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4 Stars: School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins

School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins may be a spin-off of her Hex Hall series, but it stands on its own as a fun start to an exciting new series. I haven’t actually read the Hex Hall series and still greatly enjoyed School Spirits. I’m now excited to go track down copies of Hawkins other series just to stave off the withdrawal, haha. I think a lot of us have a soft spot for younger urban fantasy set in high school. School Spirits does this well by approaching from the outsider’s perspective. Hawkins really nailed what it would be like for a home-schooled monster-hunter to try to figure out high school for the first time. I’m very much looking forward to Izzy’s next adventure!

Note: I recieved School Spirits for review through Netgalley. Thank you to Disney-Hyperion and Netgalley!
School Spirits Goodreads | Amazon | LibraryThing

Title: School Spirits
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Length: 304 pages
Genre-ish: YA Urban Fantasy
Rating★★★- well done characters and fun plot

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? — Goodreads

Strengths:

  •  As I said above, one of my favorite aspects of School Spirits was Izzy trying to understand this crazy high school thing. She turned to amusingly overdramatic TV shows and those hilarious teen advice magazines. Understandably, there were some laugh out loud moments as she discovered that all she had seen on “Ivy Springs” was not what high school was really like ;-).
  • Many YA novels have a strange lack of parents, but School Spirits didn’t fall prey to this theme. Izzy’s mother was a great character: just as confused as Izzy about this high school thing, trying to deal with Izzy’s sister’s disappearance, and trying to let Izzy grow into a successful monster-hunter.
  • There were some glimpses of the broader UF world that School Spirits’ inhabits at the beginning, which makes me really excited for further book to explore the world more. I assume though that Hex Hall is set in the same world, so I could get my world-building on that way, hehe. School Spirits understandably focused on the ghost aspect as well as a little magic.
  • I looooved the friends that Izzy made at school. Nerds and outcasts are the best in my opinion and what better place for Izzy to make friends than a paranormal hunting club, ha.
  • While you might be nervous at first, there is none of the love triangle angst, scout’s honor!

Weaknesses:

  •  The ending of School Spirits had an easy wrap-up with a good info dump thrown in to explain everything. Not a happy Anya :(.
  • Izzy’s life-story can be very easily compared to early Buffy episodes, not that I don’t like Buffy, I just don’t like obvious comparisons.
  • As I said above, the world of supernatural beings was glimpsed early on in School Spirits, but then all we got was a little ghost-hunting throughout the rest of the book. I want to know more about this Council and all the interesting supernatural powers!

Summary:

School Spirits is a perfect book for those who are addicted to school settings with a supernatural twist. I was loving it all the way to the end when there was a bit of a hiccup in the awesomeness factor. However I’m very hopeful for the sequel to explore more of the mystery around Izzy’s sister and the hints of a pretty epic series plot-line. I also neeeed to go checkout Hex Hall now :D.

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Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings – A

 

 School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins

© 2013, Anya. All rights reserved.

Comments

  1. I really enjoyed this one also – especially the sparkly vampire comment. You’re right – we really only get the feel for the other creatures that could possibly be out there at the very beginning. I too like that her mom was present in the book, I really liked Romy’s mom and Dex’s grandma!

    • Yes, all the parents/guardians were rocking and wished the best for their kids, such a nice thing to see in a YA, haha

  2. I keep thinking I need to read one of her series!:)

  3. As soon as I read the premise, I was thinking ” Buffy” clone. I’ll wait to see if you like the next one before getting into the series.

    • Yes, it was a bit along those lines, but a lot of this new generation probably doesn’t know about the show (tragedy!), I will definitely be reading the next one so I’ll let you know ;-)

  4. Jenn @ A Glo-Worm Reads says:

    I love school settings! I read and really enjoyed Hex Hall, so this is a book that I’m very interested in! I think you’d like Hex Hall even more because it takes place at a school for supernatural creatures, so there is a lot more of that.

  5. Oh man, I was smiling wide at your love for Izzy’s unfamiliarity for regular high-school (Ivy Springs!!) and her awesome friends – those were two BIG pluses for me too :D Sucks that the ended was so ‘meh’ compared to all the rest of the book but as for the world-building, I think we’ll get that bit when we read Hex Hall too! Awesome review doll, glad you enjoyed this one as much as I did!!

    • Yes, Ivy Springs! Just so much fun to see that side of things, haha. And I must read Hex Hall now since apparently a lot more supernatural-ness is explored in that series :D

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