Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It’s gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie’s estranged father–an elusive European warlock–only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it’s her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.
By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.
As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.
Why it’s my type: Funny, sarcastic protagonist; you never really know what might come tumbling out of her quick-draw mouth. I’m a sucker for pretty covers, and I totally want that green dress. Lots of truly unexpected turns, and an intricate mystery that will keep you guessing until the last few pages.
Memorable bit(s): “I spotted Archer and Elodie dancing, and my breath caught at how beautiful they both were: Archer, tall and dark, and Elodie, her hair glowing in the lights, her dress floating around her. But then I looked at their faces and saw that they were clearly arguing. Archer was frowning and looking at a spot somewhere over her head, and Elodie seemed to be talking a mile a minute.”
Hawkins does a great job of expressing a whole lot from afar, even while we readers are limited by Sophie’s point of view.
Pop culture references! OK, they’re out of control. But in a good way. After the first Harry Potter reference, I thought: Hm. I’m not sure I remember seeing this before, the whole, book within a book thing–but so casually and less allegorically–though I know it’s happened. But oh there are many more after that, and they’re all done well. 🙂
Recommendation: For those who like mysterious boys, and even more mysterious stories. You’ll enjoy both trying to piece together Sophie’s story with her, and her biting humor along the way.
Publish date: March 2nd 2010 by Hyperion.