I had the misfortune (maybe?) of picking up this book just as I was getting back into the swing of things with my novel, a big fat NaNoWriMo '09 failure (but now is looking like an extraordinary non-failure as I've been putting all sorts of effort into it). The point of this is that despite usually flying through books like Hex Hall, I ended up flipping through this one at an unusually slow pace spanning a week.
Sophie Mercer isn't your average 16-year-old girl. She's a witch, and when a love spell meant to help an unpopular classmate goes horribly wrong, she is sent to Hecate Hell (known to students as Hex Hall), a sort of boarding school/reformatory for Prodigium (witch/faerie/shapeshifter) teenagers who risk revealing themselves to the human world. Here she is surrounded by her own kind, and she quickly discovers that even amongst those she is just like she is still... different. On top of it all, her new best friend and roommate is a vampire and thus one of the most hated people in the school, and she quickly makes enemies of the three most powerful witches in the student population while managing to crush on one of their highly unattainable boyfriends. Things get even worse when Sophie learns her new vampire friend is the prime suspect in a student attack the year before, and soon attacks start happening again.
This book is the first of a trilogy, and it is by debut author Rachel Hawkins. I am really happy to report that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I know supernatural young adult lit is very much the "thing" these days, but Hawkins looks at it with a very refreshing a fun point of view. Usually I can say that something in this genre reminds me of another genre (the Harry Potter and Twilight series usually being the ones I'm reminded of), but in this case I have to admit that it doesn't really hail back to anything I have read before. And that is truly refreshing.
The story also has a few twists to it that I wasn't expecting. I can usually see some of these things miles away, so it was exciting to be surprised when things didn't turn out quite the way they initially seemed. In addition, Sophie's voice is just so great that I couldn't help but to smile every other page as I read this book.