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SCHOOL SPIRITS by Rachel Hawkins Kirkus Star


by Rachel Hawkins

Age Range: 12 - 18

Pub Date: May 14th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-4231-4849-4
Publisher: Hyperion

Izzy—short for Isolde—and her mother are the last in their centuries-old line of monster killers.

Izzy’s sister Finley disappeared while the sisters were dealing with a witches’ coven, and Izzy has felt guilty about the incident ever since, holding herself responsible. Looking for a break, Izzy’s mom moves them to Ideal, Miss., and sends Izzy to high school, an environment completely foreign to the girl, with the hope that she will be able to deal with a local ghost. Izzy makes actual friends there but learns that this ghost has far more power than usual, and she comes to suspect that one of her cherished new friends may have summoned it. Worse, she’s attracted to Dex, but the boy gives off vibes that Izzy picks up as supernatural. She can’t tell just what kind of being Dex might be, but she hopes she won’t have to kill him. Hawkins dials the level of humor up to high throughout most of the book, with deftly phrased witticisms in both the narrative (“worry slithered through me”) and her characters’ dialogue (“I am affronted!” declares Dex). Her characterizations shine as original and funny, especially Dex and Torin, an Elizabethan-era warlock trapped for centuries in the Brannicks’ mirror, who dispenses dubious advice. Finley still being missing, it’s entirely possible this, itself a spinoff of the Hex Hall books, may become a series.

Here’s hoping the Brannicks will be back—their story’s marvelous fun. (Paranormal comedy/suspense. 12 & up)