I just finished reading Renegade Magic, the second book in Stephanie Burgis’ series about Kat Stephenson, a 12-year-old I would dearly love to be friends with (minus the dangerous situations she gets into). Kat is a feisty, funny, incredibly loyal character, who would (and does) do anything for her two older sisters. Her mother, who died in childbirth with Kat, was a witch – something totally unacceptable in proper society. The books are set in England, at a time when people still use horse and carriage to get around, and Kat’s un-ladylike ways (as well as her new found magical talents) are a trial to her Stepmother.
Not only do I love Kat, I also adore her sisters. Elissa, the oldest, is loving, maternal, and willing to sacrifice for the good of her family. Angeline has a bit more spunk (and less patience). She’s also begun to practice magic, with hilarious results. The baddies in the books are just as much fun. It’s hard to create a good villain, and Birgis does a great job of writing people you will love to hate. (Think Dolores Umbridge.)
In addition to great characters, these books also have fun, fast-paced plots that involve moments of real danger and bravery, as well as laugh out loud comedies of error. They are appropriate for 6th graders on up. Kat may be a little young for older students to relate to, but they will surely still have a heck of a lot of fun getting to know her. Also, how awesome are those covers?