Tuesday, March 6, 2018

[Review] The Radical Element (A Tyranny of Petticoats #2) Anthology

The Radical Element 

Edited by Jessica Spotswood
Series: A Tyranny of Petticoats #2
Rating: 3.5 stars

Release Date: March 13th 2018

Goodreads Synopsis: 
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.

This anthology was hella enjoyable. We got a whole century of badass, defiant, independent women from different backgrounds. Many of them I wish were expanded because they were so engaging! Time to review each one.

1. Daughter of the Book - Dahlia Adler
Insight an early Jewish community in Georgia in the late 18th century. Deborah's conflict between her community's ideas in how to practice vs. how she believed she could practice (as are the gender norms of the period) were really interesting to read.

2. You're a Stranger Here by Mackenzi Lee
Never really learned about the Mormon diaspora in history classes, and I always enjoyed Mackenzi Lee's takes on history (See: ). Her short story was okay; couldn't really feel one way or another towards Vilatte.

3. The Magician by Erin Bowman
Erin Bowman really writes great westerns. Ray's disguising as a guy + all the tricks she has to perform in order to survive the male-dominated steamboat workforce were captivating.

4. Lady Firebrand by Megan Shepherd
One of my favorites! Disabled M/C + African American M/C take on the dual role of saboteur against the Confederacy. Fun fun fun. Plus there was chemistry involved.

5. Step Right Up - Jessica Spotswood
Another favorite read from this piece. Explores dysfunctional/abuse family dynamic + sister bonds as well as the circus. Plus I loved Ruby's character - her spirit and her spunk (especially against Uncle Jack who sucked).

6. Glamour - Anna-Marie McLemore
Great thinkpiece on what lies behind Hollywood's flashy lights. It was a bit confusing in places, but it was a highlights the misrepresentation of Hollywood as a whole. And the magical realism aspect was pretty cool.

7. Better for All the World - Marieke Nijkamp
Female lawyers! Sexism abounds in this world. Glad Carrie found her voice, her passion for becoming a lawyer.

8. When the Moonlight Isn't Enough - Dhonielle Clayton
I read The Belles by Clayton and this has similar magical vibes. I loved it (also a fave). People living forever by drinking the moonlight?? Great concept, great characterization of stagnation and fear of wars and conflict.

9. The Belle of the Ball - Sarvenaz Tash
Aye my hometown. Since the later pieces are slowly bringing us closer to the modern era, I loved the integration of I Love Lucy and female comedy writers (which we always need more of!). Rosemary and her relationship with her mother was great to read about.

10. Land of the Sweet, Home of the Brave - Stacey Lee
I just. love. Lana's. sass. A favorite of mine!

11. The Birth of Susi Go-Go - Meg Medina
A relatable story - you can feel the conflicts of being of two worlds (the country you came from and the country you live in) from Susana. Speaks true to many immigrant family stories.

12. Take Me With You - Sara Farizan
Not really as engaging as the others - since the pacing felt a bit off, but it was still an okay read nonetheless.

On the whole, an empowering, engaging set of stories!

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