Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Kat, Incorrigible

by Stephanie Burgis

Grade: 3 1/2 stars
Story: Kat's oldest sister is going to marry a horrid man in order to save the family from destitution. Kat's other older sister has found their mother's old magic books, and is plotting another way to save the family from destitution. Kat's own plan to save the family--to dress as a boy and run away--only got as far as the garden gate. And now Kat is stuck with a boyish haircut, a cruel stepmother, and lots of plans, schemes and adventures to carry out.

Thoughts: Lots of fun--the kind of Middle Grade book I love instantly. There was a feisty, awesome heroine who spent most of her time outwitting people more than twice her age. There was magic, adventures, and mysterious highwaymen. There was family: Kat has two sisters, a brother, a father, and a stepmother, all of whom have their own issues and complexities. Finally, there was the fact that the title included the word "incorrigible". What an awesome word, eh?

If I were to have any criticisms at all, it would be that Kat was a little too insistent that she was not a girly-girl. I have an issue sometimes with the writing of "strong" female characters. Authors will often write something basically like, "She did not faint or scream, because unlike all the other women in the whole world, she is a Strong Female Character." They try to show that women are strong by...having all the women be weak in contrast to the Strong Female Character. It gets on my nerves. However, Kat wasn't too bad in this regard, and she really was unusual compared to other girls, so I didn't mind too much.

Criticism Two: I want more! More of Kat and all her further numerous adventures, more of her family, and more exploration of the magic system of this world. Fortunately, there are two sequels! Yay!

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