School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins

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 15826934hauntings 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?

Rachel Hawkins’ delightful spin-off brings the same wit and charm as the New York Times best-selling Hex Hall series. Get ready for more magic, mystery and romance!  (description from Goodreads.com)

Although I haven’t read the Hex Hall books, I had no difficulty diving right into this spinoff series and what a joy this was to read!  Last spring, I had the pleasure of attending an author panel including Rachel Hawkins and greatly enjoyed her sense of humor – it comes through in this book.  Rarely has a voice drawn me in as quickly as Izzy’s.  I loved her character right away – strong, spunky, tenacious, brave, and just downright likeable.

Izzy’s new friends from high school – Dex, Romy, and Anderson – were just as charming and engaging.  Labeled as “freaks” by some of their fellow students, Izzy seemed to fit effortlessly into their group, allowing her to experience the foreign concept of friendship and “normal” high school life (if there is such a thing) after being home-schooled for so long because of the family business.

I can’t think of anything I didn’t enjoy about this book.  The pacing was great and the mystery kept me guessing a good portion of the story.  School Spirits would be a wonderful series for the tween/early YA crowd and is due to be published May 14, 2013.

This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher.

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