Book Review: School Spirits
By: Rachel Hawkins
Published By: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: May 14, 2013
Page Count: 304
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via NetGalley
Audience: Young Adult - Paranormal, Witches
Rachel Hawkins never fails to make the corners of my mouth rise up in a wry smirk at some point during her books. Usually, many points. School Spirits was no exception – there was plenty of zingy dialogue and many tongue-in-cheek digs to keep me flying through the pages. I gobbled this book up way too quickly really, much like how I devoured the Hex Hall series.
This is a spin off series from her Hex Hall series, focusing on Izzy (Isolde) Brannick, the youngest member of the Brannick family. The Brannick’s are a deeply historical clan of monster hunters, who keep themselves to themselves, train to fight like crazy, and don’t trust anyone. Izzy is determined to prove herself just as badass as her older, and missing, sister Finn, but she has a way to go before anyone is convinced.
To give Izzy a chance, her mother (a tough monster hunter with few interpersonal skills) decides to move to Ideal, Mississippi, and let Izzy attend a haunted high school. This is partly to give Izzy her first taste of normal life, and also to give her the opportunity to deal with the haunting. Izzy makes a few friends and falls in with the ghost hunting club, who really don’t have a clue what they are doing, but are totally fabulous characters. I would have loved to be in that club and mess around with Romy, Dexter and Anderson! They are classic outsiders – they dress how they want to, talk about weird stuff, kid about and make goofy plans. I think I enjoyed those scenes most of all; I didn’t blame Izzy in the least for developing a crush on Dex... I was totally there with her. A tall boy, with floppy black hair wearing strangely opulent clothes (velvet coats and cravats) and talking like he’d choked on a Thesaurus? Totally hot... and as for the scenes when they were alone... scorching. Just as hot as Sophie and Archer from Hex Hall and extremely engrossing!
Izzy has a lot of stuff to work out during her time in Ideal – she has the mystery of the haunting to look into, worries about how to fit in at school and for the first time ever she has to worry about boys. I just loved that the way her mother decided to help with this was to buy Izzy a bunch of teen-drama DVDs... it poked fun at those programs in such a delicious way. I also loved that Torin, the warlock trapped in Izzy’s mirror, became totally addicted to watching them!
There are several mysteries to be solved in this new series; where did Finn go? What is the deal with Torin, and why does he haunt Izzy’s dreams? I also loved the mysteries solved within School Spirits – the way the haunting developed was really cool, and I liked how Izzy started to run the investigation. She didn’t ask for help from her mother when she should have, which is totally believable, and she trusted Torin far too much – I have a feeling he is really quite dastardly! Overall, this was a really engaging and satisfying read which I whizzed through in super fast time!
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!