School Spirits (A Hex Hall Novel)

Book review by
Karen Wirsing, Common Sense Media
School Spirits (A Hex Hall Novel) Book Poster Image
Teen ghost hunter blends into high school in fun spin-off.

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Kids say

age 11+
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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids will learn about the importance of folklore and also be introduced to Shakespeare's Macbeth.

Positive Messages

One of the major themes in School Spirits is learning to love people for who they are rather than what they do for a living. This is also a story about learning to accept the things you cannot change.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main characters in School Spirits show what it's like to be true friends. They prove their bond is unbreakable by being loyal, honest, and forgiving one another.


A ghost takes over a human body and stabs someone. She also attempts to kill a teacher, along with some of the students, by blowing things up and crashing a car. There's also mention of a girl who was burned to death. The violence in School Spirits is often discussed with humor.


Some kissing, and reference to a student in the past who had a sexual relationship with her teacher.


One student "flips off" someone, and the term "BS" is used.


Brands such as Dairy Queen, Walmart, and Converse are used to describe certain scenes.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that School Spirits, a spin-off of Rachel Hawkins' Hex Hall series, is the story of a teen ghost hunter named Izzy who, together with her quirky new friends, pursues an evil spirit haunting their high school. Legend has it that this ghost had a sexual relationship with her teacher and was then murdered. The ghost attempts to kill a teacher and some of the students by blowing things up and crashing a car. The only strong language is "BS," and the only sexual activity is kissing.

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Kid, 12 years old August 13, 2013


It's actually a really great book!

What's the story?

SCHOOL SPIRITS is about a 15-year-old ghost hunter named Isolde \"Izzy\" Brannick. Izzy and her mother are the only two Prodigium hunters left in the world. So, when it comes to hunting vampires, ghosts, and zombies, they have their work cut out for them. Since they're always on the move, Izzy has never had a normal childhood or attended any traditional schools. But, when an evil spirit starts haunting Mary Evans High School, she not only has to lay the evil spirit to rest as her first solo assignment, but also faces the even greater challenge of blending in with her high school peers.

Is it any good?

School Spirit unfortunately saves most of the action until the very end; however, the thoughtful small details and subplots are engaging and entertaining. Izzy and her mother live alone, except for the 400-year-old warlock boy, Torin, who trapped himself in a mirror with a spell gone terribly wrong. He's been Izzy's only friend growing up, but there are some things a boys locked in a mirror can't teach a teen girl, like how to paint your toenails and play dodge ball, the purpose of pep rallies, or, more important, anything about pop culture.

Along with awesome details such as flamboyant glitter-wearing vampires and a grimacing centuries-old boy learning modern-day slang, author Rachel Hawkins gives her audience quirky and intriguing characters that readers will enjoy learning more about in the planned sequel.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Familes can talk about the theme of magic. Why are books about magic, such as the Harry Potter and Twilight series, so popular? 

  • Families can also talk about the importance of folklore. What are some legends that you've learned about in different cultures? What's the significance of these legends?

  • If you read the Hex Hall series starring Sophie, how do you think School Spirits compares? How do you think Izzy compares with Sophie as a main character? 

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love everything magic

Themes & Topics

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