Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father???an elusive European warlock???only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.
Hawkins's proficient and entertaining debut is jam-packed with magical creatures and mystery. With no training on how to use the powers inherited from her absent warlock father, Sophie Mercer keeps making rookie mistakes that force her mother to move them around the country to avoid attention. But when, at age 16, Sophie makes a very public error with a love spell at the prom, she is sent to Hecate Hall, the premier reformatory institution for Prodigium adolescents (aka troubled shape-shifters, faeries, and witches like Sophie). She hits it off with her vampire roommate, Jenna, but three gorgeous and powerful witches have declared Sophie an enemy (she nicknames them the Witches of Clinique ); she has a wicked crush on someone else's boyfriend; and at least one teacher is out to get her. When attacks on students get pinned on Jenna, Sophie is determined to find the true culprit. Sophie stumbles into answers more than searches them out, but the story is well paced and plotted with tween-friendly humor and well-developed characters, particularly awkward but compassionate Sophie. The ending satisfies while paving the way for future books. Ages 11 up. \n