Hex Educationby Emily Gould, Zareen Jaffery, Zareen Jaffrey
sophie stone doesn't want to leave the bright lights of lA for the dreary little burg of Mythic, Massachusetts. so why, then, does she feel eerily drawn to the place? And why, after she crosses the county line, does she begin having headaches, accompanied by strange and frightening visions? At least school is a bright spotsophie is immediately accepted by the coolest, most popular, best-dressed girls at Mythic High. but what she doesn't know is that her new friends don't buy their couturethey conjure it! they're a coven of witches, formed to save the town from an evil that is rising, an evil that was foretold decades ago. And sophie is their leader!
will sophie embrace her powers and save the town? or is Mythic totally hexed?
Read an Excerpt
At the center of the block I spot a hanging sign - a cauldron shaped like a coffee mug. This must be Strange Brews, home of the "Spooky Scone." Striding determinedly through the door and past the quaint atmosphere, I lean into the counter and deliver my usual Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf order to a barista, who has his back turned toward me:
"Tallhalfcafsoypeppermintmocha. Oh, and extra foam, please?"
The guy turns around. And: whoa.
Mythic's approval rating skyrockets when he smiles, squinting at me from behind his floppy blond hair. He's tall, but looks to be about my age. His name tag reads Linc Montgomery. The soap star name makes me feel like somebody might be messing with me - I mean, Linc Montgomery? His athletic build allows him to totally pull off a poly-blend coffee brown polo. His killer blue eyes match his apron perfectly. The expression in said eyes, however, is completely befuddled.
"I'm sorry, but we just have regular and decaf."
Suddenly, I feel really stupid about wearing sunglasses indoors. I try to remove them subtly. "So ... you don't have espresso drinks here?"
Linc - Linc? - smiles kindly at me, and I inwardly swoon.
"You must be new in town," he says. "We have an espresso machine, but it's on the fritz. Um, again."
I return Linc's smile and silently promise to give Mythic the benefit of the doubt - for now.
"Well, regular coffee then, please," I tell him.
He turns to fill my order. "So, have you been to the museum already?"
I blink. A museum? This dinky little burg has an art museum?
"Oh yeah, I was really impressed with the collection," I bluff. "Definitely some beautiful pieces."
Linc gives me a bemused look. "Have you been to a lot of witchcraft museums besides the Mythic Historical Society?"
I'm glad I haven't gotten my coffee yet because I'd probably be spitting it out in horror. Talk about sending the wrong message!
"Nonono. I don't know anything about that stuff," I say, backpedaling. "I just was so impressed because - because I'd never seen any Wiccan artifacts before." I pause. "Ever!"
I wait for Linc to back away slowly and call the men in white suits to come and take me away. But instead, he smiles and tactfully changes the subject. "So are you sticking around in Mythic for a while, or are you just here on a day trip?" he asks as he turns back to the counter.
"My family just moved here, actually. I'm about to start school at Mythic High. Do you go there?" "I will ... I'm going to be a freshman," he says.
"Me too!" I say, trying (maybe not hard enough) to keep the excitement out of my voice.
Linc leans toward me with squinched-up eyebrows, as if he's about to ask a difficult question. A moment passes, then another.
"So, Sophie. Do you want ... ?"
My brain begins to buzz. Oh my God. Is he going to ask me out? Wait until I tell Alexa/Jenny/Celeste that I got a date before school even started!
"Sure!" I squeak.
"... milk?" Linc finishes.
I close my eyes. My face, undoubtedly, turns purple. I nod silently.
He just smiles, though, and makes to top off my cup. Then he gives the carton a discouraged shake. "Pudder!" he shouts.
Another brown-uniformed dude appears from the back. "Yes, Linc?" he says, already wincing.
Linc holds the carton aloft. "Milk, Pudder. We're out."
"Sure thing," says ... Pudder. I immediately see the reason for the humiliating nickname: the tag on his shirt reads Paul Pudnowski.
I hate to say it, but he kind of looks like a Paul Pudnowski. Where Linc has muscles, Paul has posture issues. And while Linc's baby blues are the stuff dreams are made of, Paul's eyes are the stuff thick glasses are made to correct the vision of.
But who am I to talk? I'm the new kid. Judge not, lest ye be, and all that.
Linc gives me an apologetic glance, then opens his mouth to speak. The sound of a little chime stops him. The front door of the coffee shop swings open, and a waft of cotton-candyish perfume fills the air. Looking at something directly behind me, Linc wordlessly deposits my paper cup of coffee on the counter and heads into the back room of the cafe.
"Emergency, Pudder. Coreymergency," I hear him say in a muffled voice. A second later, Paul emerges from the back.
And then something very blond is swishing past me, up to the counter.
"Hi, Corey. Linc's not here."
"Latte, skim, no foam. I mean not even a tiny little bit of foam," the blonde demands.
"Well, the espresso machine is still broken. And actually, there's someone ... um ... there's another customer ahead of you? Who I haven't rung up yet? Sorry?"
There's a cold silence, during which I start to feel very, very sorry for Paul Pudnowski.
Finally, the blonde turns around and faces me. She also looks about my age, but her immaculate, American Girl doll-style ringlets belong on someone much older. Her outfit is head-to-toe pink, to match her nauseating perfume. Her eyes are steely gray and mean. I catch myself beginning to back slowly toward the door.
"You don't mind, do you." It's not really a question. I make some kind of gesture with my head, and Corey turns back to Paul. "She doesn't mind. Give me a small black coffee. That espresso machine better be fixed next time I'm in here. And Linc better say hi to me next time." As Paul hurriedly fills her order, Corey cranes her head toward the back room. "HI, SWEETIE!" she shouts. Then she plunks a couple of quarters down on the counter and is gone as quickly as she arrived.
I look at the coins, then back up at Paul Pudnowski, who is staring sadly down at the straw dispenser.
"Fifty cents! So this town has something going for it after all," I say, because I have to say something.
Paul smiles a definite "A girl! Is being nice! To me!" smile. "Well, Corey sort of gets the psychopath discount. It's actually supposed to be seventy-five cents - but I'm way too scared to tell her about the price increase."
"Yeah, she's scarier than every Halloween decoration I've seen today."
Paul shrugs. "Guess you can act however you want when you're Corey Upton."
"Really?" I frown in confusion. "Why?"
"Her mom and dad are the most powerful people around," Paul fills me in. "They're rich, and Mrs. Upton likes to brag about how her family goes back to Mythic's original settlers."
"Like anyone cares?"
"You'd be surprised," Paul tells me. "Pretty much anything the Uptons say in this town goes."
An awkward silence descends, and I decide it's probably a good idea to change the subject. "Sooo, seventy-five cents is still pretty cheap - so yeah, score one for Mythic."
Paul leans his elbows on the counter. "Well, things are cheap in rural Guatemala too, although I think they probably have a slightly more boring nightlife."
"I was never one for the nightlife anyhow," I say, playing along. "Maybe we should move to Guatemala. I could learn to love eating capybara."
"Capybara ... nice." Paul nods appreciatively. "Referencing the local fauna. I see I'm playing out of my league. Before you come to your senses about this whole thing, I'll book our tickets."
He turns to Linc, who's finally reemerged from the back room. "Hey, can you cover my shifts? I just decided to move to South America with some girl whose name I don't even know."
"That's Sophie," Linc says. "And keep dreaming. Girls can't tolerate you long enough to walk across the street with you." He absentmindedly punches Paul on the arm as he walks past.
"That hurts, man," Paul says. He places a hand over his heart to ease his mock pain. "It hurts me, deep inside."
"But speaking of covering shifts," Linc continues, lowering his voice so that I almost can't catch what he's saying, "I need, like, fifteen minutes - just gonna go out front. Girl issues. You're being upgraded from busboy while I'm out, Pudder."
Paul barely winces at the name, then pastes on a bland smile. "Be my guest ... I've got everything under control here." He smiles at me, grabs the carton of milk, and pours into my coffee cup with a dorky flourish. Linc brushes past me on his way toward the door, cell already out of his pocket.
But then, suddenly, he turns around and faces us.
"Pudder, did you even ask if she wanted sugar?" Paul shakes his head, and Linc strides back toward me. Grabbing a shaker, he pours a scant spoonful into my cup. "Not too sweet," he says under his breath, then flicks his eyes toward my face for what can't be more than a second.
Still, my breath stops. Are we having, like, a moment?
Or am I delusional?
Or, option (c): am I just insanely clumsy? Because as Linc turns back to leave, I nearly knock my cup of steaming hot, milky, not-too-sweet coffee onto the stack of newspapers sitting on the counter.
I raise my hand to grab the cup before it spills, but as the cup is teetering on the edge of falling over it stops, mid-tip. I move my hand closer, and the cup moves back into its natural standing position.
I gasp. What was that? How did my coffee just stop - in midair?
Is it possible that Mythic, Massachusetts, has invented spill-proof cups?
This place is so chock-full of hokey crap - like the plastic tarantulas hanging from the ceiling - that it isn't hard to imagine.
I look up to see if anyone has noticed this latest weirdo episode, but Linc is almost out the door, and Paul has his head stuck in a copy of the Mythic Gazette. It would probably be good to bone up on my new community, so I grab a Gazette and fold it under my arm just as Paul looks back up at me. "Hey! You're Spooky Stone's daughter!"
I wince. "You know? How?"
He flips the paper around and points to the bottom half of the front page. The title of the article? "The Return of Spooky."
There's an accompanying picture of my dad wearing his mid-eighties signature all-black ensemble. My mom, looking gorgeous in a black sheath dress. And me - in all my spider-print onesie glory. Beneath that photo, my eighth-grade class portrait. So much for blending in.
Meet the Author
Emily Gould lives in Brooklyn, New York. Zareen Jaffrey lives in Stamford, Connecticut.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Sophie's in for a rough year.
Not only have her parents decided to move across the country, but they're heading to the hometown of her father, Mythic, Massachusetts, a popular destination spot for horror fanatics.
She has no desire to be away from Los Angeles and couldn't be less interested in her parents' and the town's horror obsession.
However, she's about to change her mind. Sophie soon meets a group of girls who have the power to create anything their hearts desire. And they recognize the same characteristics in Sophie. Before long, they realize they must combat the evil witch who's creating the freak storms in town.
If you're interested in witchcraft, don't miss this one!
Sophie¿s in for a rough year. Not only have her parents decided to move across the country, but they¿re heading to the hometown of her father, Mythic, Massachusetts, a popular destination spot for horror fanatics. She has no desire to be away from Los Angeles and couldn¿t be less interested in her parents¿ and the town¿s horror obsession. However, she¿s about to change her mind. Sophie soon meets a group of girls who have the power to create anything their hearts desire. And they recognize the same characteristics in Sophie. Before long, they realize they must combat the evil witch who¿s creating the freak storms in town. If you¿re interested in witchcraft, don¿t miss this one! **Reviewed by: Jennifer Rummel
I truly believe that this SHOULD NOT be in the 'teen' section. There were so many cheesy parts, I thought I was going to puke. In the overall plot of the book, it seemed, faulty and childish. Way to go, authors.
This book was great! The story line was good and humor was added in, too. The one thing I didnt like was that the book was too short and would have been better with just a little more detail... I would strongly recomend it for anyone looking for a good quick read about witches.