Hex Hall

Book review by
Karen Wirsing, Common Sense Media
Hex Hall Book Poster Image
Popular with kids
Enchanting book about witty teen witch at reform school.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 16 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

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 & Representations

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.


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.


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.


Certain girls are bullied and called names.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written by3boysn1girl September 26, 2012

Mild Sexuality

The main character's best friend is a lesbian and another character has decided to "give away her v-card" to her boyfriend on the night of an upc... Continue reading
Parent of a 12 and 15-year-old Written byDanielP 5 January 9, 2016

The best EVER

This is a book about a girl who has magical powers and her name is Sophia. She likes to be called Sophie though. The principal, Mrs.Casnoff, is excited Sophie c... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byelderwandwielder September 11, 2016


This book is absolutely amazing! The mystery starts out subtly, but builds up a gripping impact. Kids 12 and up should be able to handle the mild sex (a steamy... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bydoramadjaric December 19, 2018


I think this book is perfect for someone who likes fantasy and romance but also a good adventure. Personally I really loved the book (also the other two books f... Continue reading

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?

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. 


Talk to your kids 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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love magic and monsters

Themes & Topics

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