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Book review: 'School Spirits' is a teenage tale of a monster-hunting family

By Steve Larson

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, May 18 2013 3:00 p.m. MDT

"SCHOOL SPIRITS," by Rachel Hawkins, Disney-Hyperion, $17.99, 304 pages (f) (14 and up)

A new novel by New York Times best-selling author Rachel Hawkins tells the story of Isolde "Izzy" Brannick. Izzy is a 15-year-old girl who happens to be the last of the line of Brannicks. The family, it turns out, happens to have the distinction of being responsible for hunting magical creatures.

When Izzy's older sister disappears while on the job, Izzy suddenly finds herself longing for a normal life. When her mom moves her to the small town of Ideal, Miss., Izzy begins to get a taste of what a normal life would entail.

However, her old life refuses to go away. Upon arriving in Ideal, Izzy learns the local high school is being haunted by an angry ghost. Izzy's mom quickly decides this would be a good case for Izzy to handle on her own while also giving her a chance to experience the normal life she has been craving.

Izzy begins her search for the high school ghost by joining the local paranormal investigation club. The club's members have a wealth of information and are quick to accept Izzy as a new student interested in hunting ghosts.

As Izzy starts to gain ground on determining the cause of the haunting, she also finds herself becoming drawn to the simple life of a high school student in a small town. She also finds herself strangely attracted to one of the boys in the paranormal club.

"School Spirits" is an entertaining read. Hawkins does a good job creating characters that are interesting and worth getting to know. While the overall plot is fairly simple, this book is a spin-off of Hawkins' best-selling Hex Hall series and looks to become a series of its own.

This book does contain some references to teen sex and pregnancy. It also has a small amount of strong language and descriptions of teen romance.

If you go ...

What: Rachel Hawkins book signing

When: Wednesday, May 22, 7 p.m.

Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City

Web: kingsenglish.com

Note: Places in the signing line are reserved for those who purchase a copy of "School Spirits" from The King's English.

Steve Larson is one of the founders of Information Alliance, a Utah-based data collection company. He currently serves as vice president of sales. He spends his free time writing and practicing photography. He also enjoys spending time outdoors.

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