Moxie girls fight back!
Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her small-town Texas high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes and hallway harassment. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.
Viv’s mom was a punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, so 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. Pretty soon Viv is forging friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, and she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.
Author: Jennifer Mathieu
Genre: YA Contemporary
Final Rating: 4 Stars
Warning: My review will include mentions of rape and sexual harassment/abuse.
I’ve been really interested in feminism recently, and I’ve been looking for books about the topic. I came across Moxie, and it seemed like an easy way to get into the subject. I expected to like it.
Just not this much.
Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu was an empowering, inspiring and honest book about high schoolers fighting against sexism.
And I loved it.
The main character, Vivian, was so realistic. And as most people know, I love realistic characters. She was frustrated at the way things were at her school and wanted to do something about it, but didn’t know what. I loved watching her transform a shy girl who tried to not rock the boat, to not make a mess (Yes, that was a lyric from Roar by Katy Perry) to a strong girl who’s not afraid to speak her mind despite what others tell her. But despite my adoration of Viv, Lucy was my favorite character. It was as if she was the catalyst for Viv to be done with accepting their school. For Viv to make the Moxie zines. I loved Lucy, in case you didn’t realize.
Making girls monitor their behavior and their appearance because boys are supposedly unable to control themselves? That is one of the oldest fucking tricks in the book.
I also liked how much this book had me thinking of me. Like, what would I do, if there were Moxie zines going around my school? I mean, I’d probably do the stars and hearts thing, and I’d like to think that I’d do the bathrobe thing, but . . . I don’t even know where my bathrobe is. Yes, I’m making an excuse. But I like what they did in the movie (Don’t attack me for saying that I liked something in the movie more than it in the book, it’s just one thing), which was all the girls wearing tank tops to protest a girl having to go home due to her wearing a tank top with thin straps. I think that is a bit more realistic than everyone wearing their robes.
One of my favorite parts of this book was the feminism itself. I was cheering Vivian on in my head, and I got so freaking angry at the misogynistic jerks in their school. I loved watching the females of their high school band together and learn what it means to be a feminist. The way the author portrayed that feminism isn’t only for women was amazing, and I loved that aspect of the book.
Because I believe with my whole heart mind body that girls constitute a revolutionary soul force that can, and will, change the world for real.
I also appreciated how the author tackled both the privileges of males, and the privileges of white women when it comes to feminism. The women of color in this book do talk to Vivian about how she does have a leg up on them because she is white. And I liked that Viv wasn’t angry at them, and they weren’t at her, because their skin color isn’t something they can change.
I loved how this book never dragged. That’s probably a given, but it seems that a lot of authors think it’s okay to have boring parts in your book.
The reason why this wasn’t a 4.5 star or even 5 star book for me was because of . . . Seth.
I didn’t like Seth. I didn’t like how Vivian immediately had a crush on him. I didn’t like how he immediately took her on a date after they had, like, 2 conversations.
But most importantly, I didn’t like the way Seth was used to teach readers not say that rape is the victim’s fault. It isn’t. But Seth kind of said that. Which made me not like him. He was used more as a plot device than an actual character, which really annoyed me.
I miss finding a way to fight back against all the bullshit in this school. And you telling me not all guys are like that doesn’t really help me feel better. Because some guys are like that. A lot of them, actually.
Another reason I didn’t like him was because of him repeatedly saying that not all guys were like that. Vivian told him multiple times that she knew that. Seth, I’m pretty sure she knows that. She wouldn’t have been dating you if you were like those guys. But what she is trying to tell you is that a lot of guys at your school are like that. And that most girls are afraid of being sexually harassed/assaulted/raped.
This book addressed rape culture in a way that not many books do. It makes sense to include mentions of rape in a book about feminism and jerks trying to take advantage of girls. And I appreciated that the made sure to make it clear that it’s never the victim’s fault. That should be given, but some people don’t think so, which is horrible.
I’m totally sure he’s not doing it on purpose, but Seth is a guy, and he can’t ever know what it feels like to walk down a hallway and know that you’re getting judged for the size of your ass or how big your boobs are. He’ll never understand what it’s like to second guess everything you wear and how you sit and walk and stand in case it doesn’t attract the right kind of attention, or worse, attracts the wrong kind. He’ll never get how scary and crazy-making it is to feel like you belong to some big Boy Monster that decides it can grab you and touch you and rank you whenever and however it wants.
And due to me not liking Seth, and sometimes wanting to punch him in his smug little face, I didn’t like the romance at all. I didn’t like how Viv immediately had a crush on him.
And they kissed after knowing each other for a couple days.
This is what it means to be a feminist. Not a humanist or an equalist or whatever. But a feminist. It’s not a bad word. After today it might be my favorite word. Because really all it is is girls supporting each other and wanting to be treated like human beings in a world that’s always finding ways to tell them they’re not.
But despite not liking Seth, or the romance, this book is needed in a world of sexist people. I feel everyone should read this book for its insightful look at the world out of the eyes of a teenager. And not even that, just read this book for an empowering read about girls finding their voices.
I don’t think I’ll stop recommending Moxie anytime soon.
Moxie girls fight back!
For when you need to feel like you’re at the top of the world.
- Sit Still, Look Pretty by Daya
- Most Girls by Hailey Steinfeld
- Tell Me I’m Pretty by Brynn Elliot
- Dangerous Woman by Ariana Grande
- Confident by Demi Lovato
- Kings and Queens by Ava Max
- Love Myself by Hailey Steinfeld
- Salute by Little Mix
- Future Nostalgia by Dua Lipa
- Just Like Fire by P!nk
- God is a woman by Ariana Grande
- That’s My Girl by Fifth Harmony
- you should see me in a crown by Billie Eilish
- Might Not Like Me by Brynn Elliot
- Bo$$ by Fifth Harmony
- Pretty Girl by Maggie Lindemann, CADE and Cheat Codes
- Work from Home by Fifth Harmony
- Salute by Little Mix
- Broken & Beautiful by Kelly Clarkson
- Badass Woman by Meghan Trainer
- Power by Little Mix
Find the playlist on Spotify here.