Monday, September 18, 2017

MOXIE BY JENNIFER MATHIEU - BOOK REVIEW

It has been so long since I've read a good feminist book; I've forgotten what I was missing! After finishing it, I feel so inspired and empowered to make a change!

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, today it is Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu. Thanks so much to Random House for sending me an ARC of this book. As always, all opinions are my own.

The story follows 16-year-old Vivian who has had enough of the boys at her school. Enough of their sick T-shirts, their horrible behaviour, and their lack of consequences. So she decides to take a page from her mother's teenage rebellious phase and creates Moxie zines to express her feelings and start a conversation with some of the other girls at her school. Little does she know, this initiative will start a revolution in her school.

First of all, I love how unapologetically feminist this book is. I started it and immediately knew I was going to love it. Mathieu does a great job of setting up the situation where Viv's efforts can thrive. If this isn't your type of book, you will know it from pretty early on, but Mathieu doesn't care - while you can learn something from this book, she isn't writing it for you. She writing it for the feminists, for the girls who aren't sure if they're feminists, for the girls who don't want the label as feminists. And I get the feeling that if you aren't on board for that, Mathieu isn't going to care.

It's been a while since I've read a book set in a high school. The setting threw me off a little bit because I've been shying away from them, but I think for this book, it was the perfect location. While inequality certainly isn't a high school only issue, the seeds of equality are sowed early. Targeting teens is, I believe, a fantastic way to start on that path early. And the problems the girls face in school are not uncommon, both in high school and later on.

While some of this book deals with high school drama and romance, there were some hard-hitting real-world issues in this book, including inequality and feminism, racism, and sexual assault. Mathieu handles these topics well, integrating them into the flow of the story but also never letting them get washed away into the storyline.

Not only does this book look at sexism and inequality from Viv's point of view, but also from a new boy in the school's, Seth. While Seth isn't the typical boy the girls are used to seeing at their school, he is one. There are times when he and Viv clash on ideas, mainly because he, as a male, has never been subjected to things like the "bump 'n grab," even though he thinks the concept is revolting. Mathieu shows both sides of the coin with Seth's commentary, and while he doesn't always understand, he supports Viv in her mission. This book includes both a female and male perspective on the issues which, I think, shows the importance of understanding on both sides.

My only real issue with this book, and I'm not sure it's a real issue so much as it is a general concern, is that it feels a little juvenile. That is definitely not a bad thing, but I think that older teens and people who read YA might not be as drawn to it and may not be able to see the full value this book has. It's great for high school students, but for someone like myself who is a few years out of high school, this one took more effort to get into. It's not necessarily the book's fault, but it is just a shame that this brilliant book might get passed over by someone who could benefit from it.

Overall, a really compelling and necessary read, especially in the world today!