Review: Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

Title: Moxie
Author: Jennifer Mathieu
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books (21st September 2017)

Vivian Carter is fed up.
Fed up with sexist dress codes.
Fed up with gross comments from guys during class.
Fed up with her high school teachers who let it happen!
But most of all, Viv is fed up with always following the rules.

Viv’s mum was a punk rock Riot Grrrl, inspiring Viv to create MOXIE a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her class mates.

She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond and begin to spread the MOXIE message:

And before Viv knows it, she has started a girl revolution.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)

MOXIE by Jennifer Mathieu tells the story of high schooler Vivian Carter who lives in East Rockport, Texas. Vivian is fed up with certain attitudes that seem to permeate East Rockport High School: the sexist dress code and the gross comments some of the guys make during class – and, to make matters worse, the teachers let them get away with it. Vivian is used to following the rules and being ‘good’, but the things she sees happening in her high school make her more and more uncomfortable. Inspired by her mum’s love of the punk rock Riot Grrrl movement, Vivian creates MOXIE – an anonymous feminist zine – that resonates with other girls who are just as unhappy as she is.

MOXIE is the first book by Jennifer Mathieu I’ve read, and to be honest I hadn’t come across the book or the author until it was included in the Zoella & Friends 2017 Book Club at WH Smiths. It took me a while to pick it up, despite the fact that I thought the blurb sounded intriguing, but I’m actually really glad that I did. Although MOXIE deals with a serious subject, it’s actually quite a fun and light read. I found Vivian easy to relate to with her struggle between wanting to speak out but at the same time not attract attention towards herself. MOXIE isn’t perfect, but I think a lot of people can relate to it and would enjoy it.

The plot of MOXIE basically revolves around the fact that Vivian has noticed the casual sexism that occurs in her school. She is at once both resigned to it, as it is something she and her fellow female high schoolers have been living with for years, and horrified by what she is forced to be complicit with. I thought Vivian was a really believable character; Mathieu does a good job in showing the conflicting feelings between wanting to speak out about something wrong and wanting to fit in, because life is safer when you don’t stand out.

I really enjoyed the way that Mathieu balanced the main plot – the sexism going on at East Rockport High School – with other things going on in Vivian’s life. I really enjoyed the way Vivian’s relationship with her mother and grandparents was written – it was nice to actually see a strong family dynamic. The one thing I did find odd, only because I’m not sure what the point of it was, was the weird thing between Vivian’s mum and her co-worker John. Friendship plays a huge role in this book, which was awesome. There is a little romance but that’s secondary to the main plot and the friendships, which I am totally okay with.

Don’t let the pink cover or the subject matter put you off, MOXIE is fun, entertaining, and a lot lighter in tone than you would think. It’s also a book that will make you think, and Mathieu provides some helpful links at the back if you want to find out more about things covered in the book.

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