The Most Empowering Book of 2017

MoxieVivian 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 Grrrl in the ’90s, and now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates Moxie, a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond and spread the Moxie message. As Viv forges friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, she realises that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

Along with The Hate U Give, Moxie is the most important novel I’ve read all year. It was fierce and honest and left me wanting to riot. It was just phenomenal. I’d been looking forward to reading Moxie for a while, but little did I know that it would be so spectacular. Whether you’re a teenager or an adult, you need to read this book. Moxie is one of the novels that I think transcends boundaries in its importance — it’s a book for everyone of all genders, and one that I’ll be recommending for years to come. It’s rare that you come across a book as raw and powerful as this one, but I’ve read two of them this year alone. A revolution is coming, friends, and words have even more power than most could ever believe.

Moxie is the story of Vivian Carter — a girl who’s fed up with the misogyny and sexism that permeates her high school. She’s sick of the sexist dress code checks that blame girls for distracting boys in classrooms by ‘showing too much skin’, the disgusting slogans on men’s shirts that promote women as nothing other than being objects for the male gaze and men’s enjoyment, and the casual dismissal of sexual assault and even rape. Inspired by her mother’s past as a kick-ass feminist in the ‘90s, Vivian decides to make a anonymous zine that brings the women of her high school together and prompts the beginning of a girl revolution. 

This book make me angry. It made me angry that such sexism exists, and that so many boys and men get away with what they do. That women are dismissed for being overdramatic or made to stick to their archaic gender stereotypes instead of have their voice heard. But our anger also makes us powerful. It makes us unafraid to stand up and fight, and it also bands us together. When we’re angry, we can do anything and nobody can stop us. So part of what I loved so much about this book was it’s ability to get me riled up in the way that it did. The situations just felt so real — and I’m sure things like this are happening in high schools everywhere — and it’s time for all of us to fight back.

What this book also discusses is the word ‘feminism’, and how we shouldn’t be afraid to use it. So many people wrongly believe that if you’re a feminist that you don’t care about the rights of men or anyone else. But what feminism is about is equality. One of the character’s journey to realising why feminism is so important was one of the most touching aspects the novel, and one that I believe so many people will gain from. But it doesn’t just stop there. The messages about gender stereotypes, sexual assault, privilege and equality are what makes Moxie the most empowering YA novel of 2017. It’s a book that I want to give to everyone I know, and even people I don’t. This book needs to be read.

Moxie is undoubtably one of the best books I’ve read this year, and if you enjoyed The Hate U Give, then you’re going to absolutely devour this sensational novel. Our protagonist, Vivian, is strong and fierce, and her actions are sure to inspire so many people to call out sexist behaviour in their own lives. This is a book that I know is going to stay with me for a very long time, and I can’t rate it highly enough. You need this book in your life.

Please be aware of the content warning for sexual harassment and talk of sexual assault.

Rating:

5-stars

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GirlishBeing a girl freakin’ rocks! But despite all the opportunities available to girls today, the fight for equality – and self-esteem – continues.

Filled with information, inspiration, truth bombs and surprises, Girlish is a fun-filled self-led discovery course in feminism for teenage girls.

Embracing all the beauty, chaos, hope and frustration of being a girl in the twenty-first century, Girlish encourages the reader to celebrate who they are, define their values and have fun along the way.

With a playful design, illustrations by Frances Cannon, and featuring quotes from inspiring women from all walks of life – such as Michelle Obama, Amy Poehler, Roxane Gay and Lorde – Girlish is the perfect gift for any teenage girl.

Girlish is a book I wish I had in my earlier teen years. It’s filled with inspirational quotes from strong women around the world, messages about feminism, and spaces for the reader to write in, and I just absolutely adore it. The graphics and illustrations are fun, the quotes are empowering and inspirational, and it’s so colourful and appealing to all readers. If you have a young girl in your life, or someone you think will appreciate this book, I couldn’t think of a better gift! It’s absolutely stunning.

Let's Talk

Have you had the chance to read Moxie yet? Have you read The Hate U Give? What’s the most powerful and empowering novel you’ve read all year? Do you have any YA recommendations for books with strong feminist themes? I’d love to know!

Thanks to Hachette Australia for providing me with a copy of Moxie in exchange for an honest review!

Thanks to Black Inc Books for providing me with a copy of Girlish!

You might like

Fight Like a Girl • Take Three Girls • The Hate U Give

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Feminism symbol used in header sourced from Bucks News.

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16 thoughts on “The Most Empowering Book of 2017

  1. I never heard about Girlish but it seems an interesting reading, so I think I will check it up! 🙂 And Moxie seems interesting, I’m thinking about reading it, sooner or later, and I am glad that you liked it so much. You wrote such an interesting and passionate review! 🙂

  2. Moxie was such a great book! I was in a reading slump whilst reading which meant I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have liked, but I’m hoping to reread it again soon to see how things change now I’m out the slump. I haven’t heard about Girlish before this post, but it does sound like an interesting read. 🙂

  3. I have read both Moxie and The Hate U Give and OMG they are so empowering! I think Moxie would make such a good movie and I like how it targets all ages, which is so, so important! Thank you for sharing Sarah and glad you enjoyed them both xx

  4. I am now wondering if America is culturally different from where I live in that regard. There have never been “showing too much skin” or “overdramatic” in my school. I come from Europe. Strange, considering the sexual revolution comes from America, basically. A land of contrasts?

    I’ve heard of this book though. Didn’t know it was just as big as THUG, really 🙂 when I first heard about it, I felt like it’s probably just entertainment, but from your review, it sounds like so much more. Great review!

    And Girlish has an AMAZING cover 🙂

    • That’s interesting! It’s definitely a very real thing for a lot of schools, and while my school had a uniform, we were always told our skirts and dresses had to be made longer because we were “showing too much skin”.

      I definitely think it’s just as important as THE HATE U GIVE, and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for an empowering and feminist read! GIRLISH is gorgeous too. I hope you enjoy both of them! 💕

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