Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu | Review

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: standalone

Moxie girls fight back!

Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her small-town Texas high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes and hallway harassment. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Viv’s mom was a punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, so 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. Pretty soon Viv is forging friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, and she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

Moxie is a book about high school life that will make you wanna riot!

When I first heard of Jennifer Mathieu's upcoming novel back in January (thank you Mary!) I already knew I would like it. Besides the fact that my fave Amy Poehler blurbed it and has optioned it for film, I am always on the lookout for books about female empowerment. But I was wrong--I didn't just liked Moxie, I LOVED it!
Vivian Carter lives in a small Texas town where football rules and goes to East Rockport High where the football team--made up of boys whose favorite joke is to tell girls who try to voice their opinions to "make me a sandwich"--are above any school rules. Viv, who really prefers to remain under the radar and tries to never draw attention to herself, is getting fed up watching these football players' chauvinistic behavior toward other girls without any real consequence from the teachers and school admin. 

Inspired by her mom's Riot Grrrl past, Viv decided to create a feminist zine she calls Moxie, and anonymously distributes it in girls' bathrooms. Although Moxie doesn't catch on overnight, it did particularly made an impact on a couple of girls, which inspired Viv to keep going. As Viv puts out more issues with bigger and stronger statements, more girls across all cliques in the school show their support of Moxie and it soon becomes a movement that inspires other girls to start their own social actions. 

High school for me was over a decade ago, and although it wasn't as bad as Viv's high school, I can recall many instances--some I didn't recognize at the time but with experience and age I now know as casual sexism. But, like Viv at the beginning of the novel, I just kept my head down and counted down to when I can leave high school forever. But, of course, sexism is not contained in high school. It's been so long since I read a YA novel that truly celebrates girls coming together to support other girls and strong female friendships without the typical toxicity and jealousy.

Moxie was my first book by Jennifer Mathieu and I found her writing to be very readable. The pacing was well-done--everything flowed as events unfolded and we see Viv and the other girls react and take action. There were never any dull moments and I found myself turning the pages very quickly. A fun addition was that we actually got the full issue of the newsletters zines that Viv created--it was fun reading them along with the characters. I did find the characters and the plot fairly predictable, which I didn't really mind in this novel. However, it did feel like every character had their role to play, like Viv's best friend Claudia was the one uncomfortable about feminism, Seth the love interest is the "not all men" example, etc. I was able to predict how each character will react to the issues that came up based on their roles. I also wasn't a huge fan of the secondary plot line about Seth. To be honest, I never really warmed up to Seth's character. He was just meh. But, at the same time, I understand that Vivian and Seth's relationship sort of shows that just because you identified as a feminist it doesn't mean you hate all men. You can giggle about cute boys, or be in a romantic relationship--have a boyfriend, be married, be a stay-at-home mom--and still identify as a feminist. I also wish it had a bit more intersectionality, though, because while it was brought up, I wish the discussion about it was bigger and more prevalent throughout the novel. occurs to me that this is what it means to be a feminist. It's not a bad word. After today, it might be my favorite word. Because really all it is is girls supporting each other and wanting to be treated like human beings in a world that's always finding ways to tell them they're not.

Moxie is a book everyone should read. Even if you doesn't identify as a feminist I guarantee you'll learn something from Moxie. It's not a perfect book, but it's still an essential read and gives way to bringing up certain topics (like sexual assault) and discussions about feminism. I'll definitely be passing Moxie on to my sisters and rec-ing it to everyone because, overall, it's just a very inspiring novel that celebrates girl power. After I finished reading Moxie I just wanted to get out there and kick some patriarchal ass. #moxiegirlsfightback 💪

About the Author

Jennifer Mathieu is the author of Afterward, Devoted, and The Truth About Alice, the winner of the Children's Book Choice Awards' Teen Choice Debut Author Award. She teaches high school English in Texas, where she lives in the Houston area with her husband and son.

For more Moxie goodness, follow the blog tour!
Tuesday, September 19 - Ex Libris Kate
Wednesday, September 20 - YA Bibliophile
Thursday, September 21 - Adventures of a Book Junkie
Friday, September 22 - Gone Pecan
Saturday, September 23 - Fiktshun
Sunday, September 24 - Take Me Away to a Great Read
Monday, September 25 - Undeniably Book Nerdy << your here!
Tuesday, September 26 - Forever Young Adult
Wednesday, September 27 - The Fox's Hideway
Thursday, September 28 - What Sarah Read
Friday, September 29 - YA Wednesdays

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