In Miss Mabel’s School for Girls, 16-year-old Bianca Monroe enrolls in the respected Miss Mabel’s School for Girls in order to break a curse put on her by the evil headmistress, Miss Mabel. She runs into quite a few challenges along the way.
This is an imaginative, well-written, thoughtful story of Bianca’a experiences at Miss Mabel’s School for Girls. The book has enough similarities to Harry Potter to be familiar, but there are enough differences to keep things fresh.
The plot is similar to Harry Potter in that it is about young witches who go to a special school for witches. A major difference (and it is a great one) is that it is an all-female school. In fact, only two male characters are even mentioned: Bianca’s father and the school groundskeeper. Also, Bianca has a definite purpose for attending the school. She specifically is doing what she needs to in order to break a curse on her family and begins preparing to attend Miss Mabel’s early on. By contrast, Harry found out about Hogwarts by accident, and he didn’t have a specific plan for his education until after he started going to Hogwarts. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with that, and for the Harry Potter character it works, but I love that Bianca has a goal from the beginning. This is a journey of someone struggling to survive.
The characters are all flawed, which makes them more realistic. Bianca is pretty focused on outwitting Miss Mabel (understandably so). Miss Mabel is a manipulative, evil individual, and makes an excellent antagonist for Bianca. Bianca’s friends are likable and care about Bianca, but are focused on their own issues at the same time. Mildred, the High Priestess, is business-like and gruff, but underneath the stern exterior she has a good heart. The book does touch on topics that could be considered “adult” or “mature” but this is accomplished tastefully without becoming graphic.
The interaction between Bianca, Miss Mabel, Leda, Camille, Michelle and Mildred is creative and engaging. Ms. Cross gives the reader enough information to make the scenes interesting, but leaves out enough details to leave her audience wondering what is going to happen. (What a sneaky writer). J Things aren’t left hanging at the end of the story, but there are also enough unanswered questions to leave things open for the next adventure. Miss Mabel’s is excellent work and something I will be very glad to read again later.