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. Read More »

The Truth About Alice – book review

The Truth About Alice

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu is an eye-opening book about the effects of rumours and the importance of truth.

Everyone has something to say about Alice. Whether it’s true or not has doesn’t matter anymore. The rumours started when Alice supposedly had sex with two guys in one night. When school starts, everyone has almost forgotten about Alice until one of those guys, super-popular Brandon, dies in a car crash that is apparently all Alice’s fault. The only friend Alice has is a boy who may be the only person who knows the truth, but is afraid to admit it. When rumours start to take wings and fly, how can anyone be expected to believe the truth?

I had mixed feelings about The Truth About Alice. There were some aspects of this book that I really liked, and others not so much. One thing that I loved about The Truth About Alice was how it was told. This book is told from the points of view of five different people, and it sort of has a ‘journal entry’ feel about it. The writing seems personal, as if these characters were writing in a diary. I liked how this book was told from the points of view of multiple characters because I’ve never read a book like that. In that sense, it was a different, refreshing read.
However, I didn’t feel as though the characters themselves were spectacular. Most of the time, the characters felt very stereotypical. There was the Kurt (the nerdy loner), Elaine (the ‘Queen Bee’), Kelsie (Alice’s former best friend), Josh (the football star), and Alice herself. Although each character had a different personality, they each belonged to a stereotype. There didn’t seem to be anything special about these characters; they were quite mediocre. The only character that I really liked spending time with was Kurt. He seemed the most real out of all of them. But the voices of the characters weren’t easy to distinguish between. I often got confused between some of the characters and I felt as though the book would have benefited from making each person more unique. I didn’t feel particularly attached to any of the characters, which is probably why I didn’t like this book as much as I’d hoped. Although I didn’t really like the characters in this book, I loved seeing how “pretty” and popular people can in fact be very ugly inside.
I think this book deals with some very important issues, such as bullying, slut-shaming and the effects of rumours. This book shows how rumours spread and how rumours are exactly like the game Chinese Whispers. Someone says something, which turns into something else, and something else, and something else, until the truth is so warped that no one can distinguish between the facts and the lies. I found out that I’m a very gullible reader and I’ll believe whatever the characters are thinking. At the start of this book, I believed that Alice had done those things because I was inside the characters’ heads and they believed that she did. What does that say about me as a person? That I’ll follow the crowd? That I’ll believe in what anyone else says? Only when I was about halfway through this book did I stop and think that maybe I couldn’t trust what these people are saying. I realised that I should aim to seek out the truth and not just believe what I hear. I think that by reading this book, I’ve been able to see the truth about our world, not just the truth about Alice.
When I look back on this book now, I realise that maybe the author made characters stereotypical for a reason. The Truth About Alice essentially takes every stereotype and makes something meaningful out of it. It shows that teenagers can be cruel, but only because they may be dealing with their own insecurities. I actually really liked the ending. Most books that I read, I want there to be a clear ending where I know exactly what is going to happen in these characters lives. I found that although the ending of this book isn’t closed, it’s reflective of life. This book has a lot more meaning to it than meets the eye.
Overall, I liked reading The Truth About Alice however I would have liked to feel more connected to the characters. I loved the important messages in this book and I enjoyed reading from multiple points of view. I’d give The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu a score of 7 out of 10.

Thank you to Hardie Grant Egmont Australia for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review!