Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
Release Date: September 21st 2017
Publisher: Hachette Australia
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I want to make it clear that I LOVED THIS BOOK SO SO MUCH.
Moxie is about Vivian, who is sick of the sexist shit that goes down at her high school and feeling inspired by her mum’s 90’s Riot Grrrl feminist zines, decides to make her own feminist zine to fight against the patriarchy and stand up for girls.
As a character, Viv is a bit shy, quiet and is scared of speaking out and getting caught making these zines in the first place. While she is quiet and a bit scared at first, she is also passionate and super realistic! In her journey of creating these zines and accidentally starting a movement, she comes across many people, including those who are close to her, who aren’t necessarily on board with what she’s doing (or what the “creator of Moxie” is doing). Viv doesn’t want to be labelled as somebody who is different or as somebody who stands out, but she still fights for what she believes in which is something I absolutely adored.
Viv’s relationship with her mum was SO-FREAKING-CUTE-I-LOVED-IT. It was SUCH a relief to see a protagonist who has a close relationship with their mother, and seeing their relationship throughout the novel was definitely one of my favourite aspects.
There is a tiny bit of romance in this book and Viv’s boyfriend Seth is understanding, willing to learn and learning to work through things he doesn’t quite understand as he doesn’t know what it’s like to be a girl. Whenever Seth slips up, Viv is quick to talk things out with him and he ACTUALLY LISTENS. He’s such a good ally to the girls, and it was a joy to read about. My only gripe (and it’s not even really a gripe), is that I also thought their relationship was a little unnecessary. While it didn’t take away from the story or the themes, I felt like Seth was almost entirely used as a plot device to explain certain things about feminism. I think Seth as a boyfriend, could have easily been replaced with Seth as a best friend or Seth as a friend, and it would’ve had the same effect.
Naturally, my favourite part of this book was ALL THE FEMINISM. I found myself cheering Viv and the others on, I found myself getting angry (SO ANGRY) but overall I felt so empowered. Moxie honestly bought me back to when I first started learning what it means to be a feminist and I almost want to cry just thinking about how this might teach young people in school what it means to be a feminist and that it might encourage them to branch out and research more.
Moxie addresses things like dress code (which thankfully, isn’t a HUGE thing in Australian public schools as most schools have a uniform), the “not all men” attitude and rape culture which was SO INCREDIBLY EXECUTED OMG.
While Moxie does have a few diverse characters (there is one black girl, a latina girl and we very briefly learn there are two closeted girls who like girls), I kind of wish there was a bit more intersectionationality. While the author talks about this in the Author Note and while the text does touch on intersectional feminism:
“The night we watched that documentary about Kathleen Hanna, my mom talked about how Riot Grrrl was mostly white girls, and she was sorry they weren’t as welcoming to other girls as they could’ve been. That it was one of the few regrets she had about the whole thing. But that was as far as she’d gone. East Rockport High isn’t just white girls, for sure. I glance over where Kiera and Amaya are sitting. I think about how in this one way, maybe Moxie could be even better than the Riot Grrrls. Even stronger”
I think the author did a good job of discussing it, but I think it just needed to be more present throughout the book to really push the important message across.
Despite having a few minor issues with side character development/depth and showing intersectionality in the text, I absolutely adored Moxie. The feminist issues it addressed were tackled brilliantly, Viv is an amazing and realistic protagonist, I loved the relationships and most of all I love the girl power. There was NO girl hate in this, even with different cliques in highschool, and I was living for it.
Definitely a must-read for girls, guys and non binary pals. Even if you learn nothing new about feminism after reading Moxie, at the very least, it’ll make you happy, angry and feel empowered all at once.
Thankyou Hachette Australia for sending me this book to review, this in no way affected my review or rating