Review: Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

Hiya, Flamingos!

I hope you’re all well and feeling the fall vibe! It’s already windy here and somehow the air breeze is cool, symbolizing that December is near. I wasn’t super busy with work today, and powered through a book. Today marks the first review under my new handle, Reading Flamingo, together with new graphics and designs.

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I get all worked up when I have to talk about gender roles, equality and the importance of having your own opinion even if you’re a woman. If you’re interested to know about my thoughts on Moxie, then read on, flamingo!

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Title: MOXIE

Author: Jennifer Mathieu

Pages: 330

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Publication: September 19, 2017

Format: EPUB

Goodreads Synopsis:

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. 

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Actual rating: 3.50 stars

 

“MOXIE GIRLS FIGHT BACK.”

I personally consider myself as a feminist; I have a lot of opinions and perspective that are not exactly traditionally in-lined. I’ve been raised in a Christian household, my mom and my extended relatives are active in Church; but at an early age, I had this sense and urge to always form my own opinions – not just to follow what others say.

 

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When I was still in high school, I thought being a feminist meant that I NEVER have to rely on a man’s effort and strength. I would scream and let the boys have it when they would offer to carry my rock heavy backpack, or when they would let me inside the car first before them – I never accepted any help because I thought I was being looked down as woman, too weak to do anything. Apparently, I wasn’t being feministic, I wasn’t fighting for gender equality – what I was, was being mean. I didn’t realize it until I was in my last year of high school and was choosing which college to go to. Truth be told (and mind you, I never told anyone about this), I went to an exclusive school for girls, partly because I wanted to exercise women empowerment, but half of it was just because I easily get distracted with boys and boy drama.
Okayyy, back to what I was originally saying. I loved college, it was the best years of my life! I didn’t have friends, I gained SISTERS – sisters who share the same advocacy and campaign as mine. We had school campaign movements which heavily focused on women’s rights, two most memorable were:
1. BRING BACK OUR GIRLS – our rally against the group of men who kidnapped 276 Nigerian girls from their boarding school to become sex slaves and wives to Boko Haram’s group. This was done to send a message to the Nigerian government; our school went ahead and spearheaded this “noise barrage” within the vicinity of our school, encouraging civilians and other universities nearby to be aware.
2. One Billion Rising (Annual Dance Mob) – yearly, my school invited and encouraged the student body (from preschool to college) and the faculty / administration to dance. This activity was done to promote women rights; I believe this had been covered by various local newspapers and international ones.
Both events I participated in wholeheartedly, and my four years in college taught me the true meaning behind feminism. It’s not about being the stronger gender or being too independent, but rather, fighting for equality and to abandon the traditional gender roles. Promote that what men can do, women are just as capable and vice-versa.
Men belong to the kitchen as much as women; women has a place in politics as much as men.

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The first ever feminist book I’ve ever read was V is for Virgin by Kelly Oram; and in all honesty, if I am to do a comparison, I say I love Kelly Oram’s duology so much more than Moxie. I enjoyed Moxie, it was definitely feministic and it made me realize a lot more, but it lacked on the angst in my opinion.
Another claimed “feminist” YA novel is Shut Out. It’s not nearly as good as Moxie or V is for Virgin – it was actually a misrepresentation of what it means to be a feminist. Shut Out focuses heavily on how a lot of men are only after sex, and that one of the means to control them is to withhold or deny them of it [despite being in a relationship]. To me that book wants more of women’s control or edge over men; first of it’s not fair to hold a human nature over someone’s head to gain control, and second, that’s not at all feminism.
Moxie, on the other hand, was just about the right mix and start-up to call upon the spark on women to fight when they are in the minority or given unfair treatment.

BA2A6956-922B-46D0-BE95-078DB8A3BF08• I love ALL issues of Moxie! They were so cute and nostalgic, and revolutionary.
• I love the idea that Moxie wasn’t spearheaded by anyone (I honestly thought this would tackle the idea of being nice girl to being bossy). Not having a leader made everything more personal and relatable; the best description for it is one that’s found in the book: Moxie doesn’t belong to just one person. It belongs to every girl who wants to be a part of it.
• It balanced on friendships (sisterhood), family relationships and personal relationships.
• It was feministic because the girls weren’t man-hating, they understood that there are existing guys who don’t act like douches.
• The minority group of guys who have respect for women were represented through Seth, and it’s a good inclusion in a book that claims to be focused on feminism – again, feminism is about equality.
• It was good and clear what the girls of the East Rockport High School were fighting for. The initiatives and the campaigns were simple, yet they were very relatable and valid.
• It didn’t go overboard on showcasing their stand against the school’s rules, just enough to be noticeable and to call out that the girls will no longer turn a blind-eye on the misogynistic traditions within ERHS.

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EC090CC7-8301-42F0-9836-9166FEEEBB8C• The acts of sexual harassment brought up in certain scenes of this book were taken lightly. I understood that it was trying to highlight the lack of fairness within the school system [of a sexist school] but I wasn’t a fan of how the issues were handled in the book. To me, it seemed like they were just dismissed and used as a point of unity for all these girls to fight back.

 

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Honestly, I related to Moxie in such a personal level. Viv and I have a lot in common, we’re both raised by single parents (who, at some point, questioned the new partner of her hardworking and loving mother) – though my mom wasn’t nearly as cool and hip as Viv’s. I’ve had too many encounters with boys whose thoughts swirl into lust and hormones almost 24/7; but eventually, I landed to a sweet simple man, with an ambition and instilled respect to women (or any person for that matter).
Reading this book brought back memories, and looking back to my college days, I wish I could’ve done more. I wish I had enough courage to start a movement as important and direct as Moxie. There are still a lot of misogyny in this world, and I never believe that it will really be gone but I am hoping that in the future, someone will be as brave as Viv and all the girls of ERHS to stand and fight back. I don’t believe that the view in terms of gender and equality will ever be fully different from how it’s been all these centuries, but at least it gives a chance for both men and women to be more open and accepting.

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It’s not the best YA feminist book written, but it’s definitely something. It will ignite your inner girl power, and soon after reading, you’ll be strutting down your own high school hallway with your sisters for life! Unleash the Moxie living within you!

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Photos are not mine, except for the speech bubbles which separates the ones I loved and disliked about the book. I will be using them from now on, but the feminist stickers are all from Google. Apologies for the pixelated ones, I am currently blogging on my phone.

So any thoughts on the new blog format?

Also, I am one of the hosts for Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao, for the PH Blog Tour, the book came out this October 10th! It’s my first time to be a host, I’m both nervous and excited. Hopefully, this will be the start of many.

Question of the day: Have you read Moxie? What is your stand regarding feminism? 

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Last reminders, Flamingos, please do follow my bookstagram! I’ve recently poured efforts and transformed my account officially into a bookstagram. Give it some love? @reeyuhbeegale

With love,

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Abi, the Flamingo.

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A Book Review: The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone

Hello, Cabbages!

I know what you were thinking–that I won’t be writing AGAIN even if I already said I will. Well, I can’t really blame you, I am one to grow lazier by the minute.

Some life update before we proceed with the actual review, first off, I’m writing this via my laptop and I haven’t touched my laptop for almost 3 months now–LOL. I know, who does  that right? Anyway, second, basing from this post, I assume you’ve figured out that I was able to buy a new book because I finished 3 which was my agreement with Pups. This Sunday I got This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab. I haven’t started that one ’cause I’m really not feeling the story yet, though I hope to read it soon. Please let me know if you’ve read by leaving a comment below.

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As you may have remembered, I joined the Emojiathon and this is my 3rd entry for it! I still haven’t done a post about Emojiathon and the books that I plan on reading for that and I don’t think I’ll ever get around to actually writing one, sorry. I’m still getting back to the feeling of blogging and I don’t want to overwhelm myself and feel like this is a responsibility. So this book falls under the category: “Book You Purchased because of its Cover”

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TITLE: The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone

AUTHOR: Adele Griffin

DATE PUBLISHED: August 12, 2014

PUBLISHER: Soho Teen

PAGES: 256

Goodreads Summary: Brilliant young artist. Her mysterious death. Fandom that won’t let her go. From the moment she stepped foot in NYC, Addison Stone’s subversive street art made her someone to watch, and her violent drowning left her fans and critics craving to know more. I conducted interviews with those who knew her best—including close friends, family, teachers, mentors, art dealers, boyfriends, and critics—and retraced the tumultuous path of Addison’s life. I hope I can shed new light on what really happened the night of July 28. Fully illustrated.

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MY RATING: 4.00

Love! It’s like strolling along the milky way!

I am not one for reading non-fiction, I rarely venture out to that genre unless it’s for a school project, but since I’m out of College already, I don’t get to ready anymore of that. I also picked this book up during the MIBF 2016–Manila Book International Fair and I’m not going to lie, I did it because of the cover. I appreciate art and I love the drama vibe that surrounds its cover. I saw it in the shelf and I knew I had to get it!

Getting to reading this book wasn’t hard, mainly because it’s not real–basically it’s a faux biography of a fictional “celebrity-like popular” character, so obviously it’s not heavy on the non-fiction elements we usually see in real biographies. I didn’t expect to love this book as much as I did, I gave it a solid 4 out of 5 stars because I connected with it and if you’ve known me, you’ll understand that a connection is a stronger pull on me rather than a fluid plot line.

PLOT:

The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone was dark and problematic, but at the same way, I was drawn into her. I think the author did such a great job by writing a protagonist who is realistic and full of character. I’ve never read any Adele Griffin book except for this, but I love her writing style. Such a brilliant author for being able to suppress all that emotion in one character and still not bombard or overwhelm the readers at the same time. Her character was written in such a charismatic way and you can’t help but put your attention to her; the entire persona of Addison Stone demands the attention of every reader out there.

This book explores a lot of mental issues and how people don’t necessarily understand them. It made me realize that being mentally unstable or unhealthy can drive you to the brink of exhaustion. It deals heavily on how each and everyone of us have our own battles and monsters to face, and the only we can count on to help us is ourselves. There are haunting points in this book which I felt very appropriate; it was so dark and delicious.

Another aspect I loved about this book is how it was written in a series of interviews with people who have interacted with Addison at some point in her life–both significant and acquaintances were featured. Addison Stone and her different phases in life were narrated through the eyes of these strangers and loved ones, and yet they all have different interpretations on how she was as an individual. It created an impact for me because it’s the truth–no matter how many people we meet in our lives, none of them will know the truth in the core of our individual existence. People form judgments of who we are, both good and bad but we can never trust anyone to tell the truth of our story because that is ours and only us can set the facts straight, unless you are six feet under the ground.

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The beauty in the misery in the death of Addison, is that I only regret not meeting her. Most of the books out there, presents some protagonists in the most awful way. I don’t approve of protagonists getting away with their attitude and flaws, just because I have to sympathize with her situation, like I am expected to root for her because “everybody’s out to get her”. In this case, as a reader I am presented with how problematic Addison is. There’s no hiding her dark and wild spirit; it’s almost like I am made to hate her for all the vile things she’s done but because I am exposed to all this, is what actually allows me to empathize with her. I am brought to understand her for why she is what she is.

CHARACTERS:

There were so many characters involved in Addison’s life, and though most of them were significant, I don’t feel the need to discuss all of them. However, I only loved Lucy–the best friend of Addison Stone. I believe she’s the closest to the truth as I’ll ever get to knowing Addison. She’s seen her demons, her flaws and she’s the same old Lucy you’ll see from start to finish. I love her versions of Addison because I was given the privilege to witness the young Addison up until the time before she drowned.

In a lot of times while reading this book, I’ve happen to remember Alaska from Looking For Alaska of John Green. It was actually my favorite John Green book, I loved the drama in that. However, reading this, Alaska suddenly felt unrealistic. Her character was wild and lost and dark, yet she felt flat in comparison with Addison Stone. Alaska was became shallow for me and that’s sad, I’ve loved her since I read the book back in 2013. It just so happen that I now appreciate more of the darkness that surrounds Addison Stone.

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Like I said, this book was written in such an interactive and realistic way that I barely noticed it was fiction. I can’t describe it or review well for you guys, because just like the synopsis in Goodreads, I don’t think it will give justice why this book is beautiful in all its darkness. You have to read it for yourself; trust me, it will be a shame not to have a glimpse of Addison Stone.

There were such great art, and photos to document the life of Addison and they were just so fun to skim through. Also, the model who they got to portray Addison Stone in the book is so stunning and full of charm.

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So that’s not a good review, but like I said, I don’t trust myself to give justice to how powerful this book felt for me. I wish a lot more people would give it a go, it deserves to be devoured and not left accumulating dusts on the bookshelves.

I’m still thinking about writing a review for Crazy Rich Asians, or if I missed my “hype” for the book already. But I finished it way before this one, and it was part of my entry to Emojiathon as A Book With Marginal Characters–well it was about the life of rich pure Chinese clans.

If you’re wondering, I also didn’t continue on with When Dimple Met Rishi because I’m quite overwhelmed with the Indian language they use there, and unlike the Crazy Rich Asians, ALL unfamiliar words were translated. However, it’s still my most anticipated contemporary read but I’m putting it off for now because I’m craving for some fantasy books which I don’t have much on my shelf.

Please let me know me down below in the comments if you’ve also read this book and your thoughts about it or if you’re participating in the Emojiathon as well! I’d love to hear from all you so do leave me some love! Thank you all for your time and for the support, I know I’m far off from the great reviewers out there, but I’m trying to give my best in discussing the books that I read. It might take some time before I get back to my old blogging style or for me to develop a new one, but I’ll get there. Until my next post, Cabbages!

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