School Spirits

School Spirits

Book rating: 03 Hardback Hex Hall

By (author) Rachel Hawkins

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  • Publisher: Hyperion Books
  • Format: Hardback | 297 pages
  • Dimensions: 148mm x 212mm x 30mm | 480g
  • Publication date: 14 May 2013
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 1423148495
  • ISBN 13: 9781423148494
  • Sales rank: 106,481

Product description

Fifteen-year-old Izzy Brannick was trained to fight monsters. For centuries, her family has hunted magical creatures. But when Izzy's older sister vanishes without a trace while on a job, Izzy's mom decides they need to take a break. Izzy and her mom move to a new town, but they soon discover it's not as normal as it appears. A series of hauntings has been plaguing the local high school, and Izzy is determined to prove her worth and investigate. But assuming the guise of an average teenager is easier said than done. For a tough girl who's always been on her own, it's strange to suddenly make friends and maybe even have a crush. Can Izzy trust her new friends to help find the secret behind the hauntings before more people get hurt? Rachel Hawkins' delightful spin-off brings the same wit and charm as the "New York Times "best-selling Hex Hall series. Get ready for more magic, mystery and romance! Praise for SCHOOL SPIRITS * "Ace plotting, snappy dialogue, unexpected twists, and an exhilarating finale will have readers eager for more." -"Publishers Weekly "(starred review) * "Hawkins dials the level of humor up to high throughout most of the book, with deftly phrased witticisms in both the narrative and her characters' dialogue. Her characterizations shine as original and funny, especially Dex and Torin, an Elizabethan-era warlock trapped for centuries in the Brannicks' mirror, who dispenses dubious advice." -"Kirkus," starred review "In true Hawkins fashion, School Spirits combines romance, intrigue, and the paranormal with humor and high-school drama to produce a light read that bodes well for another Hawkins series, this time featuring the Brannicks." -"Booklist" "[A]n exciting paranormal romance that provides a dynamic and riveting plot line that will keep readers eagerly turning pages." -"VOYA "

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Author information

Rachel Hawkins (www.rachel-hawkins.com) was a high school English teacher before becoming a full-time writer. She lives with her family in Alabama. To the best of her knowledge, Rachel is not a witch, though some of her former students may disagree.

Customer reviews

By Kate @ Fictional Thoughts 30 May 2013 4

As a Brannick, Izzy has a family legacy to maintain - to fight things that go bump in the night. But Izzy, her mother and older sister Finley are the only Brannicks left and after Finley goes missing in the middle of a job things are different. Taking some time off to search for Finley, months go by with no sign of the missing teenager. To try to move on Izzy's mother decides to get back to the monster fighting business and gives Izzy her first true solo mission - find and stop the ghost haunting a high school. Enrolled as a student and working undercover, Izzy gets to experience for the first time just what life as a typical teenager involves. With an evil warlock trapped in her mirror and the closest thing to teenage life Izzy has ever been is watching Ivy Springs (a fictional teen drama) on DVD, the next experience of high school is a novelty for Izzy. But ghosts with evil intentions stop for no one - not even one with best friends and boys on the mind.

I've not read Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins and had no idea School Spirits was a spin-off. That said - there's no assumed knowledge of the world and before I knew it I was swept away in the characters and story in this novel. Izzy is an engaging main character who for all her naivety of "regular teenagers" and life outside of monster hunting is surprisingly relatable. Her mother managed to be both mentor and caring parent. And the members of the Paranormal Management Society (PMS) are delightful. I accepted and loved the team of misfits the way they embraced Izzy - without abandon. Romy, Anderson and Dex are equal parts fun, zany and supportive.

Plot wise I thought it was dramatic and interesting. Paced perfectly, I enjoyed seeing Izzy go from nearly killing a boy in dodge-ball on her very first day to a more confident young woman who is trying to live up to the Brannick name. Torin - the boy in the mirror, is cocky and confident and I'm a little undecided as to whether I love or hate him. He's just one of those characters that I desperately want to know more about.

Watching Izzy discover boys - specifically Dex - made me smile. She's awkward and all she knows about romance and relationships with the other sex is from a teen drama. I loved it! And Dex is perfect. He's quirky and geeky - and the opposite of athletic - and that just made me like him more. He's an unconventional love interest but somehow it works.

The magic and ghosts are rampant and I liked the supernatural element in School Spirits. There's drama and excitement with a lot of room for this series to grow in future novels. This is a great book for fans of Rachel Harkins but also anyone who loves a good young adult novel with engaging characters and things that go bump in the night.

By Sam 19 May 2013 3

Despite the slight character and plot clichés, the Hex Hall trilogy has always been a firm favourite of mine. Rachel Hawkins' witty style is irresistibly good - so much so that turning a blind eye on some of the weaker aspects of her books in the past hasn't been too difficult. This is where the reading experience with School Spirits differs slightly. While the writing doesn't lack that distinct sharp and humorous quality that Hawkins is known for, there is a disappointingly diluted feel to the storyline here. Nevertheless, for a swift and entertaining read on a rainy weekend (which, let's face it, is most weekends where I am), the first instalment of this Hex Hall spin-off series is just about good enough. I certainly had a lot of fun with it...

Although, for me, main-character Izzy is no Sophie Mercer, her light and effervescent personality is instantly infectious. She is a Brannick - stronger than most people and built for hunting and capturing out-of-hand Prodigium. This includes the usual; vampires, fae, witches, werewolves... and the odd wayward ghost. When a haunting at a local high school draws Izzy and her mother to a new town, Izzy finds herself on a solo mission, one that involves acting like a 'real' teenage girl. This, of course, is easier said than done (no matter how many episodes of 'Ivy Springs' Izzy manages to get through with mirror-bound Torin). Cue the grins from this point forward! Izzy finds herself in all manner of unfamiliar social and high school situations, each and every one of which prove to be highly amusing from the reader's perspective. It's only when she joins the school's 3-member paranormal society that things really pick up, though.

Romy, Dex and Anderson adopt Izzy into their small group pretty quickly. While the three of them are not (knowingly) investigating the haunting for the same reasons as Izzy, the friendship between them feels genuine from the get-go. Witty dialogue is the weapon of all weapons here, and Rachel Hawkins is the skilful administrator. While the plot is lacking in some sophistication (it's nothing particularly exciting when you think about it), the light banter and playful group dynamics just about make up for it. The highlight here is Dex. As someone who has been known to 'rock the occasional manbracelet' (his words, not mine!) and has an impressive collection of purple clothing, he is a refreshingly original love interest, and also incredibly delightful. Admittedly, it probably won't take a great number of weeks before I struggle to recall his name (or any of the characters', for that matter), but he is likeable enough, for what it's worth.

The ending is very weak. The hurried pace gives it an almost nonsensical and juvenile feel. Coupled with the indication that there may not be a sequel for a while, this is the most disappointing part of the whole book. Still, despite the less-than-satisfying final chapters, Hawkins leaves enough of an impression with her new book to stir up some interest for more. If nothing else, I definitely want to revisit Dex's character one day.

3.5 stars

Review quote

Gr 7-10 Since her older sister went missing nearly a year ago, 15-year-old Izzy and her mother are all that remain of the family. Endowed with extra strength and supernatural powers, the Brannicks have been ridding the world of evil creatures for thousands of years. Without her sister by her side, it's a lonely life for Izzy, who is still trying to prove to her mother that she is ready to handle the family business on her own. After a nearly disastrous run-in with a vampire, her mother decides to give her something easier to work on. They move to Mississippi, and the teen enrolls in the local high school where a rogue ghost has attempted to kill one of the teachers. Dealing with the ghost should be a simple task, but attending high school for the first time is a scary prospect for the homeschooled teen. She joins the school-sanctioned Paranormal Management Society and becomes friends with its members. She begins to fall in love with one of them and discovers that another member may be the reason she can't get the ghost under control. Always warned by her mother to go in, do the job, and get out, Izzy realizes that the relationships she's formed may be placing people's lives in jeopardy. It's impossible not to compare this book to Buffy the Vampire Slayer as it blends equal parts humor, drama, and romance just like the popular TV series. Girls will eat this one up. Cary Frostick, Mary Riley Styles Public Library, Falls Church, VA SLJ"