Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Source: Bought for myself because I couldn't wait for PaperBackSwap.com
You can read the Goodreads summary of this novel here.
I think this is the first time I've read a YA novel about witches since I was a YA myself. Sure I've done vampires (Twilight) and werewolves (Shiver) and fallen angels (Hush, Hush) and immortals (Evermore) - but witches? Not since I read The Witch of Blackbird Pond in fifth grade. I discovered this one through that trusty message board I frequent and it seems it's all the rage, despite the fact that when I started I (a) still didn't know it was about witches and (b) could never remember if it was called Hex Hall or Hex Hail. I think Hex Hail would be a badass title for some sort of novel about extreme weather.
Sophie Mercer was born a witch and came into her powers, as all witches do, at age twelve. By the time she reached the age of sixteen she had screwed up one times too many and was forced by the Council to attend a boarding school for witches until she turned eighteen. Mystery and danger ensue and so does a little romance.
I particularly enjoyed the theme of "frienemies" forced by a greater cause to come together, work together. It was great to see Sophie work together with Elodie until the plot twist of the century at the end of the novel. I really don't want to give this one away, but trust me - when you get to the last few chapters, everything you thought you knew is actually something different.
I noticed some small parallels between Hex Hall and Harry Potter and even Sabrina the Teenage Witch, but overall it was a new story to experience. The more I read on, the more I learned about Sophie, the world she was somewhat forced to live in, and the danger she was in. Overall, it was pretty fascinating and, dare I say, original. While I read the first half of the novel I didn't think this series was something I would be able to get into, but as the plot thickened in the second half I found myself thoroughly enjoying the novel and now that I'm done, I'm looking forward to reading the sequel, Demonglass, when it's released in a few weeks.