The Radical Element

I was kindly given this title from the publisher through Netgally in exchange for a review.

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 when 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 girls of all colors and creeds standing up for themselves and their beliefs.

Original stories by:

  • Dahlia Adler
  • Erin Bowman
  • Dhonielle Clayton
  • Sara Farizan
  • Mackenzi Lee
  • Stacey Lee
  • Anna-Marie McLemore
  • Meg Medina
  • Marieke Nijkamp
  • Megan Shepherd
  • Jessica Spotswood
  • Sarvenaz Tash

I’m determined to start reading more historical fiction and more books with feminist themes. This book fits into both those categories and is why I want to read historical fiction particularly ones inspired by real women. Many of these stories are inspired by real events and real women. There have been many wonderful radical women who helped pave the way for equality, you don’t get to hear about many of those ladies in history class. This book makes me want to make an effort to learn about them.

I hope this collection will provide an impetus for you to be the radical element in your own community, dreaming big, loving yourself fiercely, and writing the next chapter of history – Jessica Spotswood.

I’m fascinated by short stories I love how a whole and lovely story can get told in so little pages. All the stories are about different things and different girls but at there heart there all about the same thing, girls taking charge of their lives. Girls who stand up for what they believe in fight for the life they want, and in some cases learn to accept and love themselves. Most of the stories left me feeling inspired to continue to make my life into the one I’ve been dreaming of, they made me want to be the radical element in my own story.

My favorite story is definitely Better for All the World by Marieke Niikamp, it has an autistic #ownvoices protagonist who wants to be a lawyer. I was blown away by this story and now I must read Marieke’s books. I also greatly enjoyed Daughter of the Book by Dahilia Adller it’s about a jewish girl who rightly believes she deserves the same education as her brother.

Some of the stories didn’t impress but I enjoyed most of them and would give the majority of them a four star rating. Overall I’m in love with this book, with the lovely stories in contains, and the brave, inspiring and radical protagonists that are featured in each of them.

“Respect, and perhaps, one day, even love yourself. It’s the most radical decision you can make.” – Marieke Nijkamp


Books with female friendships shouldn’t be hard to find

Happy Galentines day! What’s Galentines day you ask

anigif_enhanced-buzz-13301-1422878212-6Galentines day is a fictional holiday from Parks and Recreation and it is one of the bestest holidays. It’s all about ladies celebrating ladies. In honor of this wonderful holiday I wanted to share some of my favorite books that feature strong female friendships. Sadly there are not many books that have well done female friendships all too often the friendship is pushed to the side in favor of romance. Female friendship and just friendship in general is so important. Platonic relationships can definitely be just as important as romantic ones, despite what popular media tends to convey. I would love to see more books where the romance takes a step back in favor of friendship, or better yet no romance at all.

The mean girl trope does at least seem to be going away, and there are more and more books coming out with good female friendships. However I still think we can do better, I could only think of two books that had a female friendship at the forefront of the story. When there is female friendship it often falls flat, the best friend is usually a one dimension character, who the main character forgets about when they start dating.

The Wrath and the Dawn, has a great female dynamic between Shazi and Despina but at its core it’s a romance. A good romance sure however, I want to make a list of books about female friendships, not books featuring it as a substory. I have been searching the internet for thirty minutes and I can only find a small list of YA books that fit what I’m looking for.

YA comics seem to be doing a little better I’ve only read a few of them and found three that feature it: Squirrel Girl, Paper Girls, and Ms Marvel. I strongly recommend them all. And if your interested in reading comics but aren’t sure where to start there each a good introduction.

The only two YA books I’ve read that are about female friendship are Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo and Truthwitch by Susan Denard. I was delighted to find that Warbringer is about two wonderful female protagonists whose relationship is at the center of the story. And there’s practically no romance! I know I’ve already mentioned Truthwitch a few times but I can’t seem to stop thinking about it. The dynamic between Safi and Isult in Truthwitch is one of my favorite things ever, it’s at the heart of the story. Their friendship might even be the thing that ends up saving the world.

Lucky for me the next Witchlanders novel, Sightwitch comes out today! It’s partly what inspired this post, I will be spending the day reading it. I also intend to look for some friendship focused books while I’m getting it at the bookstore. So definitely leave me some recommendations in the comments. And let me know your thoughts on female friendships in young adult lit. I’m thinking about also buying Moxie I have great things about it and it would definitely be a good book ti read on Galentines day.

Equality in fantasy 

Today I’m posting something that I have been thinking about for a while now, and that is equality in fantasy and how in fantasy worlds there is hardly ever equality. There  is normally some sort of sexism, it can be simply the way the world is,  have lots of well written female characters or sometimes it’s the authors fault. And the inequality is because of the distinct lack of female characters or bad portrayals of them, therefore the misogyny of the author themselves.

I know that you should separate the person from the work but when it’s offensive in anyway then I can’t separate it and I don’t think you should not when it tends to mean that it is what the author believes. Lets get back on track and get to why I think these typical words need to change.random-musings-2The majority of high fantasy has a medieval world I feel like a lot of fantasy’s use the society in their world, to justify having hardly any female characters. The society of fantasy worlds tend to not treat women well, to keep them from reaching their full potential, making their own choicest do basically anything but look pretty. Having a world like this is not an excuse to not have female characters, yet there so often make dominated. I’m not completely opposed to medieval inspired worlds sometimes the authors still do a good job at empowering women by having them fight the patriarchy, but there are plenty of times where the opposite occurs. If you’re going to create a world with inequality do it right you can’t just throw things in or use them as excuses not to be inclusive.random-musings-3 There should be more books that have worlds where all genders and races have equal rights. Obviously your world can’t be perfect there has to be conflict but the bad guys can give you enough conflict to keep things interesting. It would actually be super cool and unique to have a world where people were treated equally there would be so many opportunities for badass moments. You don’t have to mold your fantasy world after the Middle Ages or any time period, female characters don’t always have to wear pretty dresses and not have basic human rights. You can let girls be knights let them be blacksmiths let boys be seamstresses and make it be a normal thing in that world. I want to escape into a world where everyone has equal rights a world that has characters that defy every stereotypebirddivider-pg

Female Representation

All my life I’ve had to look for female characters my brothers have never and will never have to search for characters who look like them there are so many shows and movies that are dominated by white male characters.

I love Star Wars and superheroes when I was a little girl there weren’t any shows about female superheroes (sadly there still isn’t a female superhero movie) now there’s Suppergirl a great show that I wish had existed when I was little and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D has multiple strong woman kicking ass and there was Agent Carter which was amazing and I don’t think I’ll ever not be mad about it being cancelled.

When The Force Awakes came out and the main character was a female who was a pilot and a jedi who got to save herself it made me so emotional because to have a strong well written female heroine in a popular scifi franchise is so important. It makes me so happy to think about all the little girls who will dress up as Rey for Halloween who will get to grow up with this amazing inspiring female character.

Even though there’s been a lot of recent scyfi and fantasy movies that feature strong female characters there is still not enough and I think the problem is they don’t think they’ll succeed the villain of Iron man three was changed to a man because a girl villain wouldn’t sell toys and #wheresrey started trending when people realized that the main character wasn’t in any of the playsets she wasn’t even in the monopoly game they said that little boys didn’t want to play with a girl action figure there are two major things wrong with this statement. Number one why are you only making action figures for boys? Girls play with them too the second reason is that boy’s do want to play with a girl action figure it’s important for little boys to see females being represented it’s important for both girls and boys to see that women can do anything they want to do.

The reaction to female led movies is disgusting people are saying the all female Ghost Busters movie will be bad simply because it’s female led their saying feminists are pushing their agenda on them. A female led movie shouldn’t be seen as a statement it should be seen as a regular occurrence and the fact that it’s not just proves how much we need feminism.

The only thing I’ve found that’s female dominated is YA books it’s part of why I fell in love with reading it’s never been hard to find a female protagonist in YA they weren’t always well written but I didn’t have to look for them isn’t it sad that I was so desperate for representation that I didn’t even care if it was good. Now I’ve started looking for things that are good and diverse I started getting tired of reading about the same character over and over again. I’m tired of the girls who aren’t like other girls you shouldn’t have to create a mean girl character just to make your special snowflake look better. The media needs to stop pitting women against each other there is so little things with female friendships every teen book and movie has the mean girl who is mean for no reason I want to know why she’s mean give her more of a personality then just being mean give her a backstory.

Now I’ve begun to realize how messed up the portrel of women in the media is woman are often in movies just for eye candy their there to look pretty not to actually do something the film industry is so misogynistic. There are so few well written female characters I have to look hard to find them I shouldn’t have to do this I support every female led thing that comes out even if it’s not that good because I want to show people that things about women can be successful that people want so desperately to see things about women.

woman make up 50% of the population yet In 2015, females comprised 22% of protagonists, 34% of major characters, and only 33% of all speaking characters in the top 100 domestic grossing films and that was an historical high. The percentages of female characters of color were much worse, with Black female characters at 13% in 2015, Latina characters 4% in 2015 and Asian female characters went down (from 4% in 2014 to 3% in 2015) Female characters of color were less likely than White females to be major characters. 27% of Black, Latina, Asian, and females of other races/ethnicities were major characters, whereas 38% of White females were major characters. in 2014, only 28.1% of character in 100 films were female. Only 21 of those films featured a female lead or co-lead a of movies feature a female main character we are ridiculously underrepresented.