*Disclaimer: There may be some spoilers in the following review, READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED*
Vivian [Viv] Carter is a junior at East Rockport Highschool, located in a small town in Texas, where the football team reigns supreme and act as though the rules don’t apply to them. With the football team yelling “Go make me a sandwich!” during class when a female student would answer a question (with little to no consequence), to the dress code aimed mainly at female students, Viv has had enough. Inspired by her mom’s days as a part of Riot Grrrl, Viv starts up the “‘zine” Moxie as a way to encourage the female students at East Rockport to fight back.
I think the plot of the story is interesting, and it’s nice to read a story where the student body takes issues into their own hands, especially when it seems like school authorities (mainly the principal and vice principals) aren’t doing what they can to make the school a positive learning environment for ALL of their students.
The plot of the story revolves around the incidents at East Rockport High School that cause Viv to use Moxie as a way to fight against them. The first couple of incidents that spark the creation of Moxie are football players yelling at girls to make them a sandwich in the middle of class, with no repercussions from their teacher and during the first pep rally of the year, the star football player wears an inappropriate shirt, with once again, no repercussions from the teachers. After becoming fed up with this behavior, Viv takes matters into her own hands and starts Moxie, which she distributes throughout the school in secret to protect her identity. The rest of the story follows a similar structure, going through the same back and forth a few more times (and the situations escalating in severity) until the very end of the story, where there is a major event that brings the student body together, and results in some real change in the school.
Overall, I can understand why there might be some inability to read through a novel like this and believe that there are school administration that would do this. I was lucky enough to have had some great teachers in school, as well as some not so great teachers, but definitely nothing to this level. However, I have heard horror stories from my friends and acquantinces about teachers who, in all honesty, really shouldn’t be teachers. Just because I had a mostly positive school experience regarding my teachers, doesn’t mean that everybody does. This would be my main point of contention with the plot, but once again, just because it hasn’t happened to me, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen.
I think Viv as a character was a good choice to have narrate the story, as she is the quiet shy kid that no one would suspect would start such a movement. It may sound kind of cheesy to some people, but as someone who can identify as being similar to Viv when I was in high school, I wish that I had the guts to speak up about what I believe in, especially when I was in high school.
All the other characters in Moxie seemed to be developed enuogh to help carry the story along, for the most part. The only character I wish was more developed is Viv’s mom’s boyfriend, John. Viv talks about how much she doesn’t like him, and that he’s a terrible fit for her mother. She talks about how much her mom has changed, and how Viv would never expect her mom to date someone conservative like John. I wish that there had been a moment between John and Viv where they could begin reconciling and building up a relationship, as that could have been an interesting character arc in the novel. There were points where I almost just wanted Viv’s mom to break up with John, because I felt like he was kind of a passive character in the novel that didn’t bring much to the story for me.
The writing style in Moxie is very reflective of the story being told in the voice of a sixteen year old. In other words, the writing wasn’t too over the top, and because of that, the story flowed very nicely. One aspect I really like is how Jennifer Mathieu includes inserts of the ‘zines and the Moxie posters. Including a sample of what the zine would look like added to the atmosphere of the story.
Moxie is an entertaining read that also tackles important issues within the feminist movement such as the racial disparity within it, and the importance of having a movement that is inclusive. Feminism is meant to support ALL women, no matter who they are or what they look like. There are also links and resources provided at the end of the book if you want to research feminism more, learn more about Riot Grrrl, or even if you want to be a apart of the Moxie movement, there’s a link for that! (https://moxiegirlsfightback.com/… just in case you were interested).
To be honest, I loved reading the story, and don’t have too much else to say about it, besides the fact that YOU SHOULD READ IT. 😂
Anyways, I give this story 5/5 stars overall.
Thank you, and have a nice weekend!