Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

The Network #1

Miss Mabel's School for Girls

Rate this book
Never underestimate the power of a determined witch.

Letum Wood is a forest of fog and deadfall, home to the quietly famous Miss Mabel’s School for Girls, a place where young witches learn the art of magic.

Sixteen-year-old Bianca Monroe has inherited a deadly curse. Determined to break free before it kills her, she enrolls in the respected school to confront the cunning witch who cast the curse: Miss Mabel.

Bianca finds herself faced with dark magic she didn’t expect, with lessons more dangerous than she could have ever imagined. Will Bianca have the courage to save herself from the curse, or will Miss Mabel’s sinister plan be too powerful?

Miss Mabel’s School for Girls is the first novel in The Network Series, an exciting new fantasy collection. A gripping tale about the struggle to survive, it will take you to a new place and time, one you’ll never want to leave.

316 pages, Kindle Edition

First published March 21, 2014

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Katie Cross

80 books681 followers
My world revolves around my husband (who is a major hottie), my precious kids, my Vizsla’s who act like children, and the mountains.

I wear hiking boots instead of heels when I need to feel powerful, and on a bad day, I love a weightlifting workout. Actually, I love it on a good day.

I don’t eat bread because my thyroid doesn’t like it, although there are days I miss it. Especially ciabatta. Sweet potatoes are kind of my thing. Cookies too.

I write because I never stopped.

Author of The Network Series, The Dragonmaster Trilogy, and The Health and Happiness Society.

Email me at kcrosswriting@gmail.com

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
1,413 (33%)
4 stars
1,576 (37%)
3 stars
914 (21%)
2 stars
221 (5%)
1 star
85 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 638 reviews
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,574 reviews5,911 followers
June 24, 2015

But of course!

Sixteen year old Bianca's family is cursed. The thing is the curse of three's entails that when she turns seventeen Bianca will die from the curse.

Who placed the curse in the first place? Miss Mabel. The head of the girl's witchcraft school. Bianca plans on being taken as her head student so that she can convince Mabel to lift the curse.

First she must compete against girls that have been at the school longer than she has to win the competition. Once she does she realizes that Mabel is not as nice as she wants people to believe.

This is not a bad little book. The main character never resorts to the typical young adult woes that usually tick me off.
Terror had me in her awful grip. I was nothing more than a big balls of nerves and fear. No amount of confidence or acting calm would take a curse away from a terrified sixteen-year-old in far over her head. I hid behind my own determination and confidence, pretending to be brave, pretending it would change reality, when fate wouldn't allow us to change anything. Would she?

Profile Image for ❀Aimee❀ Just one more page....
443 reviews93 followers
June 27, 2015
Magic, witches, somewhat 1800's country feel, curses and villains! I had a lot of fun reading this book. It had been awhile since I was eager to finish a book as soon as I got home. The writing is an easy read, but felt more mature than most debut authors.

Bianca gets into Miss Mabel's school for girls with the intent of trying to find a way to remove curse that effects her grandmother, mother, and herself. Miss Mabel is responsible for the curse and the only one who can remove it.

Bianca is a strong main character. I enjoyed her sarcastic and flippant inner dialogue. Bianca has trained her whole life for this confrontation, but plays it as though she is as naive as her classmates. She soon make two close friends at the school. Each are flawed in their own way but fiercely loyal. There are no boys - thus no romance getting in the way of the story!

The first part of the book involves a competition in which the winner gets to be the sole pupil of powerful Miss Mabel. I was very impressed that the author didn't draw out the competition and make it the sole plot device of the first book. There is plenty of other things that happen in the book.

I never knew exactly what to expect or what was coming. Miss Mabel is definitely a whip smart and cruel villain. Every time she "teaches" Bianca, there is subterfuge and trickery involved. Bianca has to keep finding ways to outsmart her and stay alive without becoming more like Miss Mabel in the process.

I'm definitely interested in continuing this series.

Thank you Netgalley and Antebellum Publishing for a free digital copy in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Rosanna.
165 reviews67 followers
September 24, 2014
One of the most entertaining books I've read this year. I highly recommend it to everyone, and especially those who love witches and magic schools.

The writing was wonderful and I can't say enough about the characters. There is no annoying YA drama queens! Amen, people!

Great, fun story. Read the book.
Author 1 book7 followers
April 1, 2014
I don’t like stories about witches. Seriously. The House of Night series, I couldn’t get past the first book.

I may have to turn in my nerd card but Harry Potter, I have yet to finish the opening chapter.

I just was not amused by all the hocus pocus.

Sorry David.

It could be that I was traumatized as a child.

Nightmares for days.

Or it could be that I hadn’t read Miss Mabel’s School for Girls.

Katie Cross has awakened a whole new genre for me. The story opens on a young girl, named Bianca being ‘tested’ for admittance in a highly prestigious school for fledgling witchlings. The air is thick with tension and you are pulled to the edge of your seat in the first few pages.

Bianca is accepted but that was just the first hurdle that she must jump to break a legacy curse that will kill her within months. Bianca must use every talent at her disposal because nothing is what it seems in Miss Mabel or her drafty school. Does she have what it takes to save her own life?

Action packed from beginning to end, you cheer Bianca on as she is met with numerous obstacles in her fight to rid herself from the clutches of this curse, and the ever crafty Miss Mabel.
Profile Image for Kirsty.
238 reviews116 followers
July 19, 2015
I'm just going to jump right in and say what kept going through my mind the entire book...the author has been HUGELY influenced by Harry Potter, and this has had a massive impact on her writing of Miss Mabel's School for Girls.

There were so many comparisions that I started a mental checklist;

Cursed teenager? ✔️
Magical school? ✔️
Bookish best friend? ✔️
Big hearted best friend? ✔️
An underage pupil compeating in a three trials quest? ✔️ (The Triwizard Cup in Goblet of Fire).
A seemingly stern teacher with a hidden agenda? ✔️
Political unrest / corruption within the magical community? ✔️
People who can transform into animals? ✔️
Family tragedy and loss?✔️

I'm sure you can see my point. Yet for all the these things that made the HP series so engaging, there just wasn't the same feeling of anticipation or atmespheric build up in Miss Mabel's school for girls. I just felt it was lacking heart.

Bianca has spent her whole childhood working towards gaining entry to Mabel's school, and she's not about to let anything stand in her way. She needs to gain direct access to Mabel in order to remove a curse that was put on the women in her family before she was even born. There are time constraints on the curse, and of course, the prerequiste awful conclusion that the author uses to try to create empathy for Bianca, but it never really had me rooting for her.

Because Bianca is so advanced in her spell casting for her age, and she's able to deal with all the trials, hexes, curses and general problems that come her way, I never really felt that she was in danger, or wouldn't pull through to the end. So for me there wasn't much tension or anticipation to keep reading, at around the 65% mark I really started to stuggle to push through and complete it.

Apparently this is going to be the first of several in the series, will I be carrying on with it? In a word, no. When I'm craving a dose of teenage magic next time I'll reread Harry Potter! ⚡️⚡️⚡️

Sincere thanks to the publishers and Netgalley for providing a free copy in exchange for my honest review.

Profile Image for J.S. Bailey.
Author 23 books229 followers
April 6, 2014
Before I begin, allow me to mention that I received a free copy of this novel from the author to review.


I became acquainted with Katie Cross back when the Blue Monkey writing blog was still in existence. Then it dissolved, and some of the survivors of said blog decided to organize a new writing blog called Obey the Muse, which I became a part of. (Shameless blog promo: www.obeythemuse.com. Visit us. VISIT US!!!)


Katie had been talking about Miss Mabel's School for Girls for a long time, and it was finally released March 27...

...and the world was never the same again.

Miss Mabel's School for Girls tells the story of Bianca, a 16-year-old witch whose family has been cursed. She decides to attend Miss Mabel's School and enters a magical competition in an attempt to bargain with Miss Mabel so the curse can be removed.

At first I was thinking, hmmmmmmmm. School where people study witchcraft. Magical competition. Now where have I seen these things before?

I was pleased to see that MMSFG took a unique turn that is unlike anything I've read before. Miss Mabel is one of the most conniving characters I've seen in fiction. Bianca tries to bargain with her, but Mabel has her own agenda for Bianca, who will end up playing into Mabel's hands if she isn't careful.

There were some neat concepts in this story that I liked, such as the fact that Bianca lives in a world where all non-magical people have been banished to another continent. As students at the school master certain areas of study, a kind of tattoo magically appears on their wrist as a sign of their achievement. (How cool is that?) There is also political turmoil in the land, and I am eager to see what happens to Bianca and her world in the next installment of this series.

Overall, Katie Cross has a fresh and vivid writing style and I have to say her debut novel is a job well done!
Profile Image for Stephan McLeroy.
62 reviews
March 5, 2015
So, as a 30 year old male, I figured out REALLY fast that I am not the target audience for this book. Why the hell is the main character so concerned with comparing her hair to other girls' hair? Oh... right.... 16 year old girls. In fact, if you are a male reader who is interested in this book, be warned: there are no male characters in this book, for the most part. This isn't bad, however. The narrative was strong, the themes were pretty straight forward, and the main character was not annoying, which is something I run into with YA fiction. The plot kept me hooked, and I genuinely wanted to find out what happened.

The end came a little abruptly for my taste, and it basically sets up for the next book in the series. Despite this, I enjoyed the book a lot, and gave it to my friend's daughter who is LOVING IT.
Profile Image for Kirstin Pulioff.
Author 13 books825 followers
March 26, 2014
This is one of the best books I have read so far this year, and I can't wait to tell you why.

Where should I start singing the praises... let's start with the characters. Katie Cross must not believe in wimps, because this book is littered with strong female characters. From the heroine Bianca Monroe, to Miss Mabel, the High Priestess, and even some of the side characters. Strength, intelligence, and determination are praised and highlighted as positive attributes.

At a very basic level, Bianca Monroe is a girl who struggles with a curse. Where most people would lay down and accept it, she does not. She fights for another option. If only Miss Mabel felt the same way. Miss Mabel is a deliciously evil character. Hints are given throughout the books, but when the truth behind her actions becomes evident, you will find yourself hissing at the page. Every book needs a clear antagonist to hate, and this book has one. To even out the story, there are sweet, misunderstood, and awkward students and teachers that help drive the story, and even out the main characters.

And even though you'll be drawn in by the characters, the action will keep you going. There are so many twists and turns, and new directions that this story takes, that I don;t want to give any of it up. I can only say that Miss Mabel's School for Girls will be for witches what Hogwarts is for wizards...

Every author tries to put their own spin on being original. Create their own world specifics. I say every author tries, but this one succeeds! From the quaint terms (merry meet), to competitions, and educational and political tiers and struggles. This author takes the foundation of some of our favorite fantasy pieces and sprinkles her own magic dust on them.

This book is original, refreshing, and an utter joy. I am impressed by the author, and how she struck it out of the park in her debut novel. Creating complex and vulnerable characters, relationships, and struggles.

My praises do not stop there... besides the excellence that it proves on all other aspects, it is a book that transcends the ages with mass appeal. It is a clean read for the upper middle grade crowd, with enough darkness and angst for the tweens and teens.

All in all, I am superbly impressed, and anxiously awaiting the sequel! 5 stars!
Profile Image for Raegan .
603 reviews27 followers
June 30, 2017
-Disclaimer: I won this book for free through goodreads giveaways in exchange for an honest review.-

This was a pretty good read! Katie Cross really knows how to set the scene. She does every scene in full blown detail. This book reminded me of Harry Potter.

I felt the main character, Bianca, was rather annoying. She was 16 in this book but acted like she was 6. I wanted to know more about the characters in this book. I would have liked to know more about Bianca s family too. It did get a little boring time after time but it did pick up. This book could have used a couple of plot twist, otherwise that it was a pretty good book.
Profile Image for Summer.
65 reviews2 followers
June 8, 2015
Omg where do i begin......

Reminds me of House of Night series, Harry Potter series, and the Secret Circle series.

I would give this outstanding story 10 stars! This will be the next hit in YA fiction! Not to mention the different world that we are transported to by the excellent story telling.

Such a strong main character. I fell in love with Bianca. Loving the family. Loyalty to the family.

This book is not even out yet and I'm wanting to get my hands on the next installment.

I will definitely be buying a copy for my library!

This is definitely the next Harry Potter!

Thank you Katie Cross for bringing this excellent story and world to us! I cannot wait to see where this story takes us!

I enjoyed this journey to another world!

And thank you Netgalley for letting me read this for an honest review!

Profile Image for Kare.
110 reviews3 followers
June 13, 2014
Loved this YA book! I had a hard time putting the book down because each chapter came with new surprises as different characters revealed nuances to the story. I loved all the introduction to
The characters for the series. I'm excited for the rest of the series to come out.
Profile Image for Kate.
178 reviews37 followers
June 11, 2015
I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Bianca Monroe is a 16-year-old witch. A powerful Inheritance curse has been placed on her mother and grandmother. The witch behind the curse is none other than Miss Mabel of Miss Mabel’s School for Girls. The school is the most prestigious one in the Witches’ Network and every year, it hosts a Student Competition, the prize of which is private lessons with the school’s High Witch. Within the first few hours of arriving to the school, Bianca volunteers for the Competition – the first first-year volunteer in centuries. She needs to get to Miss Mabel and to save her family. But what she doesn’t realise, and what she has been warned about, is that winning the Competition was the easiest part – Miss Mabel is cunning, ruthless and ambitious and has her own agendas, for which Bianca could be the perfect weapon…

“Miss Mabel’s School for Girls” is a fairly short novel – I managed to finish it in an afternoon. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I was pleasantly surprised. For a debut author, the world of The Witch Networks is quite solid – I read a lot of fantasy and paranormal books, and witches, together with vampires, are amongst my least favourite premises. Katie Cross, however, did manage to make it work for me. Perhaps it’s because I love novels set in boarding schools, and I especially like it when there are actual lessons and learning going on – otherwise it’s just a building where teenagers rebel and manage to fool experienced supervisors with the dumbest tricks in the book. The writing is unpretentious and sets the fast pace quite nicely. Even Bianca’s occasional internal monologues fit it really well.

The book is the first instalment in “The Network series”, which explains the brief, albeit, as I said above, quite solid explanations of the world of The Network. One of the things that surprised me was that the witches in the book were more “Harry Potter” than those who practice Wiccan religion. The students at Miss Mabel’s School learn charms, spells, magical arts and other things of the sort – which is what we see at Hogwarts. However, the world of Harry Potter doesn’t have High Priests and Priestesses, whereas in “The Network” they are quite important. I look forward to leanring more about the world in the next installment!

“Miss Mabel” is a quick, fast-paced read that doesn’t try to be anything other than a nice way to spend a summer afternoon. It is a very good book for a summer reading list. My rating is 6.5/10
Profile Image for Karen.
344 reviews9 followers
May 17, 2020
Read for Monthly Motif 2020: Seeing Red in February

My review is just thoughts as I read.

Right off, Bianca (in my notes I kept calling her Brianna, oops) volunteers for some competition. She’s been at school for maybe 12 hours. Could be less, I don’t remember or really care. This just seems like a way to speed up the plot.

A huge amount of people have read Harry Potter (shocking) and loved these books (to me, also shocking). I think I would’ve liked this book better if we hadn’t just dived in. She gets to school and boom! A competition is starting and she’s going to join in!
I also feel like the diving in almost seems like a poorly done unreliable narrator. Bianca doesn’t talk about her curse at all. She just alludes to it ALL THE FUCKING TIME in the beginning. I hate that because on the back cover synopsis, IT TELLS YOU THERE IS A CURSE. Maybe the synopsis should be rewritten. That just really bothered me because I already knew what she was alluding to. So the book acts as if we don’t know she’s cursed, but we do know!

Why is Bianca two weeks late to school? What was she doing that made her late? Did I just miss this information because I was skimming? Why does Bianca have to be so god damn perfect? She knows everything! Ugh.

I don’t think HP is a perfect series. I think it is good, but every book has flaws. But what I really like about HP is that Harry isn’t perfect. He isn’t the smartest in class or the best at magic. He isn’t an overachiever or a know it all. He makes mistakes and learns from them. What I find distasteful in Miss Mabel’s school is the whole beginning plot line. There’s a competition and almost immediately Bianca volunteers. She already knows magic and is apparently brilliant at it. Still wondering why she even came to this school - oh wait, it says on the synopsis even though I guess we aren’t supposed to know.

I also hated that there is a character who is described as ugly, large and cumbersome throughout the book. Why? Why must she continuously be described so meanly? Can’t you have a character who is plain and not describe her meanly all the time?

What would happen if Bianca had a child before her 17th birthday? Would the curse pass to the child? Would Bianca still die? If Bianca has siblings, would he siblings be cursed? Or would it just pass to the first born and the others would be fine? I feel like there are so many things she could do with this curse that would have made the book more interesting.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Joana Vieira.
24 reviews4 followers
July 23, 2014
This review can also be found at Joana In The Sky With Books

If there was only one word I could use to describe this novel, it would be "WOW"!

This book is absolutely action packed from beginning to end! There are no dull moments and there are so many twists and turns that you just have to keep turning the pages. It's definitely one of those books that you only want to put down when you finish it. I have to say that I don't remember the last time a book surprised me, but this one sure did! When I thought I knew what was going to happen, there was some sort of twist...which made this story incredibly interesting.

I also loved how different all the female characters were. Usually when people talk about "strong female characters" they are talking about the heroine who fights everyone; I liked how Katie challenged that notion: we have Bianca who is indeed the heroine who fights back but we also have Miss Mabel, for example who is probably one of the smartest and most cunning women in fiction...and absolutely evil too!
The secondary characters were very dynamic and were an important part of the plot of the story.

I don't know if there is coming on the next books or not but there was absolutely no romance in this novel, which, in a way, I thought was quite refreshing and different from everything that is out there at the moment.

Katie was able to create an original and magical world like no other I've ever read about. Plus, places were described beautifully and almost made it seem like we were there.

This was a great beginning of a series and I'm sure to keep up with it! Definitely recommed it!

"Fear is an ally. It tells you something is wrong, like pain." is definitely one of my favourite quotes ever!
Profile Image for Morris.
964 reviews164 followers
July 12, 2015
“Miss Mabel’s School for Girls” is one of those books that makes me wish for a half-star rating system. It is better than a three, but not good enough for a four, and it is frustrating not to be able to show that properly. At any rate, it is definitely a good book, but not a great one.

I really love the world of witchcraft called The Network that the author built. It’s filled with everything a good fantasy or fairy-tale should have: mystery, wonder, good, and evil. How things came to be the way they are is explained thoroughly and naturally, with the history of The Network and all other details being revealed as part of the plot, as opposed to being all dropped on the reader at once.

Bianca is a wonderful and strong female protagonist, and aside from her beloved Papa, there are no males involved in her life. In other words: if you’re looking for a romance, go elsewhere. This one is about girl-power, and it lives up to the potential to stand on that without a love interest. Very well done!

My problem with the book, and the reason that it is not four stars, is that it dragged quite a bit. The plot was slowed down by some unnecessary wandering and really yanked me out of what was an otherwise good story. With some more editing, it really could be great. It seems like a minor complaint compared to all of the wonderful qualities, but it really was that much of a block to the enjoyment of it all.

Overall, if you like magical worlds and witches, please give “Miss Mabel’s School for Girls” a read. Aside from violence, there is nothing to be of concern to parents of younger middle-aged readers. If they can handle Harry Potter, they can handle this. I do plan on reading the next in the hopes of a more consistent plot pace.

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for D.M. Kilgore.
Author 7 books30 followers
March 25, 2014
Something Wicked This Way Comes... Wicked Brilliant!

A magical little novel, "Miss Mabel's School For Girls" by the wickedly talented Katie Cross, is anything but your average young adult fantasy. In fact, I suspect I've been bewitched. I was so mesmerized that I read it in one sitting. It's safe to say that Katie Cross knows how to cast a spell!

On top of a truly well-rounded story, with some pretty clever characters, her research was so extensive that the story reads as more realistic than fantasy. I have to wonder if she wrote this thing with a magical quill! Katie Cross has written a truly spellbinding story that is sure to captivate anyone who fancies a romp in the supernatural realms.

Young Bianca has no choice but to travel deep into Letum Woods where she will study magic at Miss Mabel's School For Girls... but you do, and I highly recommend the journey.

You are in for a treat when this book launches on March 27, 2014. It's a delightfully well written mystical journey through a dangerously magical world! You're going to meet an amazing young lady and a superbly wicked witch. Do you dare venture into the deep woods and the darkened halls of Miss Mabel's School? If so, put on your cloak, head on over to www.missmabels.com, and whatever you do...

Never underestimate the power of a determined witch.

Profile Image for Priscila.
148 reviews10 followers
June 4, 2015

I received this ebook in exchange for a honest review.

Bianca Monroe is a sixteen year old witch with a family curse that threatens everything she holds dear, to save herself and her family, she goes to Miss Mabel's School for Girls, she must get close to the only person who can reverse the curse, Miss Mabel...

I really enjoyed this one.
A very good start for this new series, I'm definitely intrigued as to where it's going.
Bianca is a strong MC, the world building is very is good, even if we spend most of our time in one place, can't wait to learn more about it.

Funny thing, just this week I read a review (for another book) where the reviewer made a point about female villains interest always being a man, "Why can a women villain not just be after power?" I think we've found her!
In fact there are 3 male characters in this book altogether.

If you know me at all, you know I love my fantasy filled with romance, I went into this book with the feeling there wouldn't be much of it in there, I was right. However, I still enjoyed this book!

It was refreshing! It's all about the plot. And the plot is very good,there are twists and turns, overall very enjoyable!

And who's to say what new characters are coming our way in the next installment.

Definitely recommend this to fantasy lovers!

Happy Reading!
Profile Image for Abantika(hiltonjenkin).
430 reviews77 followers
August 7, 2017
Tittle: Miss Mable's School for Girls
Format: Audiobook
Author: Katie Cross
Narrated by: Becca Ballenger
Shelf: Fantasy, Magic, Young-Adult, Witches
Miss Mable's School for Girls is the first book of the Network series written by author Katie Cross. I listened to an audiobook of this narrated by Becca Ballenger.💕
I dont really do witches or for that fact anything paranormal. The last book I read in this genre was probably Twilight in 2010. But omg.😱 This was good.😍 The writing was very simple yet interesting. The novel revealed it's secret quite consistently and keeped me hooked through out story. It's like, Katie Cross opened a whole new genre for me.❤ And I mean it.💕
✔Pros: 1. Well written.📝
2. Plus it is very well woven and compact.📑
3. It is an interesting read. Keeps you hooked throughout.🔎
4. There is magic.❇
❌Cons: 1. There certainly could have been more action. More magic. 😔❇
2. The supporting characters seemed pretty useless. No one except Mable had any important role to play. It would have been so much better if Lida or Camile had important roles to play. Or maybe Celia or Scarlet for the fact.😒🙇
Rating: 3.5/5
The next book in this series is Antebullum Awakening. Can't wait to find out what happens next and hoping to get more of the magic and the thrill.
Happy reading everyone.😊
Profile Image for Aly.
1,839 reviews56 followers
August 19, 2017
Bianca Monroe has some gifts she didn't mention right away when going to Miss Mabel's School for Girls but we find out more about this character and all her gifts. This story was interesting and kept me reading more. It did remind me a little of the Harry Potter series but all girls. The story was different and the magic was exciting. I think my favorite part was toward the end when the cat starting coming around. Overall, not a bad book.
April 4, 2014
This was an awesome read. I loved everything about it, especially the fact that Bianca didn't need a boy to "complete" her! Very well written! Highly recommend to all ages.
Profile Image for Arnaud.
363 reviews4 followers
August 31, 2019
Absolutely great story telling

Heart wrenching at times, the story is well developed with excellent characters to be found throughout the novel. Can't wait to get my hands on the rest of the Network Series!
Profile Image for Isa (Pages Full of Stars).
1,061 reviews113 followers
March 29, 2017
"We all have the same chance to be powerful within us. What it comes down to is the choices that we make along the way."

Bianca Monroe has one year left to live. All female members of her family have been cursed with the Inheritance Curse and Bianca is determined to break it before it's too late for her. She spent years learning magic and honing her skills, waiting for the moment when she will join Miss Mabel's School for Girls and face Miss Mabel herself - the woman who cursed her family and is the only one who can lift it.

Miss Mabel's School for Girls was definitely one of my favourite reads of 2015. Any book which takes place in a boarding school and has magical themes is already a win for me, but this one was really an amazing read overall.

We start off with Bianca trying to get into Miss Mabel's School for Girls and we're drawn into the world created by Katie Cross right away. At first, there's a lot of questions and mystery surrounding Bianca and the whole school, but the author manages to explain everything bit by bit. Bianca's story is truly engaging, it was easy to sympathise with her and I found myself rooting for her and wanting to know how everything is going to end. The plot also had some twists and turns that made everything even more interesting. I really enjoyed the idea of the competition and could hardly put the book down.

The characters are very well written, especially our heroine Bianca. She's strong, hard-working and very determined, she has a clear goal and knows how to achieve it. She's persistent and would never give up, even in most difficult moments. What I absolutely loved was the relationship between Bianca and other girls, who she befriended at school. There was no jealousy between them and they were loyal and supportive of each other. While most of YA books published nowadays would have some romantic subplot, the lack of romance in this story was definitely refreshing. The book focused on Bianca and her struggles, and the only main relationships were friendships, which I really liked.

The writing style is amazing, all of the descriptions and the way Katie Cross plays with words transported me into the story. The school, the Letum woods, the world filled with magic, all the settings were wonderful. The only thing that was a big puzzle for me and something that I had to get used to was the genre of this book. As I started, it seemed like a fantasy and actually the one set in the more traditional world, while it turned out to be a dystopia, or a mix of dystopia and fantasy. It wasn't necessarily a bad thing, but I just wasn't very used to such genre, so it took me some time to warm up to the idea. But the world created in the book was still really interesting and I look forward to learning more about it in the next installments.

To sum up, I would really recommend this book to everyone who likes fantasy books with a dash of dystopia or just enjoys a good story with strong female characters.

I have kindly received a copy of this book from netgalley and Antebellum Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

The review also appeared on my blog.


Amazing book! I'll post my review soon :)


Yaaay, thank you netgalley! ^_^
Profile Image for Ginny  Gallagher.
277 reviews84 followers
August 31, 2014
No errors, great formatting, beautiful cover, and a fantastic story!

Strong and determined girls- The main character is Bianca Monroe. A girl determined to reverse a family curse. She is a wonderful heroine. She cares about her family, has integrity, is humble, clever, and believes in working towards a goal. She isn't waiting around for a prince to save her. No way. She is taking matters into her own hands and saving herself and her family.

The characters and the plot are well done. The writing enables the reader to easily envision the amazing world and characters that Katie Cross has created. The pacing is good, the plot is tight, and the world and characters are fully developed. "The Network" is being threatened by those seeking power, the time clock on Bianca's curse is ticking down, and in the mist of it all there are spells to learn and tests to pass.

I enjoyed every word of my reading journey, from the dark and unwelcoming Letum Woods to the magic of Chatham castle, the vivid descriptions made me wish I could attend school with Bianca. I even put together what I would wear and take with me on my first day. :)

My recommendation: If you are looking for something that offers a little more in the YA witch goes off to boarding school story line then read Miss Mabel's School for Girls. I think you will be impressed with the strong female characters that Katie Cross has written and the quality of her writing. This is a well thought out and edited book. Miss Mabel's School for Girls offers a clean and enchanting read for lover's of the Young Adult Fantasy genre. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in THE NETWORK SERIES.

Was this review helpful? If so, please consider voting for it on Amazon!

First Day of School at Miss Mabel's School for Girls (Gin's Book Notes)

Miss Mabel's School for Girls Website 

Miss Mabel's School for Girls Facebook Page

 Age Level: 11 - 18 | Grade Level: 6 - 12
This review was originally posted on Gin's Book Notes
Profile Image for Kristy Gillespie.
Author 5 books53 followers
March 31, 2014
"I'm Bianca Monroe, and I run in the woods with my skirts up. I also don't know how to steep or pour tea," (15) Bianca thinks as she races through Lectum Woods; away from the stuffy interview with Miss Isadora, and toward the mysterious Miss Mabel's School For Girls which trains young witches.

Miss Mabel put a lethal curse on Bianca's grandmother which in turn cursed her daughter and granddaughter. Bianca must outwit Miss Mabel by winning the competitions and becoming her assistant; only then will she have a chance to break her family's curse.

I immediately fell in love with Miss Mabel's School For Girls. The descriptions were beautiful from the first paragraph to the last: "I stared at the lavender flowers on the white china and willed my heart to stop pounding. Papa's advice whispered through my head like the balm of a cool poultice, settling my nerves" (8).

The characters were captivating: "Leda shifted, snatched a strawberry off her plate without moving her eyes from the text and popped it into her mouth. I studied the spine of her book. High Priests of the Southern Network. As if she felt my gaze, Leda slowly pulled the book down and peered over it, one eyebrow quirked high," (22).

The story was simply spellbinding: "Only the worthy enter these schools as students. You are the chosen few, evidenced by the circli on your wrists" (26).

All of the characters were colorful but Leda (the brainy first year witch) and Bianca were my favorite. Bianca doesn't realize how special and powerful she is, which makes her all the more endearing: "My fingertips skimmed the circlus. The red, swollen skin smarted with offense. I stopped touching it, instead covering it with my sleeve. It felt like a brand, property categorizing me. Girl, witch, student. Nothing more, nothing less" (31).

Miss Mabel's School For Girls consumed me- I started it late at night, read until I couldn't keep my eyes open, and finished it the next afternoon, while snuggling with my dog and listening to the rain fall. Truly, the only disappointment I felt was when it ended!

Profile Image for Candace.
646 reviews185 followers
March 27, 2014
I waited ages for this book. I read Katie's blog regularly and love her snark and how well her own personality comes through on her page. I was curious about how her characters would be, plus it's fantasy, which is my favorite!

From the moment I opened this book I loved it! Bianca is a character that really shines through. She's got snark and spunk. She's not at all a follower and speaks up. She's not really afraid to be herself, though she tries to reign it in so she doesn't draw too much attention to herself. She makes risky decisions sometimes, but they are never stupid ones at the spur of the moment, she has a reason for them and knows what she's doing.

The secondary characters were also well shaped. From her teacher Miss Mabel and the other teachers in the school, to her closest friends Camille and Leda. Each personality really shone through so we could feel like we really knew them.

The world was really well done! It's fantasy but it wasn't complicated, at least not yet. The woods were a bit creepy but intriguing and the school had a strong gothic feel to it. It was so easy to picture and imagine!

There manages to be a tad bit of mystery through the book because Bianca seems to be a bit more than she appears to be. She has some secrets and I was eager to figure them out! We get the reveals at the perfect moments and it added to the pace of the book.

The magic was awesome. Books with magic are some of my favorites, and this was done really well in my opinion. I love that spells and potions were a part of it and it all made sense to me!

I'm really, really glad I read this book. It's one I have to have a shiny paperback copy for on my shelf. It's so good that I may have to event reread it. I don't think I could ever get enough of Bianca.

HIGHLY recommend!

You can find this review, and others like it, on my blog at http://www.candacesbookblog.com
Profile Image for Jennifer Jimmerson.
129 reviews30 followers
December 7, 2015
I have not been sure what to say about this book. It is an enchantingly good novel. I enjoyed it, but that isn't enough of a review. I am a huge fan of YA Fantasy and was intrigued from the beginning. Who is this Bianca? Why is her future determined by Isadora? Why is Miss Mabel so important? Why is everyone so nervous?

The main character, 16 year-old Bianca, inherited a curse; one that will kill her if she cannot get Miss Mabel to remove it before her next birthday. She must find a way to remove the curse, not only to save her life but to also end the suffering of her mother and grandmother. While most of the students of Miss Mabel's School for Girls are trying to find themselves and beginning to learn magic, Bianca has only one main goal, survive. She enters the academy with a deep knowledge of the unfairness life has to offer, more than most of the other girls... though her friends Camille and Leda know something of this too. These girls are drawn to Bianca whereas most others find her odd. With snarky quips Bianca doesn't put up with the same bs from the older girls that the rest of her class does...which I enjoy. The more I read, the more I liked her.

Miss Mabel is a wonderfully written, most evil, horrible, atrocious character that I have read. She is a kin to Voldemort and the Malevolent of my childhood.

I loved the characters...especially Leda.Who would have thought that the Contest would be the easy part? I am really looking forward to finding out what happens next.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the author, the adorable Katie Cross, in return for an honest review.
Profile Image for Camly Nguyen.
250 reviews42 followers
November 25, 2014
3.5 stars

Bianca has one year left to live. One year to find a way to free herself from a curse set on her way before she was even born. One year left to save those that she loves from the evil hands of Miss Mabel, but first, she has to get into Miss Mabel’s School for Girls and win the Annual Competition.

As you can probably guess from the short summary, yes, she won the competition and yes, half the book was that predictable. Oh and apparently all the grade levels are mixed up and they all go in the same class to study and all have the same schedules… It goes without saying right? Bad. World. Building.

Despite those little glitches, the second half of the book was great. It was fast paced and contained a couple of twists here and there that made it a lot better than the first part. I loved Miss Mabel; she kept coming with new surprises every time we see her. Excellent character development.

I'm quite surprised that many people say that this book is a rip off of Harry Potter. Other than the fact that there are witches and that it takes place in school, the similarities end there. I don’t get it. Do you compare every vampire book to Twilight?

It was fun and I liked it, but I do expect more from the second book. :P
Profile Image for Emma.
534 reviews14 followers
August 21, 2014
I took me a while to get around to reading this book. Not sure why. It was amazing.

The setting was brilliant and the story even better. I was kept guessing the whole way through. I read it in a few days (quick for me just now). The magic was really clever and original. I was very unsure of Miss Mabel, was it all an act or was she truly like that. Bianca was a great lead character. She was strong and spunky.

All the different types of magic was engaging I was not bored even for a line. It’s frustrating that I cannot out into words how much I enjoyed this book. It was magical, enchanting and overall just a great read. I am very much looking forward to the next one.

5 out of 5 stars. (I wish I could give it more).
Profile Image for Catriona Lovett.
494 reviews11 followers
December 15, 2021
Miss Mabel's School Is Not Hogwarts

I don't usually care for paranormal fantasy books as a rule and almost put this one back on the shelf. I'm so glad I didn't! It's a well-written, complex story, with wonderfully vivid characters.

This book is the first in a series and the whole story isn't wrapped up at the end, but it isn't a cliffhanger. I want to know what happens next, but I was satisfied by the ending.

I received a free advanced review copy courtesy of the author by way of BookFunnel, but my positive review is my own, under no obligation. It's a good book and I have no doubt that it will be a suspenseful, entertaining series.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 638 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.