Thursday, August 1, 2013

Review: School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins

If you're a fan of Rachel Hawkins's Hex Hall series no doubt you, like me, waited with bated breath for the release of its sure-to-be-superfantasticllyawesome spinoff, School Spirits! And if you haven't been able to read it yet, trust me, you MUST get your hands on this book. It's every bit as full of action, laughs, and both lovable and infuriating boys as its predecessor (which, if you haven't read, you definitely ought to). 

School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins
Released May 14, 2013
Source of my copy: Gift
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!
Okay, so, as a huge, huge fan of the Hex Hall books, I had high expectations for School Spirits. And guess what? They were totally met. I loved Izzy when she was introduced previously, and I love her even more after reading her story. You think Sophie is sarcastic and kick-butt? Clearly it runs in the family.

Izzy Brannick has never had a normal life. She's never been to public school, or, well, had friends. She's spent all her time monster-hunting with her two best friends--her mom, and her sister, Finley. But suddenly, between the blink of an eye and the turn of a page, Finley's gone and Izzy's registered at Mary Evans High, in search of a semblance of normality and a mysterious ghost--all while making sure the school's unfortunately named ghost-hunting club (PMS-- the Paranormal Management Society) doesn't get in over their heads.

Infiltrating PMS turns out to be a lot easier than Izzy expected. Befriended by founding (and only) members Dex, Romy, and Anderson, Izzy's quickly on the fast track not only to info on the ghost, but--could it be?--friendship. If ever there was a book with characters to adore, this is the one. Every single one of them came to life and made me desperately want to be friends with them--or, in some cases, punch them out. If I were to put emphasis on any one character (besides Izzy) it would be Dex.

Oh, Dex! Dex, of the old-fashioned talk and asthma; Dex of the peacoat and complete and utter adorableness. I love you so. Dex is very, very different from Archer, but absolutely fantastic just the same! Where Archer is all snark and shielded emotions, Dex is sweet and genuine. But both, of course, are incredibly good looking ;) *Cough* Ummm, anyway, back to the book.

Izzy's caught up in a lot of drama in School Spirits.  Not only does she have a ghost to deal with--which is becoming much trickier than a silly little haunting problem ought to be--she's also struggling to prove to her mother that she is good at being a Brannick, cope with Finley's absence, and have social life--while remembering that said social life is fleeting and her friends will inevitably be left behind. If that isn't complicated enough, toss in a maybe-crush on a maybe-normal boy, and increasingly odd interactions with Torin, the ever-infuriating but sort of charming warlock trapped in the family mirror. Oh yes, Torin's back and better more confusing than ever, with more allusions to secrets about Izzy...and maybe something more.

Honestly, poor Izzy's life is almost as dramatic as her new favorite TV show, high school drama Ivy Springs.

While the book is packed full of adventure and mystery, the ending has just enough closure to satisfy but leave the door wide open for another book in the series. Unfortunately, that's not happening at the moment. But hey, never say never! And in this case I definitely won't--I need more of Izzy, Dex, and everyone else!

School Spirits undeniably earned itself <*><*><*><*><*>


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