Monday, May 13, 2013

ARC Review: School Spirits

School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins
(School Spirits #1)
Published May 14 2013 by Disney Hyperion

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?
**An ARC was provided by Disney Hyperion via Netgalley in exchange for a honest review**

School Spirits is a spin-off Series of the popular Hex Hall Series, but this is something I only learned after I requested a copy of School Spirits.  The Hex Hall Series is on my reading list & wishlist but since I have yet to read them and I was worried I may be a bit lost jumping into an pre-existing fantasy world.  Soon enough though, I felt completely immersed in this new-to-me world, and if there were any references or allusions to Hex Hall, missing them didn't seem to affect my overall enjoyment of this book.  If anyways, reading School Spirits has me even more eager to check out all the Hex Hall goodness that I've apparently been missing!

Izzy Brannick is descendant from a long line of Brannick women trained to fight or take of anything paranormal.  She and her sister had been a pretty kick-butt team until her sister vanished on the job one night.  Feeling it might be time for a change of pace, and scenery - Izzy's mother moves them to a small community in the middle of nowhere and enrolls her daughter in a normal high-school.  It soon becomes pretty obvious that this high school is far from normal - in fact, it's haunted!  Izzy is hell-bent on solving this mystery on her own but soon it becomes clear, this is no regular haunting...

I love a book that can make me laugh!  A few giggles here and there is memorable enough but when I burst out laughing - more than once, it's such a treat.  Anytime a book can make me laugh, I feel like awarding an extra star to it's rating!  School Spirits made me both giggle and laugh out loud while being sick with a cold!  How great is that?!  I was very quickly captivated by the story, the world and the characters that live in it.  The fact that I more or less read this book in one sitting means it not only was quick and easy to read, but that I was enjoying myself immensely while reading it!

Izzy felt different from any other teen female MC I've encountered. Because she'd never attended any kind of 'regular' school, her experiences with other kids were limited, especially normal kids!  Seeing her try to adapt to something so foreign to her was both humorous and endearing.  And I loved how she rented bad YA television drama series' to help her adjust and ended up relating real life to the silly situations those shows always play up.  As a life-long monster-hunter, she's obviously very brave and adaptable too but she was also very independent and always kept her head on her shoulders.

One of my favorite things about School Spirits were the 'normal' friends she makes at her new school: Dex, Romy and Anderson.  Clearly outcasts as school because of their choice in extra-curricular activities, I appreciated that Izzy had  no problem befriending them, and though they weren't supposed to be cool, I found them to be just that.  They were all different in their own respect but they were all just so sweet and funny!  I've rarely felt so strongly about the hero's friends but this was a solid bunch of characters all around for me.

School Spirits is a bit tame and 'young', as all Disney reads tend be so don't go in expecting anything super scary and suspenseful.  Some of the haunting bits were pretty creepy though I'm not exactly famous for my nerves of steel O.O  The big finale was a bit on underwhelming side, though not because it was all that predictable or anything - more because it just sort of fizzled instead of going out with a bang.  All things considered School Spits was an engaging and enjoyable read and I'm anxious to see where the series will go from here.  I've also decided that I need to read the Hex Hall series - like yesterday!
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


  1. Omg yes, so much fizzle. It sort of felt like the author got tired of writing and just wanted to be done :( And I'm just left thinking why don't you love me anymore??? Hehe, excellent review!

  2. Great review. It sounds good and I'll have to pick up this new series once I've read the final Hex Hall :)
    Katja (YA's the Word)

  3. Since I just finished the last Hex Hall book last night and got acquainted with Izzy there, I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed the spin-off :D Great review, hun! As I gather from your review, the HH books share the same humor with School Spirits, and I'm glad Izzy's badassery continues ^^
    As you say though, it's clear the the intended audience is young-ish and while I was always engaged with the books, I sometimes wished for a bit more punch. Hawkins' writing is entertaining though isn't it? I'll definitely check this one out when it comes out in paperback :)

  4. I love books that make me laugh out loud, and this sounds like something I'd definitely enjoy. I laughed just reading about how Izzy watched melodramatic teen TV shows to help her adjust to school. I haven't read the Hex Hall series yet, either; as usual, it's on the TBR but I haven't gotten around to it. Loved reading your thoughts on this! :)

  5. Did you read False Memory? I didn't think that one was tame and young, but, yeah, a lot of Disney reads are like that. I definitely want to read Hex Hall before I start on the spin-off, but it's good to know it stands alone well enough, since I might break between the two series and my memory's awful. Haha.

  6. This sounds good, but I am a bit crazy about things so I won't read this unless I read the Hex Hall series first. I know I don't have to, but since it's a spin-off series I feel like I will be missing something if I don't lol!!

  7. I have heard good things about this one, I need to read it!

  8. Yay for books that make you laugh & have kick ass chicks! I haven't read the Hex Hall books either, glad to hear I don't have to do that first.

  9. Hex Hall is also filled with scenes that made me laugh and I bet you're going to love Sophie. I can't wait to read this book :D

  10. Oh good, I'm glad you liked this spinoff series despite having never read the original - that's a good sign! I also need to have read Hex Hall like yesterday. I mean, boarding school + magic? How was I not all over this one the moment I heard about it?! Everyone mentions the humour in this one and I love that because I don't think it's necessarily an easy thing to accomplish and do it well, so kudos to the author! I think you may be in for a real treat with Hex Hall if you liked this one because I understand from the reviews I've read that that one is even better! Thanks for this review! It really made me feel like I should be reading both series pronto!

  11. I am so excited for this one. I did really like the Hex Hall series and it made me a big fan of Rachel's writing. Love that it made you laugh so much! Those are always the best reads, aren't they? Great review!


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