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Cover: 'Moxie'

Staff Review: "Moxie" by Jennifer Mathieu


Sixteen-year-old Vivian plans to keep her head down and avoid making any waves as she rides out her last two years of high school in her small town Texas high school. However, after seeing the new girl face humiliation after a sexist incident in class, she finds inspiration in her mother’s “My Misspent Youth” box, which is filled with Riot Grrrl materials. Vivian creates and distributes an anonymous zine (Moxie) that questions the status quo--boys (in general) and football players (in particular) are held to lower standards--and calls for an act of solidarity (drawing hearts and X’s on their hands on a designated date). Vivian is delighted to discover that she is not alone, and she revels in the safety of anonymity as the zine increases her own awareness of the struggles other girls in her school face. As the movement gains momentum and other girls latch on to the Moxie brand, it draws the attention of school administrators, and Vivian is faced with potential negative consequences. Will the Moxie girls continue to fight back? I really enjoyed this big-hearted story of a teen finding her way through thorny questions of identity and advocacy along with the “usual” teen issues of juggling old friends, new friends, and a potential boyfriend. Vivian is a sympathetic character that is easy to relate to and likable without being perfect as she struggles to figure out what it means to be a good friend, daughter, and granddaughter. Recommended for fans of the television show Friday Night Lights, the covertly rebellious streak of the titular heroine of The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, and those who enjoy coming-of-age stories with themes of female empowerment.

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction

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