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Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu – Activism Tips and Book Review 


I was hugely lucky to pick up an ARC (Advanced Review Copy) of Moxie at YALC (the Young Adult Literature Convention) this year. I am really loving the proliferation of books that feature feminist characters. If you are a fan of Holly Bourne’s Spinster Club series you are going to love Moxie. 

Synopsis 

Vivian Carter is fed up. 

Fed up with her high school teachers who think 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 Mum was a tough-as-nails, punk rock Riot Grrl in the 90s, and now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates Moxie, a feminist zone that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. 

She’s just blowing off steam, but then other girls respond and begin to spread the Moxie message…

I loved the book so much I reached out to the PR to see if Jennifer would share some Activism tips with us. And huge thanks to Jennifer and Sarah for these tips from Vivian Carter herself. 

Viv’s Tips for Activism



Hey, Moxie Girls! I’m so excited to share with you some tips that me and the other Moxie Girls hold dear to our hearts.

1) Support other girls! It sounds so obvious, but so much of being a feminist is supporting other women in a world that pits us against each other all the time. Being a feminist doesn’t mean you can’t criticize other girls for justifiable reasons, but catch yourself when you feel the urge to make fun of another girl’s hair, clothes, weight, hobbies, or interests. Making fun of other girls because of their appearance or what they like to do is so not Moxie.

2) Be inclusive! Before Moxie, girls at East Rockport High didn’t really mix outside of their cliques. But feminism has to be intersectional and, thanks to Moxie, the girls of ERH are getting to know each other better. It’s so awesome! Being a feminist means voices of girls of color, girls with disabilities, queer girls and trans girls should be recognized and amplified! Make sure all girls feel welcome at your meet ups and, if you’re an activist, look to the voices of girls from other communities and listen to what they have to say. You’ll learn so much.

3) Educate yourself! The women’s movement didn’t start yesterday – it stretches back decades and centuries. Read your women’s history and learn about the movement’s successes, challenges, and missteps. If you’re in university, take a women’s studies class. I can’t wait to take one when I get to college! An educated feminist is a powerful feminist.

4) Reach out into your community! It’s great to start local, but take your activism outside the walls of your school if you can. In America, we have a real issue with shelters not having enough feminine hygiene products for female clients, so the Moxie Girls want to start collecting supplies for our local shelters. Is there a progressive female candidate running for office that needs your help or younger girls who need tutors or mentors? Is there a women’s organization in your area that you can learn more about? Go for it!

5) Have fun! Activism has to be fun! The first big Moxie meet up that Kiera organized at the VFW Hall helped solidify Moxie into a real movement at our school. Get together and dance, watch a feminist-friendly film, do each other’s makeup, and eat chocolate! Part of being a feminist activist is just enjoying the company of other girls and reminding yourself of what you’re fighting for!

 

Bonus Tip for male allies from Seth!

Hey, it’s me, Viv’s boyfriend, Seth. I wanted to chime in and say that feminists need male allies, and I’m proud to be one. What does it mean to be a male ally? It means listening to the feminists in your life and not taking the limelight. It means believing girls when they tell you what they’re going through and what they’re feeling. And it really means speaking up when your fellow guys start saying and doing stuff that objectifies and degrades women and girls. It’s hard to stand up and speak out – I get it – but it takes guts and it’s the brave thing to do. Forget the crap in the culture that tells you that “real men” are only out to get laid, get drunk, and be violent. Real men are protectors and defenders and stand up for what’s right. You’ve got this.

What I Thought 

This was such a good book. It was a fun and quick read with some serious messages. Viv is such a great protagonist, she’s perhaps not your typical activist. On the surface she’s very quiet and perhaps the last person people would expect to stand up and shout. It’s the small drop in the water that creates the large ripples  

There are so many parallels with what is happening in the news on a daily basis. Over the last week the #metoo campaign in response to insidious sexism in Hollywood has shown the power of women raising their voices. 

The book includes the issues of Moxie that Viv produces and that adds an extra special touch that draws the reader into the story. Each issue encourages an action. A quiet protest such as writing hearts and stars on your hands to identify others like you (or you know bending the knee peacefully??!!). 


I’d love have to been more of an activist when I was a teen and it’s so good that teens of today have books like these to inspire them. 

Point 3 above is illustrated in the book through the inclusion of Viv’s Mum previous activism. Hopefully we can start to share these ideas with our children and encourage them to respectfully question. 

I particularly love the inclusion of the character of Seth, the male feminist, the ally. As well as following women’s metoo stories do check out the few men who are examining their own past behaviour too. 

Tying in to Viv’s tip no 5 about having fun I just want to do a shout out to the concept of Craftivism: the art of gentle protest. If you want to find out more check out this link

Also check out the hashtag #feministfriday on Instagram today. 

Thanks so much to Hachette Childrens for having ARCs of Moxie availabile at YALC. 

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My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix – Book Review 


I’m not going to lie. This book was a total cover acquisition. Just look at it. 80s Horror perfection, and I adore how much it reflects the contents too. Beware crimpers!! 

This is a perfect Halloween read but I’d say it was more creepy with a slow building tension than out and out horrific. Although a few scenes may turn your stomach! Personally I found Gretchen’s mother’s attitude to books the most horrific thing in the book. 


What I loved about this book was the friendship. The back tagline suggests MBFE is a cross between Beaches and the Exorcist and OMG the Beaches vibe totally hit and left me a sobbing mess at the end. 

Abby and Gretchen first meet at Abby’s ET themed 10th birthday party, to which Gretchen is the only class member to turn up. Their friendship develops from there until the fateful night where everything changes. Don’t do drugs ladies or you’ll get possessed by a demon. 

Can skittles lure a demon too?

After a failed acid trip Gretchen turns from sour emo to grade A bitch. Think Heathers on steroids. But Abby stands by her and gradually works out what is going on with the help of someone whose demon vision is super-powered. The exorcist is a beefcake called Brother Lemon who reminds me of Edgar Frog from The Lost Boys in his intensity. Are he and Abby successful in saving Gretchen against all odds? You’ll just have to read to find out. 

This was a witty, fun and surprisingly emotional read. Definitely one for ‘Be Kind Rewind and Read Again’.

Perfect for fans of the 80s, of Stranger Things and for people that enjoy reading about the power of female friendship. Each chapter heading references an 80s song and there’s even a Spotify playlist available. I just need this to be a movie now. 

Thanks to Jamie-Lee and Quirk for the copy for the purposes of review. All the flailing above is my own. 

Riot Days by Maria Alyokhina – Book Review 

I picked up Riot Days as a memoir by one of the Pussy Riot group who were imprisoned in Russia for protesting. I had hoped to better understand their experience but unfortunately the structure of the book didn’t work for me. 

Initially I was trying to read the Advanced copy via my kindle app and I wondered if the formatting was making it difficult to read so I switched to a PDF version which was easier but still strange. 

Each chapter was split into short sections with bold headings but I couldn’t work out the placement of these because sometimes they seemed to relate to what had been written before and sometimes to what came next. 

The text itself was almost like a cross between poetry and prose with short paragraphs and a disjointed style, more like a stream of consciousness. It left me very confused about what was happening as timelines crossed.  

There were a few illustrations used, and I’m not sure if these were drawn by Maria but they were very childish and I don’t think they added anything to the narrative. 

The final two chapters were the most informative and seemed to be more linearly structured. In these Maria shares with us how she challenged the injustices in the prison she was in through her legal representation and made life better for the inmates.

The start didn’t really help me understand exactly what the initial protest was for and so I experienced a disconnect with her plight , which was undoubtedly traumatic. To be honest it left me wanting to go back and read news items about it instead. I wonder if this is a case of lost in translation. 

I did like this quote though 

“There is no certainty or predictability. There is no fate. There is a choice. My choice and yours, in each moment that demands it.”

I received an e-copy from the publisher via Netgalley. Opinions are my own. 

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