Posted in Books

Feminist YA Books for Women’s History Month

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles!

I meant to post this earlier in the month, but, alas, school. But hey – March isn’t over yet, is it? And here in the U.S., March is Women’s History Month! So for the occasion, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite YA novels with feminist themes not just for March, but for all year round, because we should all be uplifting the voices of women every day of every year.

Let’s begin, shall we?

Celebrate Women's History Month with Talenthouse

FEMINIST YA BOOKS FOR WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH

Once & Future, A.R. Capetta and Cori McCarthy

Once & Future: Amy Rose Capetta, Cori McCarthy: 9781786076540: Amazon.com:  Books

GENRES: Sci-fi, romance, LGBTQ+, retellings

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I mean, how could the premise of an Arthurian retelling where the reincarnation of King Arthur is a POC, pansexual woman not hook you? Plus, lots of dismantling imperialism, sword fights, and an almost entirely queer cast.

Moxie, Jennifer Mathieu

Amazon.com: Moxie: A Novel (9781626726352): Mathieu, Jennifer: Books

GENRES: Contemporary, fiction, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Can I rant for a minute? I loved this book to death, but the Netflix adaptation of it looks AWFUL. I watched the trailer, and it looks like it COMPLETELY misconstrued the message of the book. The movie makes feminism look like a joke; in the book, Viv was already conscious of the toxic environment of her high school, but in the movie, they (unintentionally?) painted feminism as something that was “trendy” or “what the kids are into.” (In the beginning of the trailer, Viv magically has this feminist awakening from seeing her mom’s old Riot Grrl pictures…) Also in the trailer, she only starts to notice the rampant sexism in her high school AFTER SOMEBODY TELLS HER…

[fumes] okay I’ll stop now but Y I K E S

just stick to the book, okay?

How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse, K. Eason

Amazon.com: How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse: Book One of the Thorne  Chronicles eBook: Eason, K.: Kindle Store

GENRES: Sci-fi, fantasy

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Okay, I know this has been shelved as both adult and YA, but…hey, Rory’s 15 for most of the book, so I think I can slip it in this post. Plus, what’s not to love about disobedient, patriarchy-smashing princesses in space?

Sawkill Girls, Claire Legrand

Amazon.com: Sawkill Girls (9780062696601): Legrand, Claire: Books

GENRES: Horror, paranormal, fantasy, LGBTQ+

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Claire Legrand was a hit-or-miss author for me up until I read this one, but Sawkill Girls is such a powerful novel, both in its paranormal intensity and its resonant themes of sisterhood.

Girls of Paper and Fire, Natasha Ngan

Girls of Paper and Fire (Girls of Paper and Fire Series #1) by Natasha  Ngan, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

GENRES: High fantasy, romance, LGBTQ+

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

As disappointing as the sequel was, Girls of Paper and Fire still remains a book that stunned me like no other. A powerful tale of rebelling against oppression and corruption – and some lovely forbidden romance!

The Black Coats, Colleen Oakes

Amazon.com: The Black Coats (9780062679628): Oakes, Colleen: Books

GENRES: Contemporary, fiction, mystery, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.25

A super twisty and inventive novel with plenty of morally grey characters and secret societies. Plus, it raises some great points about vigilante justice. And there’s nothing better than getting back at misogynists and rapists, right?

The Sound of Stars, Alechia Dow

Amazon.com: The Sound of Stars (9781335911551): Dow, Alechia: Books

GENRES: Sci-fi, dystopian, LGBTQ+, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Every time I look back at this book, I think something along the lines of “man, I’m so glad I bought this.” Secret libraries, alien invasion, quality music references, cross-country road trips, and more than a little bit of resistance. Very nearly flawless!

Music from Another World, Robin Talley

Amazon.com: Music from Another World (9781335146779): Talley, Robin: Books

GENRES: Historical fiction, romance, LGBTQ+

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A beautiful romance set against the backdrop of protest and resisting homophobia in 1977 San Francisco. There’s lovely representation for both lesbian and bisexual characters, and it’s such a tender and resonant read!

TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK! Have you read any of these novels, and if so, did you like them? What are your favorite feminist YA reads?

Women's History Month

And while I’m at it, might I direct you all to the Women’s History Book Tag? It was created by Margaret @ Weird Zeal, and I had such a blast doing it last March, and I figured I should direct it to your attention. 🙂

Today’s song:

The way this song reminds me of the very beginning of quarantine now –

That’s it for this post! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (12/1/20)–Six Angry Girls

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles, and happy December! I’m so glad that 2020’s almost over…and it definitely feels like December where I am! There’s been snow falling for a good hour or so, and it looks fittingly wintry outside my window.

Arrested development coffin GIF on GIFER - by Painsinger

And I won this year’s NaNoWriMo yesterday! 35,051 of my goal of 35,000! [pats self on the back]

Well, now then, I guess I should get to the review now, right?

This one is another 2020 release (August 18), and I forget exactly how it came on my radar, but I decided to put it on hold because I wanted a nice feminist book in my life. And…well, the good intentions were all there and the representation’s great, but much of the book ended up being a mess, unfortunately.

Enjoy this week’s review!

Six Angry Girls by Adrienne Kisner

Six Angry Girls–Adrienne Kisner

Raina and Millie have rarely spoken to each other, but they both have one thing in common–a promising senior year that got derailed. For Raina, it’s her boyfriend not only dumping her, but cheating on her, and being ousted as co-president of the Drama Club. For Millie, it’s her being voted out of the all-boys Mock Trial team, and her controlling father growing worse by the day.

After she writes to a romance advice columnist, Raina finds new solace in a knitting circle who specializes in political activism, and soon, she, Millie, and four other girls united to dismantle the patriarchy of their school, piece by piece.

Smh Disappointed GIF - Smh Disappointed HeadShake - Discover & Share GIFs |  Robin, Stranger things wallpaper, Stranger things

My expectations were average for Six Angry Girls, what with being in the midst of a reading slump that I’ve just now managed to emerge from, but I’m sad to say that this novel only stretched the slump out longer.

Let’s start with what I liked, because I should be at least a little positive here. And there were a few things I did like about this book. The cast of Six Angry Girls is a lot more diverse than most contemporary feminist YA I’ve come across–in the main cast of six, we have several sapphic characters (including Millie), a sapphic asexual character, two POC characters, and a trans character who uses both she/her and they/them pronouns. So props to Kisner for including lots of authentic and casual representation! (Plus, I don’t think I’ve seen any characters–if any at all–who use multiple pronouns, like Izzy does, so that’s always a win!) Kisner also handled the subject of Millie’s abusive father well; those parts were certainly hard to read, but they were handled with aplomb and felt (disturbingly) authentic.

Unfortunately, it all went downhill from here…

First off, let’s talk about the writing. My main issue is that none of the teenagers read like authentic teenagers, and it mainly came down to the dialogue. Other than “I’m” and “I’ve,” there were almost no contractions to be found. Anywhere. As a result, the dialogue felt clunky and inauthentic. Additionally, many of the plot points that were built up for most of the books were rushed, and events that had been alluded to for a good chunk of the book were resolved in two pages or left, so I often found myself lost and thinking “wait, that already happened? That quickly?”

There’s also the issue of a main cast of six. Normally, I’m all for casts of this size–IF every single character is used equally. Millie and Raina were the only characters who narrated, but other than Grace, most of the characters were just…there. Izzy, Veronica, and Nikita didn’t seem to serve much of a purpose, other than diversity and positions in the mock trials. We had zero character development for any of them, and we have only the faintest idea of their personalities. Grace has slightly more of a purpose, at least, but I think that’s in part because she was in a relationship with Millie by the 75% mark.

But my main criticism of Six Angry Girls comes down to the depiction of feminism. I LOVE how Kisner tried to portray all of the feminism, patriarchy-smashing, and nonviolent protesting, but it all seemed…somewhat shallow. There were a variety of issues covered (sexism, homophobia, transphobia, etc.), but neither of them were discussed beyond the surface level, giving it an almost shallow appearance. The mock trial and knitting plots felt loosely tied together, and almost entirely unrelated, and I found myself wondering why the two plots existed. Raina’s and Millie’s stories could have frankly worked as two separate books, and that would have made for a lot less confusion.

And the motives behind most everything seemed to be revenge, which I really didn’t like as it related to feminism. For me, feminism is about seeing injustices and inequality within a community, and fighting back against it. Sure, some of it is about getting back at the oppressor, but ultimately, it’s about creating an equal playing field. In Six Angry Girls, most of the motivations behind all of the plot points were centered around revenge–against Brandon (Raina’s cheating ex), against the Drama Club, and against the Mock Trial team. I’m sure Kisner’s intentions were good, but having the feminist aspects of the book being portrayed as more of a revenge plot than anything else didn’t sit well with me.

All in all, a light and diverse feminist YA that suffered from stilted dialogue, characters without purposes, and a depiction of feminism that was full of holes. 2.5 stars.

Season 2 Shame GIF by Gilmore Girls - Find & Share on GIPHY

Six Angry Girls is a standalone, but Adrienne Kisner is also the author of two other novels, Dear Rachel Maddow and The Confusion of Laurel Graham.

Today’s song:

GAAAH…I’ve been listening to this one since I finished the season finale of Fargo last night…when I tell you that this scene made me SOB…(YOU CAN GUARANTEE A REVIEW ON MY END OF THIS SEASON OF FARGO THIS WEEK!)

That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Top 5 Saturday

Top 5 Saturday (10/10/20)–Books with Feminist Themes 🦸‍♀️

Happy Saturday, bibliophiles!

It’s time for another Top 5 Saturday! This was originally started by Devouring Books, and it sounded like such a fun post to take part in. Today’s topic is books with feminist themes.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE FOR OCTOBER: 

10/3/20—Intimidating Books

10/10/10—Feminist Themes

10/17/20—Animal on the Cover

10/24/20—Wishlist

10/31/20Vampires

Rules!

  • Share your top 5 books of the current topic– these can be books that you want to read, have read and loved, have read and hated, you can do it any way you want.
  • Tag the original post
  • Tag 5 people

Let’s begin, shall we?

Moxie, Jennifer Mathieu

Amazon.com: Moxie: A Novel (9781626726352): Mathieu, Jennifer: Books

An incredible and timely novel about fighting back against misogyny and toxic masculinity in a small town. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to take up the fight!

The Black Coats, Colleen Oakes

Amazon.com: The Black Coats (9780062679628): Oakes, Colleen: Books

I hardly see anyone talk about this one, and I highly recommend it! Not only is it about fighting back against injustice, it discusses a lot of morally gray topics.

Once & Future, A.R. Capetta and Cory McCarthy

Once & Future: Amy Rose Capetta, Cori McCarthy: 9781786076540: Amazon.com:  Books

A queer, POC retelling of King Arthur with the female descendant of King Arthur wielding the sword? And fighting back against injustice and colonialism? What’s not to love?

Sawkill Girls, Claire Legrand

Review: Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand | Vampire Book Club

A paranormal tale of sisterhood that’s truly unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I had average expectations for it, but it ended up being one of my first 5-star reads of this year!

Rebel Girls, Elizabeth Keenan

Amazon.com: Rebel Girls eBook: Keenan, Elizabeth: Kindle Store

A historical fiction novel set in the 90’s, rife with punk-rock feminism and picking up the fight against injustice in a conservative town.

I TAG ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PARTICIPATE!

power, action, gif artist, girl power, feminist, change, racism, equality,  protest, hell yeah, campaign, riot, marching, gender equality, the future  is female, women's march, thefutureisfemale – GIF

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week’s Top 5 Saturday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Books, Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (9/7/20)–The Athena Protocol

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme created by Lauren’s Page Turners. All you have to do to participate is pick a book from your Goodreads TBR, and explain why you want to read it.

My pick for today’s Goodreads Monday is a semi-earlier pick; I put it on the list almost a year ago, but it’s only about a third of the way through my (massive) TBR. I don’t read many mysteries or thrillers, but this one sounds like a lot of fun–with a feminist twist!

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (9/7/20)–THE ATHENA PROTOCOL by Shamim Sarif

Amazon.com: The Athena Protocol (9780062849601): Sarif, Shamim: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

Jessie Archer is a member of the Athena Protocol, an elite organization of female spies who enact vigilante justice around the world.

Athena operatives are never supposed to shoot to kill—so when Jessie can’t stop herself from pulling the trigger, she gets kicked out of the organization, right before a huge mission to take down a human trafficker in Belgrade.

Jessie needs to right her wrong and prove herself, so she starts her own investigation into the trafficking. But going rogue means she has no one to watch her back as she delves into the horrors she uncovers. Meanwhile, her former teammates have been ordered to bring her down. Jessie must face danger from all sides if she’s to complete her mission—and survive.

So why do I want to read this?

Black Widow Avengers GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

BLACK WIDOW VIBES, I REPEAT, BLACK WIDOW VIBES–

[ahem] besides that, the first comparison that I thought of after re-reading the blurb was The Black Coatsanother feminist mystery that deals with morally gray themes and vigilante justice. The Athena Protocol seems more spy-oriented while The Black Coats is more contemporary, but I have a feeling that the former might be just as good.

As a (very) infrequent consumer of mysteries and thrillers in general, I’m always looking for books that put twists on it. I’m excited to see how Sarif deals with some of the morally gray themes that seem to be lurking about the plot. Plus, I’m all for a super-team of female spies putting misogynists and creeps in their places, so of course I’m on board. And having just come out of seeing Tenet (which was amazing, by the way), I could definitely use this twist on the traditional thriller.

And according to Goodreads, there’s some LGBTQ+ representation too! Sarif said that Jessie is “a young woman who is LGBT,” and some of the reviews have said that she’s definitely sapphic, so I’m so excited!

All in all, maybe I need to read more thrillers. But mostly the feminist ones.

gal gadot gifs | WiffleGif

Today’s song:

That’s it for today’s Goodreads Monday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (3/26/19)-The Black Coats

Hey, everyone, and welcome to the last Book Review Tuesday of March 2019! I know I’ve said this…oh, thousands of times already, but it feels like this year’s gone by so fast. It feels like yesterday that it was the middle of January, and I was ankle-deep in snow as the wind bit at my cheeks.

Alright, that was an admittedly dramatic description, but that’s Colorado January in a nutshell. Cold, bitter, borderline brutal.

 

As Women’s History Month comes to a close, I’m beginning to realize the treasure trove of feminist YA literature I’ve stumbled upon lately. I’m pretty sure I read this one on International Women’s Day, and boy, it was the PERFECT book for the occasion. Contemporary, with a slight fantasy twist, exploring all sides of feminism in a way that is perfectly suited to this day and age. The Black Coats eternally kept me on the edge of my seat, and I hope that all who read this feel the same way.

 

Enjoy the review! 🙂

 

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The Black Coats

Ever since her cousin, Natalie, was murdered, Thea has been eager to exact her revenge. But with the killer having gone free and the case gone unnoticed, she struggles to find a way to come to terms with it.

But she isn’t alone.

Months after the death of her cousin, Thea discovers a black envelope with an invitation from a mysterious society that call themselves the Black Coats. They are a highly reclusive organization of women, all of whom have been hurt by men, that bring killers to justice and make the guilty answer for their crimes. At first, Thea is eager to join, intent on bringing her cousin’s killer to justice. But the more she delves into the history of the Black Coats, the more she realizes that the line between justice and needless revenge is thinner than ever. Can Thea avenge Natalie’s death without getting herself in too deep?

 

 

I’m really ashamed of how average my expectations were of this book. I expected it to be at least halfway-decent, a nice mystery to satiate myself after my continuous sci-fi/fantasy binge.

In the end, this is what my brain said to me about my assumptions:

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WOW. The Black Coats really has it all–phenomal and heart wrenching  writing, startlingly real characters with heart and emotion, a plot that kept me on my toes, absolutely perfect chemistry, and a relevant theme that not only was necessary to touch on, but wasn’t delivered in a way that was preachy. Whether you’re looking for fiction, mystery, feminism, or even a little romance, The Black Coats is an essential for all of you bookworms out there. Every single one of you. 9/10 on my rating scale, and probably a solid A. Incredible job, Mrs. Oakes, this one’s a gem.

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Well, I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day, and a lovely spring break!  I promise to post more than BRTs in the time that is to come–I’ve got a few ideas, and I’ll probably come back after Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park with some good stories and pictures. See you soon, fellow bibliophiles! 😉