Monday, April 4, 2011

Review: Kat, Incorrigible

Title: Kat, Incorrigible
Author: Stephanie Burgis
Publisher: Atheneum
Category: Middle Grade
Page Count: 304
Release Date: April 5, 2011
Series: The Unladylike Adventures of Kat Stephenson #1
Source: ARC from publisher
Challenge: 2011 DAC, 2011 A-Z Challenge
Quick Rating: 5/5

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Take one part magic, two parts adventure, an a dash of cross-dressing; add two unwed sisters, a bumbling father, and a stepmother with her petticoats in a twist, and you’re in for an unlikely adventure through nineteenth-century England like Jane Austen never dreamed of.

Katherine Ann Stephenson has just discovered that she’s inherited her mother’s magical talents, and despite Stepmama’s stern objections, she’s determined to learn how to use them. But with her eldest sister Elissa’s intended fiance, the sinister Sir Neville, showing a dangerous interest in Kat’s magical potential; her other sister, Angeline, wreaking romantic havoc with her own witchcraft; and a highwayman lurking in the forest, even Kat’s reckless heroism will be tested to the utmost. If she can learn to control her new powers, will Kat be able to rescue her family and win her sisters their true loves?
Described as Jane Austen meets Harry Potter, Kat, Incorrigible is one of the most enchanting middle grade fiction titles I’ve ever come across. Set in Regency Era England, it’s a whimsical story about a brave little girl, and the family she’s willing to do anything for to save.

Kat is a remarkably clever and mature twelve-year-old heroine, and I absolutely fell in love with her stubborn feistiness. There’s nothing more I love reading about than sisters (probably because I have none of my own), and Kat’s undying devotion to making sure her sisters are happy is one of her most endearing traits. Despite feeling left out by the older two, and despite being totally confused by that whole silly “love” thing, Kat works relentlessly to make sure her sisters end up with their true loves in the end.

And as for the sisters themselves? I loved them too! They each have their own distinct personality. Elissa, the eldest, is obsessed with her romantic gothic novels, and would like nothing more than to be a martyr for her family. Angeline, the middle sister, is a vivacious, sarcastic girl, who is following in their deceased mother’s footsteps and dabbling in witchcraft. The girls also have a brother, Charles, who only makes grunts of irritation from the next room, and bangs on the wall when the girls are rambunctious and noisy. I’m hoping we see more of Charles later in the series. Of course, their bumbling father is an absolute dear, lost in his own world, and Stepmama is strict and obsessed with Society, but comes through in the end for her stepdaughters.

The story itself was refreshing and fast-paced, and it almost seemed to go by too quickly. There was not a slow moment to be found: from Kat discovering her powers as a Guardian, disappearing through magic golden mirrors, Angeline’s disastrous love spell results, and the dark and sinister Sir Neville, it was a roller-coaster ride until the very end, and I was left absolutely salivating for more.

I don’t often read middle grade books, so I’d forgotten how refreshing they can be. Given that Kat is only twelve, all the romance focuses on her older sisters, leaving Kat free to do as she pleases. In young adult, where the focus is almost always some kind of romance, it was definitely nice to take a break, and just feel like a kid again, right along with Kat.

I’m so excited to see that this is a planned series as well. I can’t wait to find out more about the Order, and about Kat’s powers as a Guardian. She’s just so delightfully unladylike, I know she’s going to get into a bunch of trouble and fantastic adventures.

The Final Word:
If you love the era of Jane Austen, mixed with a little magic and witchcraft, then this book is a must-read. Kat is a wonderful main character, and the story is quick and not over-complicated. A fast, perfectly enjoyable read.


Cover Thoughts: While the scene featured on the cover never takes place, the art style, the colors, and the expressions on the girls’ faces are beyond perfect.

Tea: Twining’s makes one of my favorite English Breakfast teas, and surely a tea so traditional would be perfect for a book set in nineteenth-century England. Since our heroine is only twelve, be sure to add plenty of milk and sugar!

Win a copy of "Kat, Incorrigible" !

I just so happen to have an extra ARC copy of "Kat, Incorrigible", and I've decided it has to be given away! Kat's wit and charm must be spread all around! 
  • U. S. entries only please! I'd love to do international, but I can't afford the shipping right now.
  • You must be 13 years of age or older to enter.
  • No emails will be sold or given away to third parties. I will always respect your privacy.
  • Winners will be chosen using
  • The giveaway will run from April 4th, 2011, to midnight (EST) April 10th, 2011.
  • Following is not required for this giveaway, but it will earn you one extra entry.
  • Reblogging or tweeting is not required, but it is definitely appreciated.
Click here to enter!
*Contest Over! Winner Here!* 

And even if you don't win, "Kat, Incorrigible" comes out tomorrow, so be sure to pick up a copy!


  1. Wow! I had no idea this book was being sold as Jane Austen meets Harry Potter. I would have just read it based on that! I really want to read this now. :)

  2. @Cialina: That was what drew me to it in the first place! I think I saw that phrase used on the Shelf Awareness add for the book a couple months ago.

  3. I don't read too much MG, but I've only read positive reviews for this one and it sounds adorable. I agree with you that it might be nice to read something where the romance is focused on someone else, and we get just a fresh, young main character:)

  4. @Jenny: I don't either, but I always seem to have pretty good luck when I do decide to read one. Having the story be character and plot driven, rather than be entirely wrapped around the romance, is definitely welcome after so much ya. XD

  5. This book seems quite cute and I think I would actually like it! And I agree with Cialina that they are genius for marketing it that way, that grabbed my attention first!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  6. @Jennifer: It is! It's absolutely genius! I instantly wanted the book when I saw that phrase. XD