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From award-winning author Jennifer Mathieu (author of AFTERWARD, DEVOTED and THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE) comes MOXIE, an inspiring and realistic story about feminism, teenage-hood, girl power and friendship.

Vivian Carter, MOXIE’s protagonist, has always been a rule-follower, never stepping in to make change even though she’s tired of the sexist and offensive behavior of the football team and administration at her small-town Texas high school. Viv’s mom, however, was a punk rock 90s feminist (a Riot Grrrl) and though she’s not as much like that now, Viv looks through her mom’s box called “My Misspent Youth” and is inspired to fight back. Soon, Vivian is dropping off copies of her homemade feminist zine (appropriately named Moxie) in every girls’ bathroom at East Rockport High School and starting a revolution. MOXIE is as much a novel about feminism and fighting back as it is about just being a teenager. MOXIE is hopeful and encouraging while avoiding a blindly optimistic take and staying away from tropes.

"MOXIE was uplifting, interesting and was impossible to put down....perfect for any reader looking for a realistic fiction novel that breaks the mold..."

When I first started MOXIE I was a bit underwhelmed by what I found, but as I got further into the book I fell in love with it. Mathieu is able to explore the nuances of high school life, friendships and movement-building to craft a complex and engaging novel. Vivian undergoes wonderful character development while still remaining true to herself, as do several of the other characters. MOXIE balances the normal issues of teenage-hood: having a boyfriend, meeting new friends and relationships with family, while also managing to create a truly resonant story about the need for girl power.

Vivian and the rest of the girls involved in Moxie in the novel face challenges and setbacks, but they are able to pick themselves back up again and keep working to make change. I really liked how the book dealt with such complicated issues, like girls being afraid to call themselves feminists and boys wanting to be supportive but not understanding the problems many girls face. MOXIE also avoided some of the typical tropes that so often come up in realistic fiction, such as friendships being obliterated when one person keeps an inconsequential secret. An underwhelming beginning ended up giving way to an excellent read overall.

In addition, Mathieu made MOXIE feel very real and true to actual life without making it pessimistic and uninspiring. The characters in MOXIE undergo difficult challenges and sometimes it makes them stop and think if they’re doing what they should, but in the end they continue and make a difference in their school. MOXIE was uplifting, interesting and was impossible to put down.

MOXIE is perfect for any reader looking for a realistic fiction novel that breaks the mold a little or a feminist book that realistically deals with the nuances and challenges of feminism while retaining a hopeful spirit. Even if you are not normally a realistic fiction reader, you will love MOXIE.

Reviewed by Ansley K., Teen Board Member on September 19, 2018

by Jennifer Mathieu