Excellent Eco-Thrillers (Part 1)

I first discovered the eco-thriller genre – action-packed books focusing on environmental threats – through The Swarm by Frank Schatzing. It’s a somewhat intimidating book because of its length, but extremely well done in action, characterization, and scientific explanation. Ocean creatures begin unexpectedly attacking humans, and it’s up to a diverse set of scientists and environmentalists to figure out what’s causing it and how to stop it. The answer to the puzzle is both bone-chillingly deadly and incredibly beautiful. If you’ve ever felt worried about just how deep the oceans are and how little we know about them, this book will fascinate (and maybe terrify) you.

Inspired by how much I enjoyed The Swarm, I started a quest to read more eco thrillers and see how they compare. Here are my first two contenders and how they measure up.

First: Zoo by James Patterson. This book was made into a TV series a few years ago, though the series only loosely follows the plot of the book. In the book, we follow almost-scientist full-time conspiracy theorist Jackson Oz as he struggles to understand and raise awareness of the rash of animal attacks spreading across the world. He’s aided by beautiful French scientist Chloe along with a host of military and government figures. The picture of humanity’s future that this book paints is chillingly real, to say the least, though honestly the characters are such standard action-movie stock as to be disappointing. In my opinion, it doesn’t measure up to the complex mosiac of The Swarm.

Second: Eden by Tim Lebbon. In this book, Dylan, his daughter Jenn, and their team are escaping the polluted, climate-change-wracked world by an adventurous race across one of ‘The Virgin Zones’: protected swaths of land where no humans are allowed to live or visit. They’re attempting to be the first to cross Eden, the oldest Virgin Zone which has swallowed up many would-be adventurers. Once inside, their adventure turns frightening as the jungle turns against them, a malicious force which might be responsible for the disappearance of Jenn’s mother… This book is very good at building suspense and a sense of horror, getting more gory toward the end as the climax is reached. I wasn’t as convinced by the Nature Personified element or the resolution, but the characters and action are well-drawn. It almost measures up to the Swarm, but not quite.

The one thing all three had in common is a sobering message of warning for humanity: if we abuse our planet and its resources past a certain point, there will be consequences that we’re most likely not prepared for. The realism of that message makes these books heavy material to consider, but moving, important, and thought-provoking. This is a fascinating genre to explore, so stay tuned for a possible part 2!

This is My America by Kim Johnson

My latest read is a dive into racial injustices in the American justice system, albeit a fictionalized account. Kim Johnson has written a young adult novel examining mass incarceration and the affect it has on families. This is My America is a necessary read from the perspective of the families of those incarcerated.

Tracy Beaumont is seventeen. Her father is on death row. He only has 267 days left. He has been on death row for seven years and Tracy is angry. Every week, and sometimes every day, Tracy writes letters to Innocence X. She is hopeful that the organization will be able to help get her father off death row and discover who really committed the crime for which he was sent to prison. Tracy is growing increasingly desperate, willing to do whatever it takes to get Innocence X’s attention, so when her older brother Jamal and their whole family is invited for a television interview showcasing his athletic talents, Tracy has to decide if she will potentially ruin his opportunity by talking about her father’s plight.

Tracy doesn’t know what to do. Just when she thinks things can’t get worse, the unthinkable happens. Police swarm their house in the middle of the night and fighting off flashbacks to the night when her dad was arrested, Tracy and her mom discover that they are there to arrest her brother. In an instant, Jamal switches from a promising young track star with college plans to a thug accused of killing a white girl. Jamal is on the run. Tracy and her family find themselves living in a nightmare. Working hard to free her father and figuring out what actually happened the night of Jamal’s alleged crime, Tracy soon discovers who she can actually trust. As she starts investigating what happened between Jamal and the murdered woman, Angela, down at the Pike, Tracy uncovers a dark racist history in the town that may relate to what happened that night. By proving her brother’s innocence, Tracy may inadvertently destroy her relationships with the people in her life.

This book is also available in the following formats:

Long Bright River by Liz Moore

Liz Moore’s newest book, Long Bright River, is a dive into drug addiction and the impact it has on families across generations. Alternating back and forth the present and past, Moore tells the moving story of two sisters and the additions that define their lives and relationships.

Mickey and Kacey are sisters. Living in Philadelphia, the two travel the same streets on a daily basis, but they live vastly different lives. Growing up in a Philadelphia neighborhood that saw the opioid crisis destroy their family and the community around them, Mickey and Kacey have changed immensely since their childhood days. As children, the two were inseparable, sharing a bed in their grandmother’s house and struggling to survive in a world without their parents. Kacey always stuck up for Mickey, keeping her safe and taking her side. Mickey, the older sister, kept an eye out for Kacey, making sure that she was where she needed to be.

Mickey is a police officer. Kacey lives on the streets, struggling with addiction. They haven’t spoken in years, yet Mickey keeps an eye out for Kacey as she drives through the area. Mickey never stops worrying about her sister, hoping she will eventually get, and stay, sober.

One day, Mickey realizes that she hasn’t seen Kacey in a while. She has disappeared. Mickey starts asking around and people are hesitant to say anything about her whereabouts. The same time that Kacey disappeared, a string of murders starts in Mickey’s district. This extra stress leads Mickey to take the law in her own hands. She will do anything to find the person responsible for the murders, and hopefully her sister, before her world comes crashing down.

This book is also available in the following formats:

Anyone Can Crochet!

Here’s something you might not know about me: I know how to crochet! I’m not the most skilled or professional by any means, but I like making something concrete with my hands, especially to give as a gift. If you always wanted to learn to crochet but just can’t get the hang of it, here are some resources you might try to get started.

First, get a handle on the basics with Complete Crochet Course : the Ultimate Reference Guide by Shannon and Jason Mullett-Bowlsby. This reference work has something to offer all skill levels, and has lots of step-by-step photography to give a full visual experience. You could also take a chic approach with Modern Crochet: Patterns and Designs for the Minimalist Maker by Teresa Carter.

  Now, I don’t know about you, but slogging through a long scarf or a giant afghan is not always the way I want to craft. If you’d like to follow my path into the crochet world, you might like Amigurume Eats : Make Cute Scented Crochet Foods by Allison Hoffman. Amigurumi is a Japanese-inspired style of crochet which creates miniature crochet dolls, food items, animals, and much more, all with a very cute aesthetic. You can also add some whimsy to your projects with Creative Crochet Projects by Stephanie Pokorny. This newer title offers projects of gradually increasing difficulty and a lot of playfulness, from hats and scarves to toys and more!

 If you’re hoping crochet will help you relax and be present, you might like Making with Meaning by Jessica Carey. This title focuses on intention, making time for crafting, and letting repeating stitches create a mindful and free practice.

There are many more avenues to explore in the world of crocheting, including making various clothing items for a stylish crafted wardrobe, so don’t be afraid to keep exploring!

Best Sellers Club June Authors – Michael Connelly & Robyn Carr

Want the hottest new release from your favorite author? Want to stay current with a celebrity book club? Love nonfiction? You should join the Best Sellers Club. Choose any author, celebrity pick, and/or nonfiction pick and the Davenport Public Library will put the latest title on hold for you automatically. Select as many as you want! If you still have questions, please check out our list of FAQs.

New month means new highlighted authors from the Best Sellers Club! June’s authors are Michael Connelly for fiction and Robyn Carr for romance.

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Our June fiction pick is Michael Connelly. Connelly is the internationally bestselling author of the Harry Bosch thriller series. That series has been made into a television series called Bosch,  which can be found streaming on Amazon Prime Video. A former police reporter for the Los Angeles Times, Connelly once had a magazine story short-listed for the Pulitzer Prize. He has written over thirty-six novels as well as one nonfiction title. There are over eighty million copies of his books worldwide that have been translated into forty languages.

Connelly’s latest book is The Law of Innocence, the sixth book in the Lincoln Lawyer series and 24th in the Harry Bosch universe. This book was published on November 10, 2021.

Curious what this book is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher:

Defense attorney Mickey Haller is pulled over by police, who find the body of a client in the trunk of his Lincoln. Haller is charged with murder and can’t make the exorbitant $5 million bail slapped on him by a vindictive judge.

Mickey elects to defend himself and must strategize and build his defense from his jail cell in the Twin Towers Correctional Center in downtown Los Angeles, all the while looking over his shoulder–as an officer of the court he is an instant target.

Mickey knows he’s been framed. Now, with the help of his trusted team, he has to figure out who has plotted to destroy his life and why. Then he has to go before a judge and jury and prove his innocence.

This book is also available in the following formats:

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Our June romance pick is Robyn Carr. With 11 of her novels reaching #1 on the New York Times bestselling books list, Robyn Carr has become one of the most popular authors of women’s fiction and romance. Her books have sold over 27 million copies and have also been translated into nineteen languages in thirty countries. In 2016, the Romance Writers of America awarded Robyn the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award. Carr’s current writing plans involve writing one stand-alone women’s fiction and one contemporary romance per year.

Carr is best known for her Virgin River novel series, which has been made into a popular Netflix series. Season 3 is set to premiere on July 9, 2021.

Carr’s latest book is Return to Virgin River, the 21st book in the Virgin River series. This book was published on October 13, 2020.

Curious what this book is about? Below is a description provided by the publisher.

#1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr returns to the beloved town of Virgin River with a brand-new story about fresh starts, new friends and the magic of Christmas.

Kaylee Sloan’s home in Southern California is full of wonderful memories of the woman who raised her. But the memories are prolonging her grief over her mother’s recent death. A successful author, Kaylee hoped she could pour herself into her work. Instead she has terrible writer’s block and a looming deadline.

Determined to escape distractions and avoid the holiday season, Kaylee borrows a cabin in Virgin River. She knows the isolation will help her writing, and as she drives north through the mountains and the majestic redwoods, she immediately feels inspired. Until she arrives at a building that has just gone up in flames. Devastated, she heads to Jack’s Bar to plan her next steps. The local watering hole is the heart of the town, and once she crosses the threshold, she’s surprised to be embraced by people who are more than willing to help a friend—or a stranger—in need.

Kaylee’s world is expanding in ways she never dreamed possible. And when she rescues a kitten followed by a dog with a litter of puppies, she finds her heart opening up to the animals who need her. And then there’s the dog trainer who knows exactly how to help her. As the holidays approach, Kaylee’s dread turns to wonder. Because there’s no better place to spend Christmas than Virgin River.

This book is also available in the following formats:

Nutrition & Wellness Titles

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, one aspiring ambition I’ve had is to become a healthier person, both physically and mentally. One aspect of this ambition has been learning more about nutrition and how to eat healthier. With this in mind, I would like to share and recommend a few books I have recently read about food and nutrition, as well as highlight some similar titles in our library collection.

How to Eat: All Your Food and Diet Questions Answered by Mark Bittman & David L. Katz (2020)

Written in a Q&A format, this book essentially reads as a conversation between renowned food writer Mark Bittman and physician and health expert David L. Katz as they answer a myriad of health questions pertaining to food and nutrition. A sampling of these questions include the following:

  • Why do I crave salty foods?
  • Which is better, diet soda or the real thing?
  • Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day?
  • What is the microbiome?

This title is primarily broken down into sections detailing specific diets, such as the Mediterranean, Paleo, Keto, and Whole30 diets; dietary patterns and lifestyle; foods and ingredients; and basics about nutrition. While it was interesting to learn about several popular diets, one key takeaway for me was simply how they defined “diets” themselves: a lifestyle, or a dietary pattern that can be maintained in the long term. I admit, whenever I think of “dieting,” I think of a food regimen to engage in for a limited period of time to achieve a certain result before reverting back to “normal” eating habits, so this definition definitely provided a helpful perspective.

In addition to detailed information about diets and dietary patterns, Bittman and Katz also dive into information about several types of foods, as well as how their nutrients affect your body and overall health. An enlightening aspect of these sections for me was the authors’ framework of considering the “forest for the trees” when thinking about the impact of eating any given food, or acknowledging the food as a whole rather than obsessing over each and every nutrient within it. I personally tend to get stuck in the weeds when reading nutrition labels and, while it is still important to know what exactly is in your food, Bittman and Katz emphasize appreciating the overall benefits of the whole food as you work to improve your diet.

While I found that a little bit of background knowledge was needed at times during this read, I learned so much from this book and essentially read it in one sitting. I would highly recommend this for anyone looking to dip their toes into information about general food and nutrition.

How to Be a Conscious Eater: Making Food Choices That Are Good for You, Others, and the Planet by Sophie Egan (2020)

Filled with a plethora of information and interspersed with colorful graphics and images, this title considers ways in which we can make more conscious food choices in our lives. Sophie Egan, a renowned food and health journalist, as well as the former Director of Health and Sustainability Leadership at The Culinary Institute of America, contends there are three questions we should ask ourselves when making decisions about food:

  • Is it good for you?
  • Is it good for others?
  • Is it good for the planet?

These questions are asked throughout the entire book as Egan dives into four main areas of “stuff” to consider: stuff that comes from the ground, stuff that comes from animals, stuff that comes from factories, and stuff made in restaurant kitchens. Within each of these sections are several short, accessible chapters designed to help readers consciously make healthier choices, especially for the next time you go to the grocery store.

One aspect of this title separating it from the others in this post is Egan’s deep dive into the background, context, and processing of food. While this isn’t the first time I have tried to consciously eat healthier in my life, this is admittedly the first time I have truly stopped to consider the process of how the food on my plate gets there. These considerations span from water and carbon footprints; to animal, environmental, and social welfare; to the larger impact current practices have on our planet, especially those contributing to global warming. Not only was I enlightened by this knowledge, but also disheartened and disturbed by the ways in which the food industry works.

Overall, this is a solid read if you are looking for not only ways to eat healthier, but also to learn more about the bigger picture when it comes to food practices. I would also recommend this to anyone interested in the overall intersection of food, health, and climate in today’s world.

How to Be Well: The 6 Keys to a Happy and Healthy Life by Frank Lipman (2018)

While this title also includes information about nutrition and how to adopt healthier dietary patterns, bestselling author and doctor Frank Lipman takes a more holistic approach to wellness in general, encouraging the consideration of six “rings” to achieve a happier and healthier life: how to eat, sleep, move, protect, unwind, and connect. This approach, termed by Lipman as the Good Medicine Mandala, essentially puts you at the center of these rings and considers how changes made in each of these rings can, in turn, create healthier changes in other areas of your life. Divided into six primary sections devoted to these topics, Lipman presents practical ways in which we can improve the ways we eat, sleep, move, protect, unwind, and connect with easy-to-digest scientific background information.

While this book may not be as comprehensive on nutritional topics as the former two titles, it isn’t really meant to be; I would argue this is a major perk of the book! By engaging in the six different rings, Lipman introduces a diverse spectrum of topics beyond just nutrition, ultimately giving readers multifaceted options to improve their overall health. (On this note, it is important to mention that readers do not need to read this book all the way through or in order to benefit from its content.) There is also a really neat shorthand section at the end of the book noting and cross-referencing content in the text about what you can do to help yourself in certain scenarios, such as when you are frequently overwhelmed and anxious, always tired, or want to lose weight.

One overarching takeaway from this book for me was considering Lipman’s multiple metaphors for how the rings essentially work together to create healthy change. He illustrates the integration of the rings in three ways: (1) as an archery target, in which you practice your aim and allow your arrows to touch the rings you most wish to improve upon; (2) as the rings of a tree trunk, in which the rings form and evolve as it grows; and (3) as a ripple on a pond that spreads from a single pebble, in which one change you make will impact all of the other aspects of your life in a healthy way. In all of these scenarios, Lipman depicts how one small change today can lead to larger and more significant changes for your life tomorrow. So what better time to start getting healthy than today?

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a more holistic way to tackle wellness (rather than exclusively focusing on nutrition), or for anyone who is looking for a blueprint of small actions to engage in to start their journey to wellness.

Read-Alikes available at the Davenport Public Library

If you enjoy any or all of these titles, here are some other similar reads in our collection that may interest you!

Animal, Vegetable, Junk: A History of Food from Sustainable to Suicidal by Mark Bittman (2021)

Food: What the Heck Should I Eat? by Mark Hyman (2018)

Food Fix: How to Save Our Health, Our Economy, Our Communities, and Our Planet – One Bite at a Time by Mark Hyman (2020)

Genius Foods: Become Smarter, Happier, and More Productive While Protecting Your Brain for Life by Max Lugavere (2018)

How We Eat With Our Eyes and Think With Our Stomach: The Hidden Influences that Shape Your Eating Habits by Melanie Muhl & Diana Von Kopp (2017)

Infused: Adventures in Tea by Henrietta Lovell

According to a few online sources I found, June is National Iced Tea Month in the United States (International Tea Day is April 21). In honor of this observance, I’d like to tell you about a nonfiction book I read recently which is (somewhat) related– Infused: Adventures in Tea by Henrietta Lovell.

Published in 2019, Infused is Lovell’s memoir / travel diary about the global tea industry, highlighting all the places, people, and methods which help to create the amazing teas we (or I, anyway) drink every day. Lovell, also known as “The Rare Tea Lady”, includes recipes and photography to help capture the wonder of tea growing, processing, and of course tea drinking. She starts with her early journeys into China, mixed with meditations on why tea is so meaningful in her everyday life, and also mentions tidbits of tea’s history as a global product. Gradually she traces her growth into The Tea Lady, taking the reader on breathtaking journeys into the hidden places we’ve probably never been in countries like China, Russia, and even the UK.

I’m not a connoisseur by any means, with only a vague sense of ‘that tastes good’ (or not), but I found this book compelling for the care and detail that Lovell put into it. It’s fascinating to meet individual growers and chefs that make the creation of tea their life’s work, especially those that are carrying on deeply rooted local traditions. Lovell also makes a good case for choosing quality, loose-leaf tea over industrially-produced string-and-bag products, though of course the transition is easier said than done (and she can come across as snobbish on this point). Moreover, the writing style is readable, engaging, and thorough, with a restful, poetic level of description. The author’s love for tea and a strong sense of wonder shine through on every page.

For better or worse, I probably won’t change my tea habits too much going forward, but I definitely came away feeling enriched. Tea lovers, history buffs, travel enthusiasts, and devotees of whole, natural food products should try this book.

J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography by Humphrey Carpenter

“One writes such a story not out of the leaves of trees still to be observed, nor by means of botany and soil-science; but it grows like a seed in the dark out of the leaf-mould of the mind: out of all that has been seen or thought or read, that has long ago been forgotten, descending into the deeps.”

If you are ever looking for a biography on an absolutely fascinating person, look no further than J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography by Humphrey Carpenter. After re-reading The Hobbit with intentions of reading The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) for the first time, I decided to read up a bit on the author himself before embarking on the journey. This book provides an extremely detailed and comprehensive insight into the life of one of the most well-known and renowned authors of our time and is the official authorized biography of Tolkien by the Tolkien Society. This authorization stems from Carpenter having unfettered access to Tolkien’s personal papers and letters, as well as permission to interview family members and close friends.

Beginning with the meeting of his parents in England and concluding with his death in 1973, this biography seemingly details every moment in between of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien’s life with acute clarity. Completely unbeknownst to me, Tolkien was born in South Africa and lived there for five years before moving with his mother, Mabel, and younger brother, Hilary, to Birmingham, England. Shortly thereafter, tragedy and poverty struck the family upon the death of his father (who was still working in South Africa as a bank clerk). Despite this, Mabel did all she could to ensure an education for both of her sons at King Edward’s School. Tragedy struck again, however, when she passed away just nine years after moving back to England. Orphaned at just twelve years old, Tolkien and his younger brother were placed under the guardianship of Father Morgan, a close family friend and local Catholic priest. Under his guidance, aid, and mentorship, Tolkien was able to complete his schooling at King Edward’s School before eventually continuing his education at the University of Oxford.

One of the most fascinating parts of this book for me was learning how LOTR came to be. It was such an unmeditated, disorderly, and delayed process, yet that is where the real genius and magic resided. Tolkien had no clear outline of his saga while writing it, let alone any idea that this was to be his masterpiece and legacy. It all began with his love of language. As a young boy, Tolkien was fascinated by the mechanics and workings of words, eventually coming to learn an astounding variety of both ancient and modern languages, including Welsh, Finnish, and Gothic. In fact, he loved languages so much he actually began creating his own – he even wrote journals in languages he invented! After creating these languages, Tolkien felt he had a responsibility to “discover” the history behind them; this history would ultimately become the foundation of an entire mythology (eventually captured in The Silmarillion) and, unbeknownst to Tolkien, the foundation for The Hobbit and LOTR. 

While there is SO much more I could talk about, I have condensed some more interesting tidbits about Tolkien and LOTR in the fun facts below!

  • Tolkien was known for his procrastination on projects; this was in large part due to his perfectionist attitude toward his own work. After reading about his lengthy process of writing and publishing LOTR, it is a miracle anything was ever published at all!
  • LOTR is NOT a trilogy – nor did Tolkien ever want it to be. It was broken into three volumes (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King) primarily due to the cost of paper at the time and worries that such a long manuscript would not garner enough sales to be worthwhile.
  • Tolkien was NOT a fan of allegory. He specifically noted his works were not meant to be interpreted in the political context of the time in which they were written; he felt that allegories ultimately limited the reader’s imagination. With that being said, he did admit to the resemblances between his work and his own life experiences – he even acknowledged his close likeness to Bilbo Baggins!
  • Tolkien was an Assistant Lexicographer on the Oxford English Dictionary.
  • Despite knowing Edith Bratt (his future wife) as a teenager, Tolkien was forbidden to spend time with her due to her being three years his senior.
  • One of Tolkien’s most prized works, Beren and Lúthien, was inspired by his love for Edith; these names are even inscribed on their tombstones.

From his early childhood and love story with Edith, to his time serving in WWI and developing dear friendships among fellow intellectuals (including C.S. Lewis), to becoming the father of four and holding several professorships, to creating Middle-Earth and experiencing fame as an author, this biography marks the loves, joys, tragedies, struggles, accomplishments, setbacks, fame, and daily life of the man who would go on to publish the masterpieces we know today, along with a plethora of scholarly work, poems, and short stories. Overall, I would highly recommend this biography to anyone who wants to learn more about Tolkien’s life, as well as those who are general LOTR fans!

*I would also highly recommend checking out https://www.tolkiensociety.org/ for even more information on all things Tolkien!*

Key Changes: New Country Mega Albums

In previous blog posts, we’ve talked about how being in isolation during the coronavirus pandemic has caused many artists to make unique new music and innovative albums. This time around, it’s the Country Music Edition, featuring two artists who have created double and triple albums of their best work in the past year. Don’t miss these exciting large-scale projects from big names and hitmakers from the country music world!

First up, Eric Church. Heart and Soul were released in April, two weeks apart, and they’re designed to be part of a trilogy set. The third album, called ‘&’, which unites the two, is being exclusively released on vinyl to Church’s fan club. Heart and Soul are the two bookend albums with nine songs each, featuring songs each written and recorded in a single-day marathon recording session in early 2020, according to an interview with Church about the release. This allowed writers and musicians to collaborate more directly than in his previous work, a process which Church says produced a “special, special project.”

 

Second, Sturgill Simpson. Rather than releasing new tracks, Simpson has remixed his older country songs into bluegrass versions. Cuttin’ Grass vol. 1: the Butcher Shoppe Sessions, and Cuttin’ Grass vol. 2: The Cowboy Arms Sessions are two albums which pay homage to bluegrass music with powerful and creative versions of Simpson’s earlier works. Volume 2, released in April, also features a previously un-released track shared with Simpson by the late Merle Haggard. A longtime trendsetter in the country music genre, Simpson has now created a pair of albums that explore his inspirations, grounding his transcendent themes in an earthy style.

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

“This is what it means to be a feminist. Not a humanist or an equalist or whatever. But a feminist. It’s not a bad word. After today it might be my favorite word. Because really all it is is girls supporting each other and wanting to be treated like human beings in a world that’s always finding ways to tell them they’re not.” – Jennifer Mathieu’s Moxie

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu is a young adult novel about a teenager starting a feminist revolution in her Texas high school. The administration’s, as well as the student body’s, responses to this revolution play a very large part in this book.

Vivian Carter is annoyed. It may have taken her a while to want to do anything about it, but she is fed up. The football team can do no wrong and it has to stop. The boys on the football team are getting away with rampant sexual harassment of the girls in the school while the administration sits by and does nothing. Well, not exactly nothing. Instead of punishing the boys, the administration has instead ramped up sexist dress code enforcements: pulling girls out of class and forcing them to wear giant gym uniforms. There doesn’t seem to be an actual dress code that they are following, but the girls are bearing the brunt of the blame. In addition to the increased number of dress code checks, the guys in the school are also harassing the girls in the hallway with violating games they make up. Combined with disgusting, gross, and degrading comments made by the guys during class that the teachers don’t punish and Vivian is done. The guys have been getting away for too much for too long. It’s time for a change.

Needing to blow off steam, but not wanting to get in trouble, Vivian remembers the box of zines that her mother has in her closet. Her mom was a punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s. She was tough and didn’t put up with bad behavior from anyone. Drawing from the strength she finds in her mother’s memory box, Viv creates a feminist zine that she distributes to her classmates, anonymously of course. This zine was just meant as a way for her to vent her anger, but other girls start responding to it. The more popular the zine becomes, the more the girls of her high school band together across cliques and popularity. It gains traction throughout the school and soon Moxie Girls are planning events and protests of their own. If the administration won’t take action, the Moxie Girls will demand it.

After all, MOXIE GIRLS FIGHT BACK!

This book has also been made into a movie on Netflix directed by Amy Poehler.