Designed to empower, the novel occasionally fails to consider that changing a culture of misogyny requires educating and...

MOXIE

Fed up by her high school’s culture of misogyny, Vivian leads a feminist rebellion.

Staff at Vivian’s school conveniently overlook the demeaning remarks football players and their friends direct at girls, the ongoing hallway sexual harassment of “bump ’n’ grab,” and the annual tournament to identify the “most fuckable” girl on campus. Enraged by the toxic environment, and inspired by 1990s Riot Grrrl culture, Vivian creates an anonymous zine—Moxie—to empower girls. Some of Vivian’s protest ideas are inspired, as when girls wear bathrobes to protest the unfair enforcement of the school’s dress code. Soon Moxie supports such additional projects as girls’ soccer fundraisers, successfully strengthening the school’s sisterhood. But there are troubling moments when Vivian excludes willing male participants, seemingly suggesting that achieving female empowerment requires gender separation. And Moxie moves dangerously toward vigilante justice when it’s used to accuse a student of attempted rape. Vivian’s incensed reaction when her boyfriend suggests the anonymous accuser might be lying ignores the American judicial system’s core tenet of due process. Further, the novel fails to educate readers that qualified police investigators, not school officials, must be alerted in accusations of criminal behaviors.

Designed to empower, the novel occasionally fails to consider that changing a culture of misogyny requires educating and embracing support from members of all genders. (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62672-635-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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WE WERE LIARS

A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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