THE RADICAL ELEMENT by Jessica Spotswood
Kirkus Star


12 Stories of Daredevils, Debutantes & Other Dauntless Girls
Age Range: 14 - 18
Email this review


Editor Spotswood offers a collection of historical stories about young women, bold and brave, many who traverse territory slated only for men.

Rebekah, who comes from an Orthodox Jewish family, defies the traditional patriarchal hierarchy of the faith when she secretly meets with her friend Caleb to study Torah, forbidden to women. When these secret meetings are discovered, Rebekah is forced to make the bold choice of allegiance to religious tradition or her desire to be educated in it. In the 19th-century Southwest, Ray is a Mexican girl who poses as a boy to work as a stevedore among men while cheating them at cards to raise funds to reunite with her long-lost family. In “Lady Firebrand,” interracial friends Pauline and Rose conspire to undermine the Confederacy by acting as undercover saboteurs for the Union. Crossing genres into fantasy, Emma McGee is a young black girl whose family has discovered a potion that gives them immortality. As U.S. involvement in World War II heightens, Emma is torn between keeping her family’s secret and her desire to serve in the Army Nurse Corps. These are tales across time and cultures, offering diverse women as witnesses to historical times. Contributor Dhonielle Clayton sums up the necessity of such an anthology when she writes, “There are few stories about what nonwhite people endured [during World War II], and I wanted to explore that.”

A needed collection to broaden understanding of the many different faces of history. (Anthology. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 13th, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-7636-9425-8
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Candlewick
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2018


AdultBECAUSE I WAS A GIRL by Melissa de la Cruz
by Melissa de la Cruz
ChildrenHERE WE ARE by Kelly Jensen
by Kelly Jensen
ChildrenFUNNY GIRL by Betsy Bird
by Betsy Bird