She’s Got Moxie: A YA novel where feminist zines take front and centre

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

Young adult fiction has picked up on social justice issues in the past couple years. Yet even though teenagers are again being introduced to zines as an outlet of rebellion, there has yet to be a rad YA book that includes the genre. Until now.

Enter Moxie by high school teacher and former zinester Jennifer Mathieu. Moxie is the fictional story of Vivian Carter, a 16-year-old who starts a zine that sparks a feminist revolution in her conservative southern high school. This is the book that crafty feminists (of any age) have been waiting for.

Vivian, though demure and rule-respecting, has always been fascinated with her mom’s riot grrrl past, which lives on in a keepsake box. But an anger inside Vivian is unleashed by the disgusting actions of boys in her high school (and the teachers that protect them). Vivian creates the zine Moxie (while blasting Bikini Kill, naturally) and anonymously drops them off in girls washrooms. Her first issue — and yes, they’re included in the book! — sparks a school-wide underground education on privilege, sexism and misogyny. And it gets better from there, as different girls take ownership of what Moxie represents, with their tag line “Moxie girls fight back!”

“I want teenagers, especially young women,” says Mathieu, “to walk away from reading Moxie knowing that life as a feminist is a joyful, wonderful way to live.” (Jessica Lewis)

Moxie is out September 19 via Roaring Brook Press.