Hex Hall

 
Enchanting book about witty teen witch at reform school.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Tween fantasy lovers will be enchanted by this book, and excited to read its sequel, Demonglass.  Kids will get to know a bit about Lord Byron, who is the head English teacher at Sophie's school.

Positive messages

The main character shows that making the right decision is rewarding in the end.

Positive role models

Sophie is a thoughtful and independent girl who makes positive decisions based on her personal core values. She displays great strength, courage, and loyalty when turning down an enticing offer made by the school's popular girls, opting instead to be an outcast. She is also powerful and witty.

Violence

A high school girl is mysteriously murdered. Her body is found surrounded by blood, but details involving the cause of death remain unknown until book's finish. Also, a teacher lectures her students about hate crimes and to underscore her point, shows graphic depictions of hangings, beatings, and burnings. Hex Hall's high school students are then taught how to fight for self-defense purposes in their P.E. course.

Sex

Teenage friends mention losing their virginity. A detailed and very passionate kiss is shared between Sophie and her crush. Sophie's roommate is a lesbian.

Language

Certain girls are bullied and called names.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this fantasy novel is about a reform school where werewolves, fairies, witches, and warlocks roam -- and some not-so-friendly ghosts and demons. Whenever the ghosts and demons appear, this quixotic tale quickly becomes dark and eerie. Sensitive tweens might be frightened by the white and black magic talk, along with the mysterious demon that may or may not be killing off students. Parents should also know that certain characters are segregated and bullied, and a graphic discussion about hate crimes against magical beings takes place. This book is the first in a series featuring a witty, powerful main character who makes the right decisions, even when they're difficult.

What's the story?

Sophie Mercer has an unbelievable first day at Hecate -- or Hex -- Hall, \ a special kind of reform school for kids trying to tame their magical \ powers. When she arrives, school heartthrob Archer Cross immediately \ saves her from a werewolf -- and she makes enemies out of the three most \ popular girls. From there, life only gets more intense for Sophie, who discovers that her powers are \ stronger than any other Prodigium (the collective name for shapeshifters, witches, and faeries). She's even stronger than her father, the head of the Prodigium and Hex Hall's benefactor. But Sophie has a lot to learn about who she can and cannot trust at Hex Hall. Luckily, she has her roommate and best friend, Jenna -- the school's only vampire -- on her side.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Rachel Hawkins' first novel is both enchanting and engaging. Readers will be swept up in the fantasy details immediately: At Hecate Hall, furniture changes form, werewolves prowl the courtyard, and fairies float by elegantly (and a little arrogantly) on iridescent wings. And the creativity continues throughout Sophie's story. For example, Lord Byron is the head English teacher (the romantic writer accepted the position at Hex Hall after adopting Vampirism on his death bed). The quick-witted main character herself is an American girl version of Harry Potter. Her clever first-person narration, as well as the authentic dialogue between teen characters, makes the book fun and accessible. Readers will quickly be simply spellbound by this first novel -- and be excited to continue this magical story in the sequel, Demonglass. 

 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what this story has in common with Harry Potter. Why are tales about witches, warlocks, and other fantasy creatures so popular with tween and teen readers?

  • This book has a sequel, Demonglass. Will you read that book? Are sequels usually as good as the original installment? Do they typically get more violent or mature in other ways?

Book details

Author:Rachel Hawkins
Genre:Fantasy
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Hyperion Books for Children
Publication date:February 1, 2011
Number of pages:336
Publisher's recommended age(s):11

This review of Hex Hall was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 11 years old May 28, 2011
age 11+
 

Hex Hall

Hex Hall is a fantastic book that never got boring. The plot was very mysterious and it kept you guessing. I finished the book in one day!!!
Kid, 12 years old May 1, 2011
age 11+
 
I LOVED this book. It did not get boring at all, and it was very surprising-- there were a lot of plot twists and a ton of mystery that always kept me on edge and wondering. Plus, there was nothing that I could guess about. I can usually guess what is going to happen, but not here! There was also enough fantasy to keep it very enjoyable. Another plus: I read it in two days on the Kindle, and I do no usually read fast on the Kindle. That is how good it was! I do not have anything bad to say about it, except that I was sad for it to end. Also, it is not too weird and unrealistic. Unlike Harry Potter (as an example) which I thought was a little silly and hard to believe at times, Hex Hall was more believable than you might expect.
What other families should know
Great role models
Kid, 12 years old July 14, 2013
age 12+
 

its put a spell on me

good but there is a passionate kiss and swears but good love it
What other families should know
Educational value
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing

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