Review: School Spirits

Author: Rachel Hawkins
Series: School Spirits
Publication Date: May 14, 2013
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 304 (ARC)
Source: ARC for Review from Publisher
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!
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

I absolutely loved the Hex Hall series, so I was naturally looking forward to this one. I can't even explain how excited I am to report that SCHOOL SPIRITS exceeded all of my expectations and delivered a story that I miraculously loved even more then the original series. Full of unique characters, a perfectly cute romance, an intriguing ghost story, and the laugh-out-loud humor that Hawkins is known for, this book will not disappoint.

It was refreshing to have a new voice in this one while remnants of the old still remained. And what I mean by that is that we get to learn through a more grown-up Izzy and we still have connections to the original Hex Hall series via Izzy's family, the amazingly annoying warlock that is stuck in a mirror named Torin, and distant mentions of Sophie one day leading the Council. But the new aspects of the story fascinated me and easily kept the story from following the same path as Hex Hall did--something many spin-off series do to their predecessors--so I'm a happy girl. Though, admittedly, I think that part of the reason I loved this one so much more than the aforementioned series is due to the fact that there's no love triangle in this one.

We start off the story with Izzy who is mourning the sudden disappearance of her elder sister, Finley. They were together on a mission to get rid of a dark witch coven, but Finn insisted she could handle it alone since she knew that Izzy desperately wanted to finish her current novel. Sounds like something us bookies would do, eh? Anyway, Finn disappeared that evening and after six months of searching for her, Izzy's mother decided that it was time to let go. They went back to continuing the missions that the Brannick's are known for, but when Izzy encountered some problems on her first solo-mission against a young and cliche' vampire, her mother decided it was time for a change. They moved to a small town called Ideal, Mississippi under the guise of investigating a haunting in the high school that resulted in the ghostly murder of a biology teacher. And while Izzy begins to investigate everything going on, she makes new friends in the PMS (Paranormal Management Society haha) and even captures some romantic attention from the wonderfully dorky and sweet Dex. She realizes that maybe a normal life isn't so bad at all.

Clearly, this plot leads to nothing but amazing shenanigans and a chillingly insane ghost story that make it impossible to put this book down. I read it in one sweep and was forced to skip lunch due to the amazing story hidden in this gem.

But what made it so perfect was not only the plot, but the brilliant characterization that made way for some surprising and unexpected plot twists. Izzy basically makes three really great friends while at Mary Evans High. They all happen to be the resident outcasts and members of the Paranormal Management Society. First, there's Romy. An adopted and insanely colorful Asian student, she's a good friend with a passion for the supernatural. Then there's ex-athlete who has the cutest crush on Romy and often stands to be some sort of voice of reason. But most importantly, there's Dex. Also insanely colorful but in a very artistic and fashionable way, he speaks unusually as if he was from several decades ago and desperately needs an inhaler when he exerts himself too much in any way. He has startlingly blue eyes that contrast beautifully with his dark curls and, oh, let's not forget that as perfect as he is for Izzy, he may just be Prodigium. Their romance is both adorable and deliciously complicated--perfect for younger readers and enticing for us older ones.

Really, there's nothing negative to say about this one. Izzy offered us a fresh voice. Though her Brannick blood causes her to be fearless, she is scared of normality. High school, boys, friendships and dating are all lost concepts to her that we watch her struggle to understand alongside Torin with the help of television series surrounding kids in high school. This proved to be a very entertaining aspect of the novel as well. Torin's presence was both wonderful due to his connection to Hex Hall and refreshing because he does play such a huge part in Izzy's life. To understand all of the cute references in this one, I highly recommend checking out the beloved Hex Hall series prior to jumping into its wonderful spin-off.

A book that simply cannot be ignored, Hawkins weaves us a literary masterpiece better than anything else she has delivered before. Izzy's story is just beginning and I am already hooked for life.

5 stars



  1. great review! I really wanna read this too.

  2. Hex Hall is one of my favorite series. I love the laugh-out-loud humor. The characters are exceptionally written. And the plot is perfection. It is a rereadable series, again and again, no doubt about it. I was highly upset that it came to an end. So when I heard about School Spirits, a happy dance ensued. And I am so glad to hear that it is up to the originals standards! Thank you for the review!