Hex Hall is a paranormal teen series with a straight main character. In fact, a lot of the personal drama of the book is a love triangle of her trying to choose between two guys. So why am I reviewing it at the Lesbrary? Because I loved her best friend Jenna too much not to share. I actually picked up the first Hex Hall book not knowing that there was a lesbian character at all (they must just be magnetically drawn to me at this point), so it was a pleasant surprise to find out that Sophie’s roommate at her new school (for magical beings) is a lesbian vampire!
I remember liking the first book, but this one really made me fall in love with Jenna and how she’s portrayed. For one thing, how common is it for a straight main character to have a lesbian best friend? The stereotypical sassy gay friend is done fairly often, but a straight girl who emotionally relies on her lesbian BFF? I was surprised at how appreciative I was of their relationship, because I feel like I haven’t seen it before. Sophie in the first book is immediately protective of Jenna, who’s an outcast at the school for being a vampire (metaphors!). Sophie obviously goes through her own struggles in that first book, and they begin to rely on each other. By Demon Glass, they have a rock solid relationship. When Sophie is offered a trip to go on, her first response is that she’ll only go if Jenna comes with her. Also, side note, Jenna is this tiny blonde vampire obsessed with the colour pink, which makes for a pretty different take on the trope.
In Demon Glass, Jenna takes on the protective role when Sophie is stuck with her usually-absent father. Along with being emotionally supportive of each other, Jenna and Sophie both gossip about their love lives, with each of them saying something to the effect of “Your girlfriend is so dreamy!” “I know, right?!” I also found it interesting that we see Sophie being jealous of Jenna’s girlfriend. As much as I’d love to see this series going towards Sophie being bisexual, I think it’s more likely that this just shows how close they are, and how much Sophie depends on her. I rarely see close relationships between gay characters and same-sex friends, especially ones that are as unselfconscious and unapologetic as this one.
Jenna doesn’t play as big a role near the end of the story, but I still feel like she is essential to the book as a whole. [spoilers] At first I was disappointed that Jenna and Sophie get in a big argument, because as I have said, I love their friendship, but it’s actually another good moment of characterization for Jenna. She doesn’t just exist to help Sophie along; she has her own values and priorities, and they don’t necessarily match Sophie’s.
I actually tweeted while reading this that I was enjoying Jenna so much as a character that I was suddenly terrified that Hawkins was going to kill her off (the Bury Your Gays trope). Then came the end of the book, and I was FURIOUS. I nearly threw the book. I had to go and google the next book as quickly as I could to make sure that Jenna lived. Luckily, she does, or it would have negated this whole review. [/spoilers]
So if you’re looking for a quick, fun teen series with a lesbian subplot/secondary character, I really recommend the Hex Hall series (at least the first two books: I haven’t read the next ones yet).