The Radical Element: 12 Stories of Daredevils, Debutantes & Other Dauntless Girls
The Radical Element: 12 Stories of Daredevils, Debutantes & Other Dauntless Girls
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Annotation: An anthology of historical short stories features a diverse array of girls standing up for themselves and their beliefs, forging their own paths while resisting society's expectations.
Catalog Number: #155831
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
No other formats available
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: x, 308 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-7636-9425-8
ISBN 13: 978-0-7636-9425-8
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2018936969
Dimensions: 24 cm.
Subject Heading:
Self-realization. Fiction.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Spotswood follows up A Tyranny of Petticoats: 15 Stories of Belles, Bank Robbers & Other Badass Girls (2016) by editing (and contributing a story to) another collection of historical fiction that centers around women. Twelve stories from acclaimed YA authors focus on women who, one way or another, have radical, groundbreaking experiences. Organized chronologically, the stories range from 1838 Savannah to 1984 Boston and represent girls of diverse skin tones, religions, sexual orientations, and ability. Standouts include Anna-Marie McLemore's "Glamour," in which a young Mexican woman uses family magic to disguise her heritage as she navigates 1920s Hollywood; Dhonielle Clayton's "When the Moonlight Isn't Enough," about an immortal African American girl struggling during WWII with how to help a country that hasn't always helped her; and Stacey Lee's "Land of the Sweet, Home of the Brave," which features a Japanese American teenager participating in a beauty pageant in 1955 California. Short story collections can be uneven, but this one has an admirable goal, and there is plenty to love.
Horn Book
These female-authored stories, spanning almost 150 years, follow brave, unconventional heroines as they face foes and approach crossroads in their lives. Featuring a refreshing array of religions, neuro-ability, sexuality, and ethnicity, the anthology's serious, sexy, funny, and exhilarating tales offer underrepresented points of view in historical fiction. An author's note with further information is appended to each tale.
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
Editor Spotswood offers a collection of historical stories about young women, bold and brave, many who traverse territory slated only for men.Rebekah, who comes from an Orthodox Jewish family, defies the traditional patriarchal hierarchy of the faith when she secretly meets with her friend Caleb to study Torah, forbidden to women. When these secret meetings are discovered, Rebekah is forced to make the bold choice of allegiance to religious tradition or her desire to be educated in it. In the 19th-century Southwest, Ray is a Mexican girl who poses as a boy to work as a stevedore among men while cheating them at cards to raise funds to reunite with her long-lost family. In "Lady Firebrand," interracial friends Pauline and Rose conspire to undermine the Confederacy by acting as undercover saboteurs for the Union. Crossing genres into fantasy, Emma McGee is a young black girl whose family has discovered a potion that gives them immortality. As U.S. involvement in World War II heightens, Emma is torn between keeping her family's secret and her desire to serve in the Army Nurse Corps. These are tales across time and cultures, offering diverse women as witnesses to historical times. Contributor Dhonielle Clayton sums up the necessity of such an anthology when she writes, "There are few stories about what nonwhite people endured [during World War II], and I wanted to explore that." A needed collection to broaden understanding of the many different faces of history. (Anthology. 14-18)
Reading Level: 7.0
Interest Level: 9-12
Lexile: 840L

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 when 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 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.

Original stories by:
Dahlia Adler
Erin Bowman
Dhonielle Clayton
Sara Farizan
Mackenzi Lee
Stacey Lee
Anna-Marie McLemore
Meg Medina
Marieke Nijkamp
Megan Shepherd
Jessica Spotswood
Sarvenaz Tash

Daughter of the book / Dahlia Adler
You're a stranger here / Mackenzi Lee
The magician / Erin Bowman
Lady Firebrand / Megan Shepherd
Step right up / Jessica Spotswood
Glamour / Anna-Marie McLemore
Better for all the world / Marieke Nijkamp
When the moonlight isn't enough / Dhonielle Clayton
The Belle of the ball / Sarvenaz Tash
Land of the sweet, home of the brave / Stacey Lee
The birth of Susi Go-Go / Meg Medina
Take me with U / Sara Farizan.

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