Reading Level/Genre:: Young Adult/Paranormal Fantasy
Publisher: March 2nd 2010 by Hyperion Book CH
"Being a witch had definitely not been as awesome as I'd hoped it would be. For one thing, I didn't get to fly around on a broomstick. (I asked my mom about that when I first came into my powers, and she said no, I had to keep riding the bus like everyone else.) I don't have spell books or a talking cat (I'm allergic, and I wouldn't even know where to get a hold of something like eye of newt."
Witches are extremely powerful beings. They possess extraordinary abilities that allow them to control the cosmos, alter reality, re-order time and conjure up the unspeakable. No wait. Scratch that.
Sophie is a witch, and well, she can't do any of that. The only thing she's managed to do in the past four years since she's come into her powers, is get hastily shuffled out of one school and town to the next whenever her odd behavior made the locals contemplate running for their pitchforks. Now her awesome- no, awful powers have snagged her a one way ticket to Hecate Hall, an alternative type boarding school for troublesome Prodigium (paranormals). Having been a reject in the human world her whole life, it's totally unfair that she be tossed into a school full of paranormals who all know more about witchcraft than she does. Not only does everyone, including the maintenance help know more about magic than Sophie, but they also know more about Sophie than she knows herself. Raised by a human mother and a mysterious warlock father who she's never met, it isn't just her lack of magic that has Hex Hall buzzing with Sophie's arrival- it's her family's infamous past. Now, not only does she have to endure the rigors of high school, and the frustration of being a less than average witch but almost everyone is against her because of who she is- and they may not all be alive.
This book had everything you would expect from a teenage boarding school story:
1. Failure to be accepted? Check.
2. Befriended by the school's only outcast? Check.
3. Fall for the REALLY HOT GUY? Check.
4. Hated by the "in" crowd? Check.
5. An elite paranormal extermination society out to kill you and being stalked by a ghost? Well...THAT'S not standard, but Check.
Another tidbit that isn't standard issue, is the suspense that comes with being able to trust everyone and no one at any given time in the story. It was a pin-the-tale-on-the-bad-guy free for all and the author changed who you could and couldn't trust at every turn. It left my head spinning, in a good way.
Sophie is an adorable character. She is cute and clueless, all the while possessing a sharp edge that makes her unafraid to tell those who deserve it where to stick it. When the school's elite trio, Elodie, Anna and Chaston, in true The Craft form (had The Craft been cool*) pressure her to join their coven of dark witches, she has sense enough to see that everything is not quite right with their offer. But even our sharp little Sophie can't resist temptation when it comes in the form of a mysterious green clad ghost that wants to help her develop her powers.
This was a delightful little read that kept me guessing, frantically turning pages and laughing out loud. Fast paced and hysterical, it was impossible for me not to adore the little witch. Write more Miz Hawkins. And write faster.
"She's wearing a scrunchie," I said. I had rocked some scrunchies in my day, but that had been when I was, like, seven. The thought of wearing one as a grown woman was just tragic.
"I know." Jenna shook her head. "We have this theory that it's her Portable Portal to Hell. You know, she just stretches it out and steps through whenever she needs to recharge her evilness."
The sequel Demonglass, is scheduled for release in March of 2011.
You can visit Rachel Hawkin's Blog at Reading Writing Rachel.
Quotes were taken from an ARC of the book and may differ in the actual released copy.
*The Craft was not cool.