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May 12, 2013

Review: School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins

School Spirits (School Spirits, #1)
Title: School Spirits
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Publication date: May 14, 2013
Genre(s): Young Adult (Paranormal)
Source: Publisher (HBG Canada)
Format: ARC
Pages: 304
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? 
Izzy is a Brannick, this name holds a certain weight, in that her family is the only family with some powers that enable them to hunt down Prodigium, which are paranormal creatures, as in vampires (preferably not the sparkly ones), werewolves, ghosts, and any others that defy the council that governs them. School Spirits was an adventure. It brought me back to the adventure novels I used to read and I ended up really enjoying it. 
Izzy moves to a new town and starts attending school in order to hunt down the ghost that seems to haunt that school. I found a ton of parts funny, especially ones where Izzy experiences things for the first time, such as going to the mall, pep rallies, and even watching mindless, yet fun, tv shows! By the end of the novel I was seriously invested in the lives of Leslie and Everton on Ivy Springs (think Gossip Girl). I honestly thought this book was full of fun, add in Torin, the warlock stuck in the mirror who pops up whenever, which results in back and forth banter between him and Izzy, you have a book that will make you laugh at least once for sure. 
As for the friends, Izzy instantly finds them in Dex, Romy and Anderson. I found that to be a little bit absurd because we all remember how hard it is for the new kid, whether you were one recently or you've seen the new kids. It is tough ladies and gentlemen. Kids these days are vicious and never leave the comfort of their circle of friends, so to make friends on literally the first and second day? yea, I couldn't buy that. However the friendship between them was pretty awesome. As for the romance with Dex, while it was a tiny part of the plot, was cute. However I probably would have loved the possibility of Torin to be there; Izzy does say he looks like an 18 year old, so why not? I am sure a sequel would include that however it seems that Rachel Hawkins isn't writing one. 
There is a major plot line that wasn't resolved because Hawkins wrote this book thinking it would have a sequel, so now I guess we'll never know. I have to say, I loved the adventurous feel of this novel, while it feels a bit more MG than YA, I still found myself sucked into the world every time I pick it up to continue reading. I really enjoyed this novel and actually went and ordered the full Hex Hall trilogy! I am really excited to start them now. I would definitely recommend this novel to all adventure/paranormal fans who want a kick butt female protagonist and a ton of fun! 


  1. "However I probably would have loved the possibility of Torin to be there; Izzy does say he looks like an 18 year old, so why not?"

    YES! Me too Juhina! I was all about Torin while reading, he was a fascinating character! And she's not writing a sequel? I thought this was the start to a new series! That kind of changes my reaction to this one a little since that fairly huge plot thread is just left dangling out there. Still, it was a really fun read:)

  2. This does sounds like I really do need to pick up when it is out. I love the Hex Hall series. Great review.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

  3. Seriously, it was supposed to be a sequel and now it's just.....not??? Causing plot holes?? Honestly, I have this one for review and now I don't know if I'll bother reading it. Your review is really good and insightful though and until that last piece of info, I was thinking it sounded good.

  4. Great review :) This isn't a book that I would enjoy since it's not a genre I enjoy but you make it sound like a really good book.
    -Kimberly @ Turning the Pages

  5. I never really finished the original trilogy (although I own book 3 on audio), but I have a feeling this one may prove to be more to my liking. Above all, I love that the romance isn't such a huge part of the plot.
    Great review!

  6. I am glad you enjoyed this one! Great review.
    -Scott Reads It

  7. I ended up enjoying most of this book, but it still didn't make up for the Hex Hall series. It wasn't all that original, and like you said, finding friends in a new school is hard( kinda absurd how she found cool friends that quick). And plot holes especially seemed to show through alot it.

    I still will continue reading Hawkin's novels, but this one wasn't all that impressive.

  8. My friends loved the Hex Hall series so they're really excited for this one. I, however, didn't like the first book and am not sure if I'd read the sequel. Starting this one seems more appealing and I'm glad you liked it. Great review!

  9. I think I would have totally skipped School Spirits if it wasn't for your review Juhina, sometimes I'm in the mood for a middle grade story and School Spirits sounds like a lot of fun. I do like my kick butt Mc's so will certainly be adding this to my tbr! Fab review :)

  10. This sounds so good, Juhina! Izzy sounds like a great character. The Hex Hall series is on my TBR list. Thanks for sharing!

  11. As a HUGE fan of the HEX HALL series I am super excited to read this spin-off. It sounds amazing! I am glad you enjoyed the book. Great review!

    Thanks for sharing and for stopping by my blog, Bittersweet Enchantment.

    Have a nice weekend. :)
    - Beckie

  12. I actually haven't read the Hex Hall series yet, but I'm definitely excited to pick them up. Sounds like a good, fun read :)