By Katie Cross, author of The Network Series
You know what’s fascinating? The social dynamics between girls.
Especially in an all-girl world.
An all-girl teenage world.
When I set out to write my first novel, Miss Mabel’s School for Girls, the interactions between teenage girls totally enthralled me. There is so much going on at that time of life—education, social dynamics, peer pressure, hormones—BOYS. #forrealtho It’s a breeding ground for drama, heartbreak, laughter, and fantastic storytelling.
Reading books like Libba Bray’s The Great and Terrible Series brought it home for me: that was exactly the type of fiction to sink into. It’s only part of the reason I wrote a book about a magical school that taught only girls. The coolest part about it? All of us are somehow characterized within those characters at that school.
There are at least three types of teenage girl in a boarding school type setting. Through a shimmer of magic and BAM. You’re going to get even more great stories. These three types may seem generic, but that gives lots of space for variety, and ensures a lot of great tension. I guarantee that you can find glimmers of yourself in one of these girls, which is why we love these books so much.
- The leader. This girl doesn’t mess around. She knows who she is, what she wants, and even if she needs a little point in the right direction, she will get there. Don’t mistake her for being power hungry or greedy for attention. Sometimes, she just can’t help herself. Especially when she sees a need or an opportunity to be productive. This girl loves to get stuff done. Taking charge of the pack is inherent in the way she acts and may often be born of compassion, not just power. Although there is that, too.
- The follower. She’s not too worried about making decisions or being in charge. This kind of girl is more connection based than results oriented (the way a leader often is), so she’s content to let someone else make the decisions while she does her thing. Don’t mistake her for a waif or someone who can’t make her own decisions. This girl also knows what she wants—responsibility isn’t it. Of course, there are some followers who crave attention from the leader and will do anything to get it. As with all people, this girl has a lot of layers. And sometimes, she follows because it’s a lot less complicated than thwarting the big bad leader.
The outsider. This girl is proud to not be a leader OR a follower! Try to put a role on her and she’ll buck off like an angry horse. She won’t follow orders given by a peer of equal status, and won’t tag along, simply because she doesn’t like being told what to do—or who to be. Don’t mistake her for rebellious either. She, like the other girls, also knows what she wants. And it’s not the norm. Sometimes, she’s the one that stands up to the big bad leader, or makes things worse for the good leader. This girl is the one that seems to introduce the most spice or frustration when she interrupts the social dynamics.
Of course, magical all-girl school settings (or school settings in general) aren’t restricted to these types of characters. Not by a long shot. There are a thousand different girls that we end up reading and loving because, in the end, they’re just like us. And for a few hours, it feels good to live out their life on top of ours.
The big question here is this: which one are you?! Leave your response in the comments. I can’t wait to hear more!
This kind of observation led to the creation of my award winning YA fantasy novel Miss Mabel’s School for Girls. It’s full of magic, determination, and a sixteen-year-old witch that doesn’t like to wear shoes. Explore a world of new social dynamics—and the braiding and twisting relationships of teenage girls—for totally free.
Seriously. Free book. Just click here.
Katie Cross empowers teenager girls to be adventurous, live amongst dragons, and be the hero of your own story. She also lives in the mountains of Colorado and writes in between hikes, playing with her toddler, and wrestling her two vizslas.