Review: School Spirits - Rachel Hawkins

Release Date: May 14th 2013
Published By: Disney-Hyperion
Pages: 297
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list

Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis: 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?

Review: School Spirits is a spin-off of the Hex Hall series. I am normally concerned with spin-offs, as they can either live up to the level set by the original series, or fail miserably… and School Spirits stepped up!

School Spirits is about Isolde “Izzy” Brannick. Izzy has spent her life being raised to follow on with the Brannick tradition – being a fully trained, extremely strong woman who hunts magical creatures – vampires, werewolves, fae etc. She knows no other way other of life, she has always lead a secluded life focused on her training, where the most interaction with other people she has is with her mother and her sister Finley – or and their pet warlock (who is locked in a mirror) Torin.

After Finley disappears, Izzy’s life changes dramatically – and to add to the changes in her life, her latest hunting case involves moving to a small town to investigate a possible haunting at the local high school. So Izzy must now not only has prove to her mother that she is a capable of upholding the Brannick name, but also learn to interact with people… and teenagers at that!

Izzy’s isn’t at Mary Evans High to make friends, or meet boys, she is there for one reason – to find out who/what is haunting the school and rectify the situation. However, that doesn’t mean that things will go according to plan. Izzy makes some new friends when she joins the Paranormal Management Society (yes, that’s PMS), and may even have a crush on a boy, which is whole new experience for her, and she has to face the dilemma of wanting to have friends but yet if she does they will be constant danger due to who she is and what she does.

This is particularly the case for Dex. As quickly as Izzy and Dex become friends, Izzy starts to develop feelings for him. Dex is extremely sweet, funny, quirky, amusing and wears way too much purple (luckily I like purple), but not only does her life put his in danger, so does his asthma, which of course is never handy to have when you are chasing monsters.

Fitting in at a regular high school is a lot tougher than Izzy imagined it would be, and while she is struggling with juggling her secret life and her friends, she must also prove to her mother that she is capable of doing jobs solo – but this particular job isn’t the nice easy ghost capture case that she originally thought. This is one seriously pissed off ghost. But is Izzy able to stop the ghost before more people get hurt – or worse?

Rachel Hawkins always brings a smile to my face, and there are many laugh out loud moments in this book. School Spirits once again brings Rachel’s witty style ensuring a fun read – and yes, you get the kissing you would expect in this book. This was clearly crafted storyline with well-developed characters to ensure that the romance in this book is subtle and realistic. Izzy is another strong female lead, who is funny, sassy, and yet somewhat innocent. Dex is not a typical male lead, nor is he like Archer from the Hex Hall, he is amusing, eccentric and just adorable – I found him to be extremely refreshing.

I think that you could read this book without reading the Hex Hall series – however I would not recommend it as there are spoilers for that series. I enjoyed learning more about the Brannicks, Torin and meeting Dex, but Hex Hall fans, I am sorry to say that there are no cameos from Sophie or Archer. It seems there are no current plans for a sequel to School Spirits, which disappoints me as there are still some (major) unanswered questions and I would love to see more of Izzy’s adventures, see what the future holds for Dex and I also would like to know what happens with some of the breadcrumbs that were placed regarding Torin. Fingers crossed for another School Spirits (or another spin-off) book!


“I thought it was a pretty dorky name, but then, a lot about vampires is dorky”

“I hate crying. The tears, the snot, the red face”

“You are my new hero. Seriously, I might actually be in love with you now. Would it be awkward if we made out?”

“I wondered why it was there were a million books on ghosts and legends and monsters, and nothing useful like, How to Go On a Normal Date Without Looking Like a Total Spaz”

“I also like ladies. And not as in shopping buddies, but in the carnal sense.”

“Everyone at the Waffle Hut is shady. That’s why the go to the Waffle Hut. To.. be shady. And eat waffles. Shadily”

“I don’t know what heaven smells like, but if it doesn’t smell like freshly baked cookies, I will be really disappointed”

What do you think?

  • Antara says:

    BAHAHAHA xD Those quotes are killing me!
    I was pretty wary of the series, but no one told me about all the funnies- I’m definitely reading this next.
    Would it be too awkward to read School Spirits before the Hex Hall series?

    • Kristy says:

      Hi Antara

      Technically you could read School Spirits without reading Hex Hall - but I wouldn’t.

      School Spirits does contain massive Hex Hall spoilers, which would ruin it for you if you then went back to read Hex Hall. And I think you would understand the world a little better by reading them first too.

      If it helps, Hex Hall has the same type of humour in it - there are lots of funny moments throughout that series, which is why I like Rachel Hawkins :)

  • Sandra says:

    I loved School Spirits too! It was definitely a fun book. There’s something about Torin that I really like. I would recommend reading the Hex Hall series before reading School Spirits simply because the series is sooooo good.

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