It was supposed to be an easy spell. Just give the crying girl in the bathroom her dream date for the prom. It ended up causing chaos at the dance, and Sophie packed off to her twentieth school.This time around, though, young witch Sophia (Sophie) Mercer has been ordered to Hecate (aka Hex) Hall. It’s basically juvie for Prodigium, or supernatural beings (witches, faeries, shifters, vamps) that live in secret among humans. Here, she’s surrounded by other teens with histories of wreckless behavior. All brought together and sentenced to remain at the boarding school until their 18th birthday.Sophie’s experiences before being sent to Hex Hall are both funny and sad. She’s a witch (something that came as a bit of a shock to her) being raised by her human mother, estranged from her warlock father. Her efforts to test her powers tend to come out on the wrong side of success. Something always happens, to be sure, but it usually ends in another move, another school, and more disappointment. As you can imagine, life at Hex Hall is NOT full of sunshine and roses. Within the first few days of attendence, Sophie learns some disturbing things about her family history, and the terrifying dangers the supernatural communites face outside the “safehaven” of the school. Unfortunately for Sophie, the safehaven doesn’t stay safe for long.I really, really liked the way this story was presented. I have to admit, I saw “magic kid goes to magic school” and thought “here we go again”. However, Rachel uses a familiar formula to create a fun, interesting story with twists and turns along the way. The conflicts are both superficial (as superficial as you can get considering they all have a history of causing magical mayhem) and downright life-threatening. Students are under attack, being hurt and killed, and all fingers are pointed towards the resident vamps. Sophie has her hands full defending her friend, training with an unconventional and possibly dangerous tutor, and trying to keep herself from falling head over heels for the very hot, but very taken school hunk.The balance between the typical teen drama, and the much more intense danger was just right. Both were represented, with healthy doses of snark and sarcasm to fill in the spaces. I would have liked a little more development with some of the characters, but I’m hoping that we’ll get to dive into a few more of them in the next two books. I really loved that I found myself rooting for some characters and against others, then by the end I was all upside down and wondering how I missed the clues along the way! Some things I had figured out, other things, not so much. And the tears… at the window… nearly broke my heart! (read it, you’ll understand, I promise)Sophie’s got a lot of information to process, and a lot of choices to make at the end of this book. I’m intrigued by some of the characters that came into the spotlight towards the end (I’m full of theories), and completely baffled by some of the events that were left to be dealt with in Demonglass (book #2, due next spring). This was a pretty quick read, and made for some fun book club discussions. One thing is for sure, I can’t wait for March!