Book review: “School Spirits” by Rachel Hawkins

Released: May 14th, 2013
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Pages: 304 Goodreads

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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?

Wow! I’m absolutely floored. Not that I expected to dislike School Spirits, I just had no idea I’d love it THIS much. I think I loved this book even more than Hex Hall. There. I said it.

Having read the Hex Hall series first, definitely makes it easier for one to jump into this new spin-off series. Although you could read School Spirits and then Hex Hall as a prequel, I wouldn’t recommend it. There’s a lot of big spoilers and terms like “prodigium” that benefit from a lengthier description given in the prior books. Also, it feels as though Hawkins is expecting us to have read Hex Hall first.

Isolde (Izzy), although not quite as sarcastically funny as Hex Hall‘s Sophie, is still highly enjoyable. She’s smart, innocent (teen girl way – not – won’t shank you in a dark alleyway way) and humble. Izzy has never really had that normal high school experience because she, like her mother, come from a long line of female monster hunters that travel a lot for cases. School Spirits felt like the melding of two of my favorite shows Buffy and Supernatural. You got the young high school girl trying to manage nightly slayings with nightly school work. Then you have the parent who drags their kid all over the states, hunting down supernatural creatures and never really establishing any lasting roots.

There’s a couple of boys on Izzy’s mind in School Spirits. Some are studs – and cliche – others duds. From the start I immediately swooned over Dex. Seriously! Where was a “Dex” when I was in high school?!!! Hilarious, cute and marching to his own drum, Dex wasn’t afraid to be who he is, or whoever the hell he wanted to be. He was a total dork but in that adorkable way. I loved his and Izzy’s interactions. Although she constantly needed to question his motives, it was sweet watching Izzy and Dex gravitate towards one another.

Sometimes in Hex Hall I got irritated because magic was an easy fix for things. I think part of the reason I enjoyed School Spirits so much was because of the old-school way Izzy had to handle the supernatural. It was physical and time-consuming. There was no *poof* all betters.

What I love most about Hawkin’s books in general, is how easily you can jump into a story. With the exception of Spell Bound which had left me with mixed feelings, Hawkin’s books are always perfectly paced and full of action. They’re exploding with humor, budding romances, suspense, and danger.

I’m so excited for the books to come in this new series. School Spirits leaves off with a big mystery to be solved as well as an exciting new development to be played out.

This book was excellent! I highly recommend this book – buy it now!
This book was excellent! I highly recommend this book – buy it now!

Checkout more of my reviews over at The Book Slayer.