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Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu


Interests/Topics:  social issues, bullying, sexism, identity, revolutionaries

Curriculum Connections: English, Equity Studies

Gender: F/M

Age: 14+

Blurb: The Breakfast Club is the quintessential high school movie. You know which movie I’m talking about, right? Jesse introduces it to Beca in Pitch Perfect? (“Don’t you forget about me…”) Anyway, five teenagers come together for Saturday detention. Each one represents a stereotype, and they run in different cliques. By the end of the movie, their shared experience turns them into unlikely friends, with each being a self-proclaimed brain, athlete, basket case, princess, and criminal. Although they admit that, come Monday morning, they will return to their respective groups of friends, they form a gentle understanding of one another for a short while. It’s brilliant.

Viv, in Moxie, doesn’t stand out in high school. She keeps her head down, and, in most cases, her mouth shut. She has a small group of friends, and she doesn’t belong to any particular clique. Her small-town school has no shortage of them, however, with the jocks and cheerleaders being on top of the heap. Flaunting their golden status, the football players act out with no repercussions. And when their behaviour turns sexist, with no consequences, Viv quietly seethes.

Viv knows that she should stand up to the offenders, but she’s scared. After a particularly bad day, though, she’s had enough. Viv secretly forms Moxie, a feminist group that calls out the inappropriate behaviour taking place in the school. As it turns out, she wasn’t the only girl who was upset. Before she knows it, girls from all over the school—even across clique boundaries—are pulling together. Quiet, smart, good-girl Viv has started a revolution.


Flavour: “Just then Mitchell Wilson and his crew walk in, loud and taking up space and probably warming up to their next make-me-a-sandwich joke and that feeling I got that afternoon in the cafeteria and on the day I made the first Moxie comes over me again. The feeling that made me want to clench my fists and dig my fingernails into my skin and scream.” (71)

“I take a deep breath. How can I make him get it? He doesn’t understand that Moxie isn’t—wasn’t—just a fun thing I did to be cool or different like his old hipster friends in Austin. I sincerely wanted to change East Rockport High School. Maybe I was naïve to think I could, but deep down I believed it might happen.” (247)

“The room quiets down and we all turn to face Kiera. When she has our attention, she leans in to the microphone. ‘Uh, first of all…,’ she starts, taking a more than dramatic pause, ‘Moxie girls fight back!’ To my delight and surprise, the girls around me cheer and scream and a few hold up their red Solo cups.” (269)


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