapeshifters, witches and even vampire teens to learn how to control their powers and blend in.  Sophie is roomies with the only student that happens to be a vampire.  Seems vampires are kind of outcasts at Hex Hall - Sophie's roomie is the first vampire to be able to attend, and the other students aren't happy that she's there.  They also aren't too impressed with Sophie - and the fact that Sophie was brought up not know much about her heritage or powers doesn't help matters much...

So the story is cooking along, people are being met, conflict is introduced, stereotypes and bigotry between species, etc.  And then for me the story suddenly - about four fifths of the way in - stopped being so interesting to me.  Can't put my finger on the reason why.  Then suddenly - here comes the final conflict, some scary build up and..... a sudden quick resolution.  Almost anticlimactic.   I don't know if it's because it was YA, or if I'm possibly judging through eyes that are used to reading adult novels.  But the last section of the novel seemed almost like it was a different style of writing.  

However - overall, I still think Hex Hall was a good, interesting, chuckle inducing read with some suspense weaved within the story.  And there's just a bit of a twist in I didn't see coming at first.  Possibly, if I were about 13 or so, I would have been totally wowed.  But I'm in my 50's so that's most likely why I wasn't completely amazed by the story.  I still say that Hex Hall was a fun read though.  Fun with some laughs and that counts for a lot.  So does the fact that the teens sounded like teens.


  1. Hmm. Interesting take on it....though I haven't read it myself at this point, I've not heard a perspective quite like this. You bring up some good points though...especially about the teens sounding like teens...and something to watch for with the sudden drop in interest. Curious to find out exactly what caused that. Cie la vie, not every book is for every person. Better luck next read around!

    1. You're right. It's a good thing there's such a variety out there for all of us. I still enjoyed the book. I just didn't enjoy the last bit as much as I enjoyed the beginning and first sections.

      And yes! dialogue - and for first person - narration style needs to be consistent with the type of character being portrayed. It's a huge pet peeve of mine, almost an obsession. for example, there's nothing quite like reading a book about an intelligent woman who suddenly starts sounding like she understands nothing. Or a supposedly tough as nails person who has grown up without much of an education, fighting monsters, etc and speaks like a college professor. Gets to me every time. ;)