by Rachel Hawkins
Genre: Paranormal YA
Excerpt: No | Book Trailer: No
Reviewed by: | Source: Edelweiss
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!
The first page of SCHOOL SPIRITS opens on Izzy in the middle of an attempt to stake a vampire. It’s a fun, clever scene with Izzy explaining how easy it is to kill a vampire, but that capturing one is another story, all while she is sitting on top of a vampire, and mentioning that a lot about vampires is “dorky.” It sets the tone for the rest of the book and pulled me right in. What stands out about SCHOOL SPIRITS is its lightheartedness and humor, making it an easy book to sit down with and breeze through.
If I had to describe SCHOOL SPIRITS in one word, it would be adorable. The mystery isn’t super scary, and a lot of the story is focused on Izzy’s first real public school experience, made even more amusing by her “studying” TV shows in order to get an idea for what normal teens are like. Izzy is a wonderful high school heroine, strong but with a believable amount of teenage insecurity. She ends up finding herself part of the Paranormal Management Society, better known as PMS, which has three other members, Romy, Anderson and Dex, all three of who are fleshed out characters. Izzy finds a fast friend in the very quirky, ghost-chasing Romy, and the romance between Izzy and Dex is sweet and made me long for high school crushes. One of my favorite characters was Torin, the evil warlock trapped in a mirror in Izzy’s house. Some of the best scenes are when he jumps into Izzy’s dreams, and pulls her into settings from his life in the 1500s. He’s also pretty hysterical, for example, offering to practice kissing with Izzy, so she’s prepared for going out with the high schoolers.
Though SCHOOL SPIRITS is an offshoot of the Hex Hall series, it isn’t necessary to have read those books to get this one. I’ve only read HEX HALL, and while there was a brief mention of Sophie, the main character of that series, SCHOOL SPIRITS was a self contained story that didn’t require any previous knowledge of the world to understand it. You also won’t be spoiling much of the Hex Hall books either, so no worries on that front.
Overall, SCHOOL SPIRITS was a lot of fun. There is a larger, overarching mystery of Izzy’s sister disappearance which is unresolved, and I am eager to learn more about that. I’m also most curious about what will happen to Dex and Izzy’s romance after the events at the end of the book. I can’t wait for the second book in the School Spirits series, and in the meantime, I’m going back and reading all the Hex Hall books!
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