MOXIE BY JENNIFER MATHIEU
Published // Roaring Books Press
Releases // September 19th, 2017
Format // Advance Readers Copy
“An unlikely teenager starts a feminist revolution at a small-town Texan high school in the new novel from Jennifer Matheiu, author of The Truth About Alice.
MOXIE GIRLS FIGHT BACK!
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.
Moxie is a book about high school life that will make you wanna riot!”
Moxie is the kind of book everyone should read, especially teenage girls. Moxie is empowering and charming and tackles some real hard realities that young girls deal with in high school. We follow the story of Vivian who has grown up in East Rockport, Texas with her single mother. Her mom works hard as a nurse to provide for the two of them, often making sacrifices for the family. In her closet though is a box labelled “My Misspent Youth,” full of relics from a time when her mother was a rebellious Riot Grrrl in the PNW. Vivvy has a cat named Joan Jett, and has grown up learning about Riot Grrrls, listening to Bikini Kill, and hearing stories from her mother’s time in Portland.
Riot Grrrls + zines + girls empowering girls
One of the coolest parts about this book was the pop culture references to the Riot Grrrl era, their music and cultural feminist movement. I currently live in Seattle, WA and it was so cool to see a piece of PNW history involved in the story. Riot Grrls were loud and unapologetic and as feminist as you can be. It was great to see Vivian taking their manifesto and incorporating it into her life. (See manifesto below, published in 1991 but Kathleen Hanna)
Zines were a huge part of the Riot Grrrl movement, and the ones in this book were so sassy and empowering. I adored each issue, and loved that they were included in the book. Plus, the theme of girls empowering and supporting other girls was SO great to read. I love the spirit of the Riot Grrrls, and I think Jennifer captured it perfectly.
Feminism in Small Town Texas
Moxie is set in a tiny Texas town called East Rockport, where the whole town worships the high school football team, and the main things to do in town are hang out at the DQ. There’s unspoken divides between identities such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and social class. The casual hallway sexual harassment from boys that the girls experience is frighteningly familiar for many. Vivian starts a feminist rebellion in a place where no one ever thinks to challenge the status quo, and it was incredible.
Tackles sexism, sexual harassment, and rape
Vivian and the girls at East Rockport high school live with everyday sexism and sexual harassment, which for some of the girls escalated into rape and sexual assault. This is a reality for many young women growing up in places where sexist comments aren’t dealt with and men are allowed to act as entitled as they want.
Fierce girls + solid friendships
I adored the fierce girls in this story who came together to take a stand for what they knew was right. It wasn’t easy, but they led a movement through their courageous actions. The fantastic female friendships were wonderful, and I loved getting to watch their connections grow with one another. In true Riot Grrrl fashion, they empowered one another and it was empowering as a reader as well. <3
Adorable, supportive romance
wow wow wow, what an addition this romance was to the story. I loved that it never felt like the main motivator of plot, but it was still an important part of Vivian’s story. It was so so cute, watching Vivian fall for the adorable, cool new boy in town named Seth. He supported her and her zine/movement, and took part himself in what the movement was doing. Their relationship was so lovely, healthy, and cute!!
MOXIE is the perfect story for anyone who considers themselves a feminist. It’s empowering, has fantastically fierce and encouraging women, and an adorable supportive relationship. It is a blast to read, even though it deals with very real/heavy topics around sexism and sexual harassment.
Overall rating: 5/5 stars Pick up a copy of MOXIE at your local indie bookstore, or at: