May 27, 2013

Review: School Spirits

My first post in almost a month, yikes! I had a stomach bug of death that took me nine days to recover from, teens to prepare for an AP exam, end of the school year wrap up, and a speech to write and deliver at graduation. So glad that is over and I am back in the blogosphere.

My first “I’m baaaaack…” post is for one of my favorite reads of 2013, ‘School Spirits.’

If you have not been introduced to the writings of Rachel Hawkins, your reading life is empty. Seriously. I have yet to read a YA writer that is able to rival her level of wit.  

OMG - this cover!
Title: School Spirits
Author: Rachel Hawkins
ISBN: 9781423148494
Pages: 304
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Available: NOW at your local book store or library
Source: Netgalley

Summary (from Goodreads):

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!

My Thoughts:

In this ‘Hex Hall’ spinoff, Sophie’s cousin Izzy is a vampire hunter searching for her missing sister, Finley.
Hawkins thrusts readers into a paranormal mystery full of humor, friendship, and awesomesauce

I loved this book. I absolutely loved it.

The plot of the novel is solid—it is nicely paced with the refreshing voice we have to come to love of Hawkins. Here’s what I love about her writing style: as I read, I can picture it like a John Hughes movie. Seriously. Can’t you imagine Dex standing under Izzy’s window holding a boombox above his head while playing a romantic song while waiting on a lawn mower to take her away? No, just me?

Well, I stand by it. I really do. Hawkins’ style is so easy going because she understands what her audience wants from her as a writer—and because she is an easy going person with the best sense of humor. All of this is reflected in her writing, just like John Hughes reflected the plight of the modern teen on the big screen.

Speaking of the plight of the modern teen, Izzy, Dex, and Romy are quite a trio. I loved their on-page chemistry, and the three of them should rule the world. The world would really be a better place if they were in charge. I wrote a note in my reading notebook that said “kick Anderson out.” He did not make a good impression on me as a reader. I felt the trio would stand alone stronger, but that could also be because a trio is what I am accustomed to in YA reading.  

Hawkins’ character development of these four was strong. Izzy is by far my favorite character, which is a good thing since she is the star of the show. But, Dex gives her a run for her money on the page. He is mysterious. He is beautiful. He is awesome. He is all of the things a YA male character needs to be. And he gets some of the best lines too.

And may I say that school would be so much more interesting if we had a Paranormal Management Society? I mean, that is the best idea ever. I want one where I teach. We could investigate Dead Children’s Playground, old cemeteries, take field trips to visit sights that claim haunting. We could have awesome T-shirts and wear awesome headgear at night while filming what we find. We could have a reality show on TLC. See what Hawkins has done—put ideas into my head.

And this is why I love Hawkins. She appeals to readers like me with her magical words and magical ideas of how to make high school a lot more appealing than it is.

Just saying.

Bascially, I loved this book and I loved the characters and I loved the plot. This is such a great follow-up to the ‘Hex Hall’ series where it is clear that Hawkins is a force to be reckoned with in the world of paranormal, and she is here to stay. Thank goodness. I need more Hawkinesque YA paranormal in my life.

Be ready to laugh. Be ready to nibble at your nails. Be ready to enjoy a YA paranormal that breaks the mold. What I mean is this: if you do not usually ready paranormal, you are missing out. ‘School Spirits’ would be a great place to start. Or even the ‘Hex Hall’ series. These novels aren’t the basic lovey dovey YA paranormal. They are filled with kickass female heroines that are smart and funny and amazingly awesome.

What are your thoughts on ‘School Spirits’? What’s the best paranormal novel/series you’ve read recently?

Happy Reading!

-      The Hodgenator

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