Moxie is a story about a girl who’s fed up with sexism at her school and decides to try to secretly rally her classmates to fight back. Viv is shy but, inspired by feminism, learns to stand up for herself and inspire others to do the same.
by Jennifer Mathieu
To be published on September 19, 2017 by Roaring Brook Press
Synopsis from Goodreads: Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with a school administration at her small-town Texas high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes, hallway harassment, and gross comments from guys during class. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.
Viv’s mom was a tough-as-nails, punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, and now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. As Viv forges friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.
Viv is a high school student in Texas who’s fed up with the double standard around her school. Male athletes are fawned over, while regular girls (including female athletes) get ignored. Sexist remarks and t-shirts with crude slogans are tolerated if not laughed off.
Inspired by a box of 90s artifacts she finds in her mom’s room, Viv launches a zine (for those of you too young to remember the 90s, a zine was kind of like a primitive blog. But xeroxed on paper.) In it, she encourages “moxie girls” to fight back against the patriarchy.
First off, it’s so nice to read a pro-feminist YA book, especially in today’s political climate. I went to a school with a strict dress code (shorts had to cover your knees … at which point they were no longer short) and know that girls’ behavior and dress were way more scrutinized than boys’. I think more women need to talk openly about the sexism they encounter.
I also loved the way the book portrayed female friendship. Viv has an old friend who seems uncomfortable with her activism, and a new friend who supports it, and I loved the realistic way the book navigated all that trickiness.
I wished there hadn’t been so much romance in this (I could have done without any, as I didn’t like Seth. At all.) I think his character could have been a friend or her brother to make the same point – that even nice, liberal-leaning guys can be misogynistic.
To me, this book had a quaintness (for lack of a better word) that I really hope will resonate with contemporary teens, as they are the ones who need it. The whole revamped low-tech zine thing kind of made me laugh – I felt like today’s kids might feel they were reading about the American Revolution, with people making political pamphlets on a printing press. I kept wanting Viv to make a tumblr or something.
I think books like this are a much-needed part of contemporary YA. Hope you give it a try!