Hawkins, Rachel. School Spirits.
14 May 2013, Disney-Hyperion
E ARC from Netgalley.com
Izzy has always been homeschooled because of her mother's job-- fighting vampires, witches and ghost! Izzy does some of this, too, but her mother is constantly worried about her, especially since her sister Finn disappeared a year ago. Her mother has been following leads that a hedge witch has been uncovering, and one of these leads takes them to a new town, where Izzy has to go to high school in order to investigate a haunting there. It's hard to fit in, but she makes friends with Romy, who has started a paranormal investigative group in the school, and Dex, who is very attractive to Izzy even though she suspects that he has some magic in him. Romy's group has also been looking into the haunting of the school, and Izzy begins to realize that the spirit in question is Mary Evans, a young girl who got in trouble by one of the teachers and then died. Her ghost has been summoned by someone, and until she figures out by whom, Izzy is not able to banish her. Guided by her mother, as well as the 600 year old family wizard who is trapped in a mirror, Izzy tries to navigate the minefield of high school social interaction while working desperately to save her friends, and herself, from the ghost.
Strengths: The first chapter starts with Izzy fighting off a vampire, and I only continued reading because I was waiting around for a high school band contest. I didn't want to read about vampire hunters. But somehow, Hawkins' writing is such that I kept reading and enjoyed it. Izzy's entry into high school society was realistic, and even the ghosts and magic made sense. There was a twist at the end that I didn't quite see coming. This looks to be a series. Love how the cover is similar to the Hex Hall ones.
Weaknesses: Not sure where a sequel will go-- the story wrapped up fairly well. I also didn't completely buy that Izzy was so entirely clueless about life in school, although I did once have a friend who had never been to a McDonald's until she went to one on an orchestra trip, so it could happen!