The Radical Element // Twelve Stories About Badass Girls

Author: Twelve different authors
Genre: Historical //  YA
Series: A Tyranny of Petticoats #2
Goodreads rating: 3.77
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐

 

 

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.Disclaimer: I was given an ARC of this book by Netgalley and the publisher (thank you!) in return for an honest review

I HATE rating and reviewing anthologies – some of these stories were amazing and I would’ve loved to see them as an actual book, others not so much. So while some of these are solid four or even five star reads, I ended up rating it three stars. I’m happy that there’s diversity not just among the stories and their protagonists, but also among the writers themselves, which means we also have some own-voices stories. All of the women featured in this book are incredibly empowering and inspiring. Even if the short story they appeared in didn’t really capture me, they certainly did. I am disappointed that there were no f/f romances though, even though one of the protagonists liked girls.

💛 Daughter of the Book by Dahlia Adler ⭐⭐⭐ // This one tells the story of Rebecca Gratz, a woman who really existed and was an advocate for Jewish women and economic equality. Daughter of the Book shows her as a young girl with a thirst for knowledge of her religion, culture and history. I really liked how determined Rebecca was and how it focuses on how important Jewish women were. I do feel like it was more of a set up though, but it did make me really interested in finding out more about her!

”What do I say when they want to know how you could leave them behind?”
”Tell them I’m Jewish first.”

💛 You’re a Stranger Here by Mackenzi Lee ⭐⭐⭐ // My expectations were really high for this one, as I absolutely loved The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. This one fell a bit short for me, as I felt like not much really happened. I still ended up giving it three stars because I love Lee’s writing style and I really liked the message of it:

”Finding things that give you hope, and make you want to do good things for others. And if Joseph’s words do that” – she pats the Book of Commandments manuscript – ”then that seems fine to me. Seems like a thing that people could need.”

💛 The Magician by Erin Bowman ⭐⭐⭐⭐ // I didn’t expect to love this one as much as I did! Ray has a reputation as an unbeatable poker player and calls herself a ‘magician’ rather than a cheat. Pretending to be a boy so she could earn more money, she agrees on going on an expedition, which of course could mean having her secret exposed. Besides Ray being a badass, her relationship with Mrs. Lowry, the woman who took her in and raised her, was my favourite aspect of this story. Despite this relationship, she is still desperate to find her biological family and find out more about who she is. While I wasn’t blown away by Bowman’s writing in Vengeance Road, I absolutely loved it in The Magician.

She was tired of pretending, and here along the river, she was a mystery even to herself. She was a boy and she was a girl. She was motherless and she was someone’s child. She was a soul wanting to belong and a soul desperate to escape.

💛 Lady Firebrand by Megan Shepherd ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ // Two girls, one of which black, the other in a wheelchair, being spies against the South during the Civil War, blowing things up and fighting against slavery as a masked hero? Yes please. I would love to read more about these badass girls and their beautiful relationship.

Pauline and she, they were more than coconspirators. They were more than Lord Firebrand. They’d be there for each other in hard times and in good times, no matter the danger, always trusting in each other’s strong heart.

💛 Step Right Up by Jessica Spotswood ⭐⭐⭐ // Ruby wants nothing more than to escape her abusive uncle and become a part of the circus and their family. I would’ve loved to see more of her relationship with the people at the circus over the years, as that would’ve made the story a lot more heartwarming. Although her uncle treats her horribly and her mother turns a blind eye, Ruby does have a good relationship with her sister Pearl, which of course I loved because sisters!! While they loved each other, Pearl understood Ruby’s dream and supported her in any way she could.

”You looked after me the whole time we were growing up. It’s time for me to look after myself now.”

💛 Glamour by Anna-Marie McLemore ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ // This one too I need as a full book it was so beautifully written and magical and just dsjgh It made me super excited to read Wild Beauty wich I finally can now that I’m back home. Glamour follows Graciela who uses ‘glamour’ to make herself look white and works in Hollywood as Grace, and Sawyer, a disabled transgender boy. According to McLemore this story is her ‘wish to give Graciela, a daughter of Mexican-American farmers, and Sawyer, a transgender boy living with a disability, the space that history would have tried to deny them.’ And she definitely did. I just want more haha. The way it was written felt very real, and despite being a short story Graciela and Sawyer were very well-developed. Just,,, give me a full book please

She had told no one why she wanted to become Grace Moran: because the world left so little room for Graciela Morena

💛 Better For All The World by Marieke Nijkamp ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ // Oh my goodness this one was so good. I need to read more by Marieke Nijkamp, something I’ve wanted to do for quite some time now, but especially after reading this. Short stories often feel underdeveloped to me, but this one was truly perfect as a short story. It’s an own voices about an autistic girl, following the trial of Carrie Buck (who really existed), another autistic girl who’s fighting in court for her bodily autonomy as the state wants to sterilize her. It’s an incredibly powerful and important story.

”Carrie Buck is a girl like me. Despite everyone telling her that she didn’t matter, she came here to fight for her choices. She has the inalienable right to do so. But instead of recognising that, we assign vallue to her, to each other, to ourselves. We tell her she isn’t competend enough. She isn’t fit enough. She isn’t equal enough. Do you know what would be better for all the world? If instead of fighting to limit her rights – our constitutional rights, our fundamentally human rights – we fought to embrace them and strengthen them. If we limit equality, we can never be truly equal.”

💛 When the Moonlight Isn’t Enough by Dhonielle Clayton ⭐⭐ // This one was just a bit eh for me. The main character and her parents drink moonlight in order to stay immortal, but this was never really touched upon. It just left me with a lot of questions and I was bored. Nothing really stayed with me and I didn’t hightlight anything. It doesn’t help that it’s been a while since I read this either.

💛 The Belle of the Ball by Sarvenaz Tash ⭐⭐⭐ // This one was fun! The protagonist wants to be a comedy writer, which of course wasn’t easy for a woman back then. It was a fun and interesting read, but it just didn’t blow me away.

💛 Land of the Sweet, Home of the Brave by Stacey Lee ⭐⭐⭐ // I would’ve loved to have rated this higher, but it fell a bit short to me, as if not much happened. Lana wants to become the face of Miss Sugar Maiden, because ‘maybe it was time for a nonwhite on the box. Sugar Maiden’s product comes direct from Hawaii, born of the sweat of thousands of islanders – Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, Korean, and Filipinos – yet the girls on the boxes have always been as snowy as its contents.’ The story also focuses on the discrimination her parents as half-Japanese and Chinese faced and another important aspect is Lana’s love for her family, which keeps her going. It just left me with a ‘that’s it?’ feeling, which is why I ended up rating it three stars, but I really loved Lana and her story.

💛 The Birth of Susi Go-Go by Meg Medina ⭐⭐⭐ // As mentioned before, it’s been a while since I read this and well… I don’t really remember this one? It wasn’t badly written, but it wasn’t very memorable either. Susana’s grandparents are finally coming from Cuba to live with her and her parents, which she is very nervous about because she doesn’t remember them. I wish the story would’ve focused more on that and that we had seen her grandparents more.

💛 Take me With U by Sara Farizan ⭐⭐⭐.5 // This one was a lot of fun! Soheila has fled from the war in Iran to live with her uncle, aunt and little cousin, who is her only friend. Until she meets Mai that is. Mai introduces her to pop culture, especially music and eventually Soheila becomes a part of Mai’s band. I really liked how Mai became a big sister to Soheila, Soheila discovering American pop culture and the band aspect. Plus of course how Soheila (and Mai!) hung out with her little cousin. He was adorable.

During that set, I was free to be whoever I wanted to be. Not Apollonia, not Amir’s babysitter, not a self-conscious girl. I was bitchin’ and so was my band.

All in all this is a fun, inspiring and empowering anthology that I definitely recommend.Have you read The Radical Element? Or another cool anthology like this? Let me know in the comments!

The Monthly Hufflepuff March // SUPPORT LESBIAN JESUS’ NEW ALBUM

yeah so my title is basically just promoting Hayley Kiyoko and I have no regrets – besides I do talk about her album so???

Uhhh I’m going back home in less than two weeks??

I honestly can’t believe how fast these months have gone by! But I’m getting ahead of myself, I’ll talk about that more later on in this post

💛 More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer ⭐⭐⭐ An important read that deals with abuse, but a bit too heavy for me. I personally needed a bit more of a balance between lighter and heavier moments, but that may be because abuse is a topic very near to me.

💛 Head Over Heels (Geek Girl #5) by Holly Smale ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐My favourite of the month! Not that it had a lot of competition with all these three star reads haha, but still! That doesn’t make me love this one any less. Harriet has grown so much, which is very apparent in this book. It was just such a fun read, which I really needed. I love Harriet, her friends and especially her family so much, I’m so sad that I only have one book left!

💛 The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials #1) by Philip Pullman⭐⭐⭐So this took me over a month to read. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it at all, but it was just very, very slow for me. The edition I borrowed from the uni library has all three books, but honestly I don’t have the time or energy to try and get through the rest of the trilogy, which is really a shame as I was really excited to try this series. Maybe one day I’ll give it a try again.

💛 Lost Boy, Found Boy by Jenn Polish⭐⭐⭐ This one has SO MUCH potential! It’s a queer Peter Pan retelling: Peter is trans and in love with Mir, his Enbyfriend; Gwen (based on Wendy) is in love with Tinkerbell who’s an asexual lesbian computer interface, Hook is a bisexual cyborg and two of the Lost Boys are also pining for each other. Unfortunately this is really short and underdeveloped, leaving me with a lot of questions about both the world and the characters themselves. While I loved the diversity, the characters were very flat.

💛 Patsy Walker A.K.A. Hellcat! volume 1 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Below I just briefly mention the comics I’ve read that I’ve already talked about before and don’t really have anything to say about each month, but Patsy Walker is a new one, so I had to discuss it. Patsy Walker A.K.A. Hellcat has been on my tbr for quite some time now, but I didn’t get to it until now and boy do I wish I read it sooner! It’s such a fun read. Patsy A.K.A. the superhero Hellcat, decides to start a Temp Agency for superheroes and regular people with powers. It’s a great balance between slice of life and superhero, is very diverse and just really cute. If you love Squirrel Girl, I definitely recommend this one as it’s humour really reminded me of it.

💛 Nothing But Sky by Amy Trueblood  ⭐⭐⭐ – Definitely a case of ‘it’s not you it’s me’. I couldn’t really connect to the characters or the writing, though I did enjoy this one! There’s a lot of love about this one: a kickass girl who constantly challenges the patriarchy and is a wing walker, a love interest who deals with PTSD, a crew who supports each other no matter what and is more like family… I’m really sad I didn’t enjoy this one more!

💛 The Radical Element (A Tyranny of Petticoats #2) ⭐⭐⭐– Full review should be up sometime next week (I hope haha), but this was a lovely anthology of kickass girls. Some short stories were less good than others of course, which always happens, but overall I’d definitely recommend this one.

💛 Lady Mary by Lucy Worsley ⭐⭐⭐ – As I didn’t know anything about Queen Mary I going in, this was very interesting to read. It also shows us a different side of the affair between Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Everything I knew about that affair focused on the two main players, but I didn’t know anything about what Henry’s daughter Mary went through. The writing style was a bit too simple for me and I was bored at times, but all in all still an interesting read. Full review to come next week!

COMICS: Lumberjanes #47 // Lumberjanes #48 // Giant Days #36 // Ms. Marvel #28 // Runaways (2017) #7

Can you believe that I’m going home so soon already?? I can’t! I haven’t finished my last two essays yet, but I’m hoping to start writing the third one tomorrow as I’m mostly finished collecting all my information. I’m a bit worried having to balance writing my last two essays and the schoolwork of my new classes once I get back, but I’ll figure it out somehow.

My housemates have left for the Easter Break, except for one. He was actually gone at the start of the week – for almost three entire days I had the entire place for myself and no offense but it was so nice. Anxiety aside, while my housemates are friendly enough, they just don’t think of anyone but themselves. Two weeks ago they came back from going out or something in the middle of the night and were superloud.* Two of them decided to game, and after that watch football. They turned up the volume real loud and were yelling too, until about five in the morning. My anxiety is just too bad for me to go out and say anything, so I just,, had to suffer. Also I just wish they’d keep the kitchen clean? Like I can handle messy, but it’s just,, gross. I knowwww that that’s what a stereotypical students’ dorm looks like, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it! When they were all gone I cleaned the kitchen, because I thought no one would be able to make it dirty again. Until that evening when one of them came back. Next morning it was as if I had never cleaned it

* This is sadly not a rare occurance by the way my sleep here is,, not great

Thankfully my mom is coming soon, and she’s just,, ready to fight him lmao. If he turns up the music again in the middle of the night (like he did last night thanks mate) she’s just going to go the living room, say ‘excuse me’, pull out the plug and then if he says anything she’s just going to pretend to not speak English adsfbsgn*

* I don’t think I really make my pettiness known on this blog as it doesn’t really come up, but in real life I’m quite petty, especially when I’m with my best friend and like,, I definitely got it from my mom sdjdgf

Speaking of my mom!! I’ve been looking forward to her coming since,, pretty much ever since I got here lol. I’m really close to my mom, so even though I Facetime her multiple times a day I still really miss her, especially since I’ve never been away from home for this long. I can’t wait to show her around the city, see Hairspray and Love Simon!!

Friday evening I decided to treat myself after being so busy with my essays all week and go to shopping mall to (hopefully) buy Hayley Kiyoko’s Expectations. I also had to go to Boots because my hair dryer was broken, as in, smoke was coming out.

I could’ve gone sooner that week, but Expectations was coming out Friday so… I was a bit worried they might not have it since the HMV website said it was out of stock but…

So uhh yeah I haven’t been listening to anything else since Friday. I honestly can’t pick a favourite song? They’re all so good?? And all the songs sound so nice together?? It’s truly a masterpiece #supportlesbianjesuspls

Once I got a new hair dryer I decided to see if Claire’s had any new Doug the Pug plushies – I don’t remember if I mentioned it before, but I found out that Claire’s sold them a few weeks ago and immediately went to the one in the shopping center to see if they too had them and there were exactly two left!* So today I took a look to see if they had a different one and well…

This is the nineth plushie I bought while here in three months adfjbsh In my defense one of them is for my mom like I said and also LOOK AT HIM WEARING A DUCK OUTFIT HOW COULD I RESIST**

* My mom wanted one as well to turn into a keychain and hang it on her bag
** I’m turning 21 in a little over 2 months gsnbdhg

On my way out of the shopping center I saw an ad for Love Simon and then when I got off the bus I ran into a cat. Literally. We looked at each other and it ran towards me, wanting to be pet #bless

Also Keiynan Lonsdale released a new song called Kiss The Boy and not only is it SUCH a bop but it’s also so beautiful and boy he got me crying please listen to it

On Saturday I met up with my friend from the exchange students group and a friend of hers who I had met before when we went to see Black Panther, because they’re both going home today. It was a fun day and a much deserved break from my essays haha. In the evening we met up again to eat together.

💛 I created a new writing tag called ‘Your WIP in Gifs Tag’
💛 I reviewed More Than We Can Tell, an important story about abuse
💛 I wrapped up February and talked about meeting a blogger friend, cats, Chinese New Year, Black Panther and other stuff
💛 I reviewed Lost Boy, Found Boy, a futuristic Neverland where no one is straight
💛 I shared another monthly mixtape, this time with the theme ‘petrichor’: a pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather
💛 I reviewed Nothing But Sky, a historical story about a kickass girl wing walker, though it fell a bit short for me

So I usually reserve these for Weekly Hufflepuffs, but who knows when I’ll have the time for one of those!

💛 Sarah @ Written Word World talks about the downsides of ARCs (= Actually Reviewers Crying)
💛 Fadwa @ Word Wonders reviews The Summer of Jordi Perez, a cute f/f romance with fat rep, though she also warns about the erasure of multi-gendered attraction
💛 Analee @ Book Snacks has some important questions about American high school in YA fiction
💛 She also talks about the pressure of writing #ownvoices reviews
💛 Elise @ thebookishactress talks about the #BuryYourGays trope
💛 Kat @ Life and Other Disasters talks about Netflix’ On My Block, which is an amazing show that you HAVE to watch so read her post to find out why
💛 Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books went to Paris, where she went to her first book fair and met some amazing authors
💛 She also wonders if book blogging is still relevant
💛 Lu @ It’s Lu Again did the Rising Author tag and talks about her writing
💛 She also talks about why better body image and other rep in books will help you love yourself
💛 Holly @ Nut Free Nerd talks about some London bookshops
💛 And she wonders if celebrities have corrupted the feminist movement
💛 Vivian @ Writing With Style rates writing tools
💛 May @ Forever and Everly also did the Rising Author tag in which she talks about her writing
💛 Hannah @ Mortal Reader talks about anxiety and toxic friendships
💛 Bridget @ Bridget and Books gives the in’s and out’s of self-hosted blogging
💛 Melissa @ Bookish Wandered did the Your WIP in Gifs tag
💛 And so did Kat @ Life and Other Disasters

Have you been listening to Hayley Kiyoko’s new album? Or Keiynan Lonsdale new song? Do you have a plushie obsession? What have you been reading? How was your month? Let me know in the comments!