Xanthe Fox can’t wait to turn thirteen, but as the big day arrives her world starts to fall apart. Set-up at school for something she didn’t do, it seems her age-old enemy, Kelly, is making trouble for her…and as things escalate, even her best friend Saul starts to doubt her innocence. With the school threatening to expel her, and mysterious glowing Xs appearing in front of her eyes, Xanthe turns to Grandma Alice for help. But what the old lady tells her will change Xanthe’s life for ever…
Regular visitors to this blog will know that I love books about witches so I was very excited to be offered a review copy of The Hex Factor (brilliant title!). Despite being aimed at a slightly younger audience than the majority of the books I read (it’s perfect for the 9-12 age group), as an adult I still thoroughly enjoyed this story and I read it very quickly because I couldn’t put it down until I found out what happened to Xanthe!
The story begins just a couple of days before Xanthe’s thirteenth birthday on her return to school after the Christmas holidays. I liked Xanthe and her friends straight away as they got excited about her birthday party and caught up after their break. The group come across as very normal and I’m sure that Xanthe and her friends hopes and worries will be familiar to a lot of readers. Xanthe is excited about becoming a teenager but little does she know that her life is about to change more than she could have ever imagined!
It soon becomes clear that Xanthe has a rival at school in the form of Kelly. The day before Xanthe’s birthday things start to take a turn for the worse following an incident in art class and from that point on Xanthe’s world is turned upside down. The Hex Factor is fast paced and has lots of twists and turns to keep readers gripped with plenty of mystery and magic thrown into the mix.
As well as liking Xanthe’s friends I also thought her parents and in particular her lovely grandmother Alice were great characters. This book made me miss really my own Gran who I used to go and chat to when things were tough just like Xanthe does. But she never told me anything as exciting as the secrets that Alice passes to Xanthe shortly after her birthday! I don’t want to give any spoilers but I loved the history and mythology that Harriet Goodwin has created and thought this was a fun, engaging and exciting read.
The Hex Factor did feel very much like the start of the story for Xanthe and there is great potential for a whole series of adventures for her and her friends in future. There’s even a hint of romance in Xanthe’s friendship with Saul and I hope we see this develop if there are future books. An excellent read for Halloween (or any time!)
You can find out more about Harriet Goodwin and her books at: http://www.harrietgoodwinbooks.com/
I’d like to thank the publisher for sending me a review copy of this book.