Publisher: Candlewick Press

Friday, March 09, 2018

The Intersectional Feminist Anthology We Need: The Radical Element edited by Jessica Spotswood

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I received this book for free from Candlewick Press in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Intersectional Feminist Anthology We Need: The Radical Element edited by Jessica SpotswoodThe Radical Element by Jessica Spotswood
Published by Candlewick Press on March 13th, 2018
Genres: Anthology, Historical, YA
Source: Candlewick Press
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In an anthology of revolution and resistance, a sisterhood of YA writers shines a light on a century and a half of heroines on the margins and in the intersections.

To respect yourself, to love yourself—should not have to be a radical decision. And yet it remains as challenging for an American girl to make today as it was in 1927 on the steps of the Supreme Court. It's a decision that must be faced whether you're balancing on the tightrope of neurodivergence, finding your way as a second-generation immigrant, or facing down American racism even while loving America. And it's the only decision when you've weighed society's expectations and found them wanting. In The Radical Element, twelve of the most talented writers working in young adult literature today tell the stories of the girls of all colors and creeds standing up for themselves and their beliefs—whether that means secretly learning Hebrew in early Savannah, using the family magic to pass as white in 1920s Hollywood, or singing in a feminist punk band in 1980s Boston. And they're asking you to join them.

There was once a time when while reviewing an anthology, I would review every single story within it. I don’t do that anymore because 1. I am lazy but 2. I don’t think anyone really wants to read a review of EVERY SINGLE short story in an anthology because thats a lot to read and most people will pick an anthology up even if it has a couple mediocre short stories. Also, like, I do want to say I am definitely appreciative of the people who do review every single story and you guys are great. ANYWAY. The Radical Element is chockfull of some of the best YA writers right now and it ups the ante from A Tyranny of Petticoats. Tyranny certainly won my heart in 2016 but we still needed a lot more intersectional stories and that’s what we got in 2018.

The first couple stories didn’t really blow me away though. They had strong character arcs but almost no plot whatsoever and if you know anything about me, you know I am a plot gal. I love my characters and //want// a good character arc but if there is no plot, I am not gonna be a v. happy gal.

Fortunately, a lot of the other stories did have plot arcs and gave me exactly what I wanted. Good characters, a good story and some good times.

Top 3 Stories

Glamour by Anna-Marie McLemore

I’ve only attempted to read one book by McLemore (which didn’t work out because of issues with pacing) but I NEED MORE OKAY? This short totally blew me away

When The Moonlight Wasn’t Enough by Dhonielle Clayton

This story explores the very real question of how to be patriotic in a country that hates you. It’s incredibly well written and has a dash of magic. Honestly, Glamour may be my favorite story but I think When the Moonlight Wasn’t Enough may be the most powerful one within this anthology and really important in this decade.

Take Me With You by Sara Farizan

Truly just a story of friendship and finding yourself in a true place. Honestly, I actually really want a full length novel with these characters. There is a larger story to be told here.



4 Hot Espressos

A Tyranny of Petticoats edited by Jessica Spotswood

Posted by on 03/30/2016 • 5 Comments

I don’t usually read anthologies and I find it even harder to review them because there are so many stories and so many different feelings about the stories.

But, A Tyranny of Petticoats did say it was about badass girls and who doesn’t want to read stories about badass girls? If you don’t you have come to the wrong place so toodooloo. It was nice knowing you.

So, I read the stories. I didn’t love all of them yet here I am, reviewing the anthology as a whole. The thing is, whether or not I loved every single story is beside the point. What makes this anthology special is the diversity in it. I think historical fiction has a tendency to privilege white voices over other voices just because that is…

Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Posted by on 07/02/2014 • 31 Comments

Why do I read these books? Wait, why do I love them? DO I LIKE PAIN!?!?

Before this book even began, with just the author’s note, I was already emotional to learn of the passing of Siobhan Dowd that inspired this novel. I’m so happy that Ness wrote it, and that it became such a well loved book. What a wonderful way to commemorate someone’s life work.

A Monster Calls is a masterpiece in itself, with its terribly poignant account of a young boy learning to deal with his mother’s battle with cancer. Being a mother myself, this is one of my worst fears – to leave my child motherless, filled with grief and pain and confusion. With that said, I truly and deeply connected with this story, with…