Second Look: MOXIE by Jennifer Mathieu

Disclaimer: I received a galley of this book from Netgalley for an honest review. Moxie will be released September 19, 2017.

I have to admit, I first heard about Moxie after seeing a lot of angry tweets about a certain Kirkus review about two month ago. Of course, if the review pissed off that many people, I had to look into it. What I found was one of my favorite books of 2017.

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.

When I started reading Moxie, I was unnerved by how familiar it seemed and how much it sounded like my own high school alma mater. Football rules all, special treatment is given to some and not others (I don’t want to generalize, but let’s face it… it was mostly jocks and cheerleaders), funds were invested in new athletic fields instead of the students’ education, and the dress codes never made much sense. Obviously, Viv’s high school is an extreme setting, but I’m curious to know if Moxie was inspired by real events from Mathieu’s high school experience.

Regardless of your own personal experiences, there is no better time for a book that makes its readers feel so empowered. What I love most is that it shows how you can be a feminist and support feminist ideas WITHOUT BEING A WOMAN. Even though the crux of the story is Viv’s fight against misogyny, the girls aren’t the only ones helping fight for female equality, and I think that’s awesome.

Viv’s friendship/relationship with new guy Seth is super interesting. He’s totally on her side and supports her all the way, but there are some fundamental things he just doesn’t get. The give-and-take conversations between the two of them are pretty enlightening because you get to see feminist questions and arguments from different perspectives.

Everything about this book is simply amazing. The writing, the characters, the relationships, and the friendships forged among the brave girls at this Texas high school make my feminist heart leap for joy. It’s an encouraging reminder that it doesn’t take much to ignite a spark and bring about change.

Major props and a big thank you to Jen Mathieu for giving such an honest voice to feminism and helping young women release their inner RiotGrrrl!


*Shameless library promotion: Ashley and I are reading Moxie for our Forever Young Adult” Book Group meeting in November. If you’re in the area, come meet with us! You can check out our FYA Facebook group to see what we’re reading each month!  



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