Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Hex Hall #1
Published March, 2010
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 student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the #1 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.
I am a huge sucker for boarding school settings, especially when there are "magical" courses. So this book was right up my ally. Sophie is a teen witch who's spells always seem to go wrong somehow, she has lived in 19 different states in her lifetime of 16 years, always needing to move after a spell goes wrong. After the most recent incident, her Father (who she has never met) sends her to Hecate Hall, a reform school for Prodigium kids who "have risked exposure of their abilities". Sophie was a very funny character, she says some pretty witty things that had me laughing out loud at times. She learns a lot about the Prodigium world and I sometimes pitied her for her complete lack of knowledge, but she handles it pretty well.
Her roommate, Jenna, is a vampire who has a thing for the color pink. During the previous school year something horrible happened to a student and most feel that Jenna was responsible. This has made her even more of an outcast and while Sophie at times felt nervous around her "eating habits" the two become good friends. The book doesn't go into much detail on the classes Sophie takes, but I found that I didn't really mind. The book does go somewhat into detail on their physical education course, which is more like a Defense class. Sophie's first day of that particular class made me cringe. Poor girl.
When attacks on students start up again, Jenna is immediately blamed as she is a vampire and never seems to have an alibi. Sophie can't help but feel a little uncertain about her innocence, but resolutely stands by her side. It was admirable and I liked her more for it, she is loyal and sympathetic even when it comes to those three witches who have messed with Sophie since the fist day of school: Elodie, Chaston, and Anna. If it isn't Jenna, then who or what is behind the attacks? When the ghost finally makes contact Sophie is surprised to learn who it is and what it can offer her. The ending has one of the best last lines I've ever read. I literally made me say "whoa" out loud. I hope I get to learn more about the groundskeeper, Cal. He isn't in the story much but I felt he played an important role.
I give this book 4 Stars!