I’ve been excited to read Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu since publicist Mary Van Akin emailed me about it in March. It’s a story about a girl named Vivian who is inspired by her mother’s Riot Grrrl past to create a zine to expose and challenge the sexist culture in her high school.
You may have heard yesterday that Kirkus published a negative review of Moxie yesterday. I use the term “negative” pointedly here. Usually I say “critical review” instead because I don’t think a bad review is necessarily negative–it just has some criticism for a book that is likely valid.
I don’t think that’s true for the Kirkus review which seems intent to highlight flaws in the book that are minor and also completely irrelevant to the story. More pointedly, the review manages to center male exclusion and male discomfort in a book about female empowerment and inclusion.
This review is indicative of the deeply internalized mysogyny and systemic sexism that plagues American culture. It also serves to underscore the deep-seated feminist backlash in the US that helped to contribute to our current political climate.
Kirkus’ review is a problem for Moxie because it comes from one of the most respected and visible professional review sources (not to mention being the first professional review that I’ve seen publicly). In other words, because of a review that I think largely missed the point of the book, Moxie‘s sales might suffer as schools, libraries, and bookstores with limited budgets justify not purchasing this title. That is a huge problem for any book but especially for one that is so sorely needed.
I’m doing everything I can to support Moxie and, if you’re so inclined, I have some ways you can too:
Usually I’m all about waiting until release week or later to get a book but in this case I’m making an exception. Pre-publication sales go a long way to demonstrate that a book is getting buzz and positive attention. They also contribute to release week sales which can determine if a book hits one of the bestseller lists (another important benchmark for a book’s success). I don’t want anyone breaking the bank BUT if you can afford to, here are some links to preorder from your venue of choice:
Word of Mouth
- A great way to promote books is just by talking about them! Read an excerpt over at Entertainment Weekly and tell your friends.
- Tweet about it: Moxie already has a hashtag. Show your love tweeting about the book with the tag #MoxieGirlsFightBack
- If you’re an Instagram type tell your friends there with the tag #MoxieGirlsFightBack
- This review, this book, this point in time are all teachable moments about feminism. Don’t let it pass without discussing it with your friends and family.
Tell Your Local Library
Ordering schedules vary but now is a great time to ask your local library to order copies of Moxie. Even if the library doesn’t handle ordering directly, chances are good they can pass on your recommendation. Library purchases contribute to book sales and by getting the title in your library you will be making sure lots more people have access to this book and maybe even getting it on your friendly librarian’s radar!
This is more for my blogger/librarian/bookseller types. If you have an early copy of Moxie read it now so you can start promoting it and talking it up ASAP. There are physical ARCs and eARCs from Netgalley and Edelweiss. If you have access, request and get reading! Alternately if you are going to read the book after it’s out, try to read it near the release date so more people hear about it and buy it. Please don’t let this book become a shelf sitter!
Whether you are a blogger, vlogger, bookstagrammer, or an avid reader, your review makes a difference. Online retailers (especially Amazon) offer special promotions and more publicity to books that receive 50 or more reviews. So if you read the book at any point, be sure to cross post your review so other readers can see it on Goodreads, Amazon and anywhere else you’re so inclined. If you’re a blogger, remember your audience. Most readers are going to want to purchase a book near its publication. Release week reviews are incredibly valuable and pre-publication reminders to watch for a book speak volumes.
I know I’ve been talking about Moxie here and if that book strikes a chord with you, I hope you join me in supporting it. But also remember these steps apply to any book you are excited about and want to help as much as you can.
Buying a book is always a great way to show your support but I hope this post helps everyone who isn’t in a position to put their money literally behind every book they love.