Hex Hall – Rachel Hawkins

“The “Holy-crap-that’s-a-lot-of-pink” Zone would have been a more accurate description.
I don’t know what I was expecting a vampire’s room to look like. Maybe lots of black, a bunch of books by Camus… oh, and a sensitive portrait of the only human the vamp had ever loved, who had no doubt died of something beautiful and tragic, thus dooming the vamp to an eternity of moping and sighing romantically.
What can I say? I’ve read a lot of books. 
But this room looked like it had been decorated by the unholy lovechild of Barbie and Strawberry Shortcake.”
Sophie is a witch, coming into her powers at twelve meant changing schools after every ‘incident’ she had. So after accidently casting a love spell that turned out to be so strong the guy nearly killed herself to get to the girl he’d been made to fall for, it’s not unusual that Sophie has to change schools again. However this time, her new school is more like a prison and it’s full of people just like her. Sentenced to education at Hex Hall, a special school for Prodigium (the “fancy Latin word for monsters”), by the Council, Sophie finds that her fellow witches, warlocks, shape shifters and fairies aren’t the nicest of people.
She makes friends with another outcast, Jenna, who happens to be the only vampire student but soon finds that Jenna’s old roommate died last year and when there are more attacks on some of the students everyone believes that Jenna is to blame. Sophie is convinced of Jenna’s innocence and is certain that there’s something else going on at Hex Hall. As more strange things happen Sophie starts finding out more and more about prodigium, herself and her own family history, and it’s not all good.
Hex Hall is a brilliant, funny and sometimes scary book to lose yourself in. I read the entire book in two sittings and I loved every second of it. The whole pattern of events was so carefully thought of that you could tell so much had gone into writing this book.
Sophie is a brilliant example of a 16 year old girl whose world has been turned upside down. She is forced to change schools again, for the umpteenth time, but this time its made worse by the fact that she has to leave her mum as it’s a boarding school for a range of people with mixed “abilities.” Sophie is pretty naive when it comes to prodigium. She doesn’t know a lot about the world of the supernatural, in fact that an understatement, as proved when she tells a werewolf that’s lurching at her that he’s a “bad dog.”  She also doesn’t know that her father is a very powerful warlock either, or that there are dark and white witches. She’s thrown head first into a world that she knows nothing about and this comes across very well in her manner.
I loved the humour elements of the book. It was refreshing to have a supernatural/fantasy book that had so much humour entwined into it. I felt like the humour was definitely an aspect of Sophie’s character coming out of the book though. As its told from Sophie’s perspective, as a first person narrator, I thought that the story, and Sophie’s speech, became funnier when Sophie was upset. It seemed like it was kinda Sophie’s way of dealing with the craziness of everything and I really did love it. There was a definite element of sarcasm throughout the book too which I always adore!
The love story element within the book really got to me too. I liked the way it panned out, even if it wasn’t perfect! It was the normal girl falls for boy who everyone loves, kinda story but with a twist and I did like that a lot. I liked Jenna’s take on it too, Jenna is so my type of girl! I think she’s the one character I think I could relate to the most from any book I’ve read recently!
As with every book there are so elements that I didn’t like. I think Sophie was a bit too naïve, especially with the whole thing with the three girls and defense class towards the beginning of the story. I was just like “NOOOO DON’T LISTEN TO THEM!” and then “OH MANNNNN WHAT ARE YOU DOING!!???!?!” but I guess it was integral and showed just how unaware she was from the things that came later on.
The only other element was the lack of swearing. I really don’t like that some young adult books don’t include swearing, especially when it is blatantly there, which it is in this book! This isn’t to say that I think every YA book should include swearing, but it’s like, young adults swear, some swear a lot, some don’t, if you’re character is one that is the type to swear then let them. I usually don’t comment on this type of thing but In Hex Hall Sophie actually does swear but it’s not written; “’Screw them.’ Except I didn’t say ‘screw.’ There are certain times when only really bad words will work, and this was one of them.” I understand that not every person would be happy with swearing in a book, but this was once and it was justified. I think it would have been just as powerful and appropriate if the “really bad word” was used here. I’m not asking for every YA book to have F’ing and blinding all over the place, just let the words flow and if one or two are swearwords then screw whoever doesn’t like it because I’m damn sure the majority of the kids reading the book won’t mind it!
With these negatives put aside (sorry for the little rant) Hex Hall is bloody awesome. I loved the book, the characters, the setting, the history, man I even loved the teachers, especially Lord Byron!!  I loved that although the swearing wasn’t there the acceptance of homosexual relationships was and it wasn’t treated like a big deal. And I loved the way that it made me laugh so much I got strange looks from my boyfriend and his son! However, I didn’t love the fact that I now really, really need my library to get the next book in so I can get that one read too!
Hex Hall was a laugh a minute, it grabbed you and made you giggle along with Sophie, gasp when she gasped and understand every moment when Sophie longed for her mum, even if it was to scream at her! I really recommend this, especially if you want an introduction to the kind of stories that tell of witches and warlocks, vampires and fairies, and even a few mountain lions! It’s such a funny, brilliant story, even when it’s got a bit of a scary twist! 


  • Vivienne

    I wasn’t expecting this to be funny as well as scary. I have never been attracted to this one and I really don’t know why, because as I read your review,it really appeals to me. I think it is the title that puts me off.

  • Raimy-rawr

    It wasn’t scary in the Argh! sense of the word, it was kinda more “what the hell is going on?!” kinda sense! It was suspense kinda scary… If you get what I mean! I don’t think the cover does the story any favours if I’m honest, I only wanted to read it cos I’d read so many good reviews, I prob wouldn’t have given it a second glance if I hadn’t! X

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