Review: Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

Review: Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
Published by Roaring Brook Press on September 19th 2017
Pages: 336
Source:Copy provided by publisher for review
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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.


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!

I went into Moxie with incredibly high expectations. This is probably for a whole plethora of reasons:

1) Jennifer Mathieu’s books have been some of my faves

2) You read the synopsis, right?

3) It’s blurbed by Amy Freaking Poehler

4) This topic is so, so relevant and important

So yeah, that’s a lot for this book to live up to, right? Maybe, but who cares because it did. It definitely lived up to my own hyped up expectations, and then some.

I had so very many thoughts during this book that I don’t quite know where to start. Straight up, my thoughts had thoughts. By the time I was done reading, there were basically as many pink flags as there were pages.

See, no joke, it was out of hand! 

Here’s the thing: It started being awesome before the story even began, and never, ever stopped. Even the damn dedication was bad-assedly on point. So instead of trying to be coherent and write actual human paragraphs, let’s just do a list of all the awesome, okay?

  • I was pissed off by page six. PAGE. SIX. Now, you’re probably asking “why is this weirdo happy to be pissed off?”, and I get it. But in the context, this book should be pissing you off. You should be goddamn outraged at the bullshit that young women face every single day. And guess who makes you exceptionally pissed on behalf of Vivian and her classmates? Jennifer Mathieu. You will be filled with all the rage. Whether you’re mad because it happened to you, or to someone you know, or even just these characters, you will feel the empathy toward them. Your heart will hurt with these everyday injustices, because you know full well that they lead to so many more injustices.
  • Speaking of, you will be mad because this is so freaking accurate. Women friends, raise your hands if you have ever been blatantly demeaned by a male teacher. If you’ve ever been called names by some douchey bully. If you’ve been subjected to stricter rules so that boys wouldn’t be “distracted”. If male activities and sports teams got more funding, more help than the female equivalents. I assume most, if not all of us are raising our hands. And that is why this book works: It is relatable to women as a whole. 
  • Vivian was such a normal teenage girl- full of fears and insecurities. Had she been totally game to stand up to this from the start, I’d never have believed it. She was mad, sure, but it took a lot of guts and soul searching for her to make a move. Even then, she went back and forth in her mind. I won’t say more than that, but know that Vivian was presented as “every girl”. She struggled with the same thoughts and fears that most of us have when standing up to an oppressive presence, and I appreciated her more for it.
  • Girls coming together instead of tearing each other apart gives me life. Not saying that it was all sunshine and unicorns or whatever, but the overwhelming message of females empowering each other was present in this book. Fully, wholly present, with tons of little lessons along the way.
  • It touches on other issues within the feminist movement, such as diversity and sexual orientation. I thought this was awesome! While I do wish it could have been even more, I do understand that to have focused on too many topics would have probably taken away from the focus. But I am super happy that it was acknowledged, and voiced firmly as an issue.
  • The zines were incredible! I adored these! They were so cute, so creative, and a perfect little graphic break up! Plus, they worked so well in the story that it was really quite brilliant to add them in.
  • There was a romance, and while I didn’t care a ton about the romance per se, it did help with the story. First, it made Vivian’s daily life probably more relatable, because she was focused on other things- friends, relationships, etc. Second, it helped to open the discussion with males about how the females were being treated, and I think that is incredibly important.
  • Viv’s relationship with her mom is a huge focus. Her mom’s “Riot Grrrl” days serve as an impetus for Vivian’s own Moxie Girls, so there is a lovely scene of a shared interest, even if Viv kept Moxie to herself. They were struggling a bit, trying to navigate new issues in their relationship, but ultimately, it was very clear that they cared deeply for each other.

Whew, so, I could keep going, but you get the general gist, yes? Get the book. You need it in your life.

Bottom Line:  This is simply a perfect book for a young woman to read and realize that she’s not alone. She can stand up for herself, too. She has a voice. She matters.

ALSO! There is an awesome pre-order incentive for the book, which was already fabulous, but in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, some YA authors have gotten together to donate as an additional pre-order incentive. (Talk about the best bookish money you can spend- an awesome book, fabulous swag, and you’re helping disaster victims? Such a win!)

So, would you stand with the Moxie girls? Do you have a story to share? I’d love to hear any personal stories anyone has! 

Posted September 4, 2017 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Review / 15 Comments

15 responses to “Review: Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

  1. Sounds excellent. I want to read this now- yeah I may not be able to relate in the same way, but guys need to see this perspective too And I remember high school – not that it only happens there, but I think a lot of us can relate to high school being a mess. Great review Shannon, and sounds like a great book.

  2. Whoo hoo! I was already excited about this one, and now I am really pumped. Love Mathieu and that she is bringing these issues into the spotlight and incorporating them with the Riot Grrrl culture of my youth. Great review!

  3. Ooh yes I need this for sure!! BECAUSE YAS FEMINISM. But also why is it so hard to find really good solid female friendships in books?!? I swear most of the ya I read involves girls tearing each other apart. It’s so depressing. 😭 (Which is why Wonder Woman was AMAZING.)

  4. Damn! This sounds AMAZING and for some reason it wasn’t on my radar AT ALL. I fail, obviously. I’m so glad teen girls now have such incredible books to show them that they matter, and to teach them that you can strive to be anything. I’m already in love with the book from your review! I’ll get this from the library!

  5. This book sounds fantastic! I actually had no intention to read this because I thought it’s a non fiction and it will be a heavy read, but it actually sounds perfect and relateable! Definitely adding this to my tbr.

  6. I loved loved LOVED Moxie so much! I basically want to push it into EVERYONE’s hands and make them read it, because IT.IS.SO.IMPORTANT. Honestly, this is one of those books that made me so mad at the world, but by the end it restored my faith in it, because it was amazing to see the girls support each other and work together. ESPECIALLY given how different and unique all the girls were, and instead of bringing each other down for those differences they respected each other and gah, MY HEART, this was so good.

    Wonderful review!

    Veronika @ The Regal Critiques

  7. This book is on my shelf gathering dust and I am so excited to get reading. Your review has reminded me why I am so eager to pick this book up. It is the kind of feminist read everyone should read and I’ve not even read it yet! I love books which make you angry because those are the books which are nailing the truth on the head and making sure you’re angry about it. Thanks for reminding me I need to read this book.

  8. I have seen the cover of this book around, but for what it is about, I don’t think it has nearly enough noise raised about it. And I am so glad it was done so well, that it was so easy to relate to, but most of all, that it made you mad. Because when something like that happens, it helps gives you the push you need to take a stand against what is causing the problem. I will definitely be reading this one now!

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