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Kat, Incorrigible Hardcover – April 5, 2011
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From School Library Journal
Gr 6-9–Resentful of her stepmother, her secretive older sisters, and the whole code of ladylike conduct in early-19th-century England, 12-year-old Kat Stephenson takes action. She chops off her hair, learns to use her mother's magical mirror, and fends off both well-meaning and threatening adults. Posing as a highwayman, she captures husbands for her sisters. There is more than a little wish-fulfillment here as the ignored younger sister–constantly criticized for her curiosity and impulsive behavior–discovers her exalted status while providing for her less-adept older siblings. The Regency world is drawn in broad strokes, and some secondary characters are more caricature than convincing, but the sisters–clearly close to the 21st century in their basic outlooks, even if Elissa, the eldest, fancies herself a Gothic heroine–are appealing and their relationship is believable. Regency romance and fantasy adventure all in one, this is a satisfying read and a promising beginning to a trilogy that is sure to be popular with middle school girls.–Kathleen Isaacs, Children's Literature Specialist, Pasadena, MD. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
This first title in the Unladylike Adventures of Kat Stephenson series evokes Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, Alfred Noyes, and Libba Bray with tongue firmly in cheek. It’s 1803 and 12-year-old Kat must deal with her heritage of as-yet-untrained magic powers while saving her eldest sister from marriage to a wealthy cad old enough to be her father and helping the middle sister connect with her true love. Also in the mix are a loving but ineffectual father, a vicious stepmother, a dashing highwayman, and the mysterious “Order” of witches trying to recruit Kat for proper training in magic. Although it’s unlikely that young readers will be familiar with all the literary references, Burgis’ debut title rides on its swift pace and the delightfully feisty Kat, whose fearless and frequently impulsive actions will have readers cheering her on. Historical-fiction fans will enjoy this quick romp, and romance readers may discover Regency England’s charms, perhaps even enough to seek out Pride and Prejudice and other inspirations. Grades 6-10. --Debbie Carton
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When Kat learns that her sister, Elissa, in order to save the family from disgrace, is being pushed into a marriage with Sir Neville, a rich widower about whom rumors swirl, she is determined to stop it. When her first plan involving running away dressed as a boy to London fails, she must come up with another plan to save her sister and family. Taking place in the Victorian era, this has shades of Jane Austen, except for a younger age and with magic thrown in for good measure. I found the writing to be good but not perfect, but the real fun is in the characters and plot. Almost immediately the reader starts cheering for Kat in her efforts to help, despite the fact that her plans tend to be rather dramatic and impulsive in nature. When Kat investigates her mother's things, she discovers a world very different from the one she has known, but throws herself into the magical realm with as much enthusiasm as she does everything. I found the book to be delightful and well worth reading multiple times. Definitely one of my favorites of the year.
Kat is just learning that she's a witch with powerful magic. She decides to use it to save her sisters from badly arranged marriages. It's fun, and funny. I bought it for my daughter & read it first to see if it was appropriate. I haven't read it to her yet, and I'm not sure if she'll like it due to the lack of animals.
What fun. She struggles with who and want she is or can be and does wonderful things along the way.
She goes against the social mores of her time--cuts her hair, climbs trees, has thoughts of her own! Scandalous!
This is a delightful story mixing period aspects with magic with irresistible young ladies.
All in all, great fun!
Miss Katherine Ann Stephenson has had quite enough of whisperings and secrets and knowing looks, thank you very much. Ever since her two elder sisters entered Society, they've been confiding in one another and excluding Kat at every turn. If she tries to make them tell her what is going on, Elissa and Angeline turn insufferably smug and tell her she's not old enough to understand. And Stepmama, well Stepmama has acted like Kat was a Disappointment well on her way to becoming a Disgrace ever since she first came into their lives five years ago. Given that, it's hardly likely that she'll tell Kat anything of importance.
Well Kat may be only twelve, but she's old enough to figure out that her brother Charles has been sent down from Oxford under a dark cloud, having run up enough gambling debts to ruin the entire family. And she's discovered that Stepmama has arranged for Elissa to meet (and hopefully become engaged to) the odious Sir Neville, a man who is not only old enough to be her father, but who also had his first wife die under mysterious circumstances. There is no way Kat is going to let Elissa marry Sir Neville, especially not once she discovers she's inherited her mother's magical talents. She plans to use both her wits and her new found magical skill to save her sister - once she figures out how, that is. Along the way, she'll have to rescue Angeline from the romantic mess she's in (it seems Angeline has been dabbling in a bit of witchcraft herself), And while the family is at Lady Graves's house party, Kat figures she'll get a chance to kill two birds with one stone - she can thwart Sir Neville and hopefully get a glimpse of the notorious highwayman who has been terrorizing the countryside.
A big part of the fun in this early Regency era romp comes from the fact that, even as Kat is bemoaning the fact that her sisters consider her immature, she demonstrates that in some ways at least, they are entirely correct. Kat gets herself into one scrape after another but, as she is also plucky and stubborn and ingenious, she tends to get herself right back out. The bullying and lecturing by Kat's sisters and Stepmama seemed a bit overdone, but I liked how the family stood together when it really counted. The historical aspect of the novel is wonderfully done, plenty of period detail is present, but it doesn't become so overwhelming that it detracts from the story in any way. Instead, the proper manners expected of Kat provide a humorous foil for her actual behavior. This is a good read for tweens, and for anyone who likes the combination of a Regency mystery with comedy, romance and magic. I am eagerly looking forward to Kat's next adventure, Renegade Magic, which will be published in April of 2012.
Most recent customer reviews
Miss Katherine Stephenson doesn't give a fig about being a lady. She'd much rather run wild and have adventures that would make most ladies swoon.Read more
*** This review was first posted over at: http://www.burnbright.com.au/bron-reviews-kat-incorrigible-by-stephanie-burgis ***
Kat, Incorrigible,...Read more