This is a book that I’ve saved for a long time. I’m not sure why, but I strongly believe that books have a right time to be read (and if you’ve read this blog, you’ve seen me say that many, many times).
Moxie was a book I won through the “I’m a Moxie Girl” giveaway at YALC this year — lovely Melinda Salisbury sung its praises to me and during her second panel in a row, I had to go for a long walk to pop all my joints back in place, and happened to walk into the Moxie-girl-giveaway-person in question. What luck!
In a week when I was all about finishing books on my list, I started having a meltdown. As an autistic person, this happens quite a lot and I find one of the best ways of managing myself is getting in the bath with a very particular brand of smart, funny, feminist literature — think Holly Bourne, E Lockhart. Moxie was there on my pile, resplendent in pink with white stars. I grabbed it, and immersed myself (both literally and literaturally… I’m sorry, that’s not a word).
Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu was exactly the book I needed right at that moment. Moxie was inspired by the riot grrrl movements of the 1990s which I was slightly too young for but experienced in proxy by stealing my sister’s chokers and catching whispers of The Cranberries on Radio 1 (on that note, rest in piece Dolores O’Riordan).
Viv Carter is fed up. Fed up of sexist dress codes, fed up of boys’ sexual comments, fed up of structural inequality she sees around her daily. One night when hanging up washing, she discovers her mother’s secret My Mispent Youth box, filled with zines and photographs, a portal back to the riot grrrls of the 90s. While her grandparents saw her mother’s attitude as “always looking for a fight”, Viv recognises the moxie herself and decides that she needs a little of that in her own life.
Frustrated by cries of “make me a sandwich” and sexist t-shirt slogans, Viv makes a zine of her own for Moxie girls, distributed in secret around the school. What she begins is a movement that changes the face of her school forever.
I absolutely fell in love with Moxie, an empowering manual for young women determined to see changes in their immediate environments and the wider world. Viv is a great character who grows into a change-maker, through challenging herself and her own doubts. I really enjoyed her romance with Seth Acosta, and his own evolution through the book, as well as her new friend Lucy Hernandez.
Also, let’s be real — any book that gets another generation into Bikini Kill is a good thing. May I thoroughly recommend the Spotify Riot Grrrl Playlist as a great place to start your education.
What I really like though is the message that if you can be the change you want to see in the world. If you don’t like something, talk about it. If you want to change something, ask how you can change it. Listen to others — what oppressions do they face daily, how can we be better allies to them and work towards a more inclusive world? I think these are questions that everyone needs to ask themselves daily, and Moxie is a great seed for starting those thought processes and conversations. This is a book I would have loved to read as a teenager, and hope that it features prominently in every single school library.
What to read next:
- The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks by E. Lockhart
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- What’s a Girl Gotta Do? by Holly Bourne
Thank you kindly to BKMRK for the proof copy received at YALC.