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Rebel Girls

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It’s 1992, and there’s a rumor spreading in Baton Rouge… When it comes to being social, Athena Graves is far more comfortable creating a mixtape playlist than she is talking to cute boys—or anyone, for that matter. Plus her staunchly feminist views and love of punk rock aren’t exactly mainstream at St. Ann’s, her conservative Catholic high school. Then a malicious ru It’s 1992, and there’s a rumor spreading in Baton Rouge… When it comes to being social, Athena Graves is far more comfortable creating a mixtape playlist than she is talking to cute boys—or anyone, for that matter. Plus her staunchly feminist views and love of punk rock aren’t exactly mainstream at St. Ann’s, her conservative Catholic high school. Then a malicious rumor starts spreading through the halls…a rumor that her popular, pretty, pro-life sister had an abortion over the summer. A rumor that has the power to not only hurt Helen, but possibly see her expelled. Despite their wildly contrasting views, Athena, Helen and their friends must find a way to convince the student body and the administration that it doesn’t matter what Helen did or didn’t do…even if their riot grrrl protests result in the expulsion of their entire rebel girl gang.


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It’s 1992, and there’s a rumor spreading in Baton Rouge… When it comes to being social, Athena Graves is far more comfortable creating a mixtape playlist than she is talking to cute boys—or anyone, for that matter. Plus her staunchly feminist views and love of punk rock aren’t exactly mainstream at St. Ann’s, her conservative Catholic high school. Then a malicious ru It’s 1992, and there’s a rumor spreading in Baton Rouge… When it comes to being social, Athena Graves is far more comfortable creating a mixtape playlist than she is talking to cute boys—or anyone, for that matter. Plus her staunchly feminist views and love of punk rock aren’t exactly mainstream at St. Ann’s, her conservative Catholic high school. Then a malicious rumor starts spreading through the halls…a rumor that her popular, pretty, pro-life sister had an abortion over the summer. A rumor that has the power to not only hurt Helen, but possibly see her expelled. Despite their wildly contrasting views, Athena, Helen and their friends must find a way to convince the student body and the administration that it doesn’t matter what Helen did or didn’t do…even if their riot grrrl protests result in the expulsion of their entire rebel girl gang.

30 review for Rebel Girls

  1. 4 out of 5

    Betsy

    More rebellion, please! Most people wouldn't touch this topic with a ten-foot pole, so I'll give Keenan tons of credit for finding an eleven-foot pole :) Rebel Girls explains the different viewpoints in the abortion debate in a way that's accessible to teens. It leans a bit pro-choice, but the story's focus is really on understanding others' views. That alone makes it worth a read. More rebellion, please! Most people wouldn't touch this topic with a ten-foot pole, so I'll give Keenan tons of credit for finding an eleven-foot pole :) Rebel Girls explains the different viewpoints in the abortion debate in a way that's accessible to teens. It leans a bit pro-choice, but the story's focus is really on understanding others' views. That alone makes it worth a read. My major problem is with the book's title--"Rebel Girls" doesn't involve all that much rebellion, but I guess "Work Within the System Girls" doesn't quite have the same ring to it. Athena, the main character, is actually one of the least rebellious of all the characters. She takes rules to their limits, but her actions are really very tame. (Some of her friends and a few of the adults do engage in a bit of rebellion.) The title set my expectations for Athena's actions too high, so I'll knock off at least one star there. There are enough picky little problems with details for me to subtract another half a star... -Without spoiling anything, the repeated references to a "court stocking" plan irked me. You could "stack" a court or "pack" a court, but "stock"?? -The details of Athena's cello pursuits are messy, too. (Sorry, this is going to be the nerdy musician in me talking...) Athena and her friend Melissa, who are both overachievers, would never be so "meh" about being placed second chair in their sections of the orchestra. Usually, placement auditions in youth orchestras are like crazy death matches. -Athena and Melissa also go to "orchestra practice" each week, but they would never call it that. Music students learn early on to call it "rehearsal" or face the wrath of an irritated director. (As one of my directors would always say, "You don't come to band practice--you practice to come to band.") Overall, Rebel Girls is about a 3.5, but I have enough issues with it that I just can't round up to a 4. Thanks to Harlequin and NetGalley for giving me a DRC of this novel, which will be available for purchase on September 10th.

  2. 4 out of 5

    MissBecka

    This was a cool trip down memory lane. A large chunk of my rating is for the nostalgia aspect of the 90's era. The characters were interesting and the story was decent. I would have liked more rebellion for a book called Rebel Girls. With the setting being a Catholic school I suppose they did what they could within those confines. Thanks you NetGalley and Harlequin TEEN for my ARC.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)

    It's 1992 and Athena Graves is figuring out who she is in her Baton Rouge, Louisiana Catholic high school.  She has feminist views, a love for punk rock, and an appreciation for the up-and-coming riot grrrl movement after hearing a Bikini Kill demo while visiting her mom in Washington state over the summer. Athena is shocked to hear a rumor spreading that her younger pro-life sister Helen had an abortion over the summer.  While the sisters know it didn't happen, Helen is embarassed an It's 1992 and Athena Graves is figuring out who she is in her Baton Rouge, Louisiana Catholic high school.  She has feminist views, a love for punk rock, and an appreciation for the up-and-coming riot grrrl movement after hearing a Bikini Kill demo while visiting her mom in Washington state over the summer. Athena is shocked to hear a rumor spreading that her younger pro-life sister Helen had an abortion over the summer.  While the sisters know it didn't happen, Helen is embarassed and stunned when the guidance counselor removes her from the clubs she participates in based on the accusation.  How can a girl be punished for a vicious rumor and zero proof? The sisters work together, despite their different views on abortion, to fight the unfairness of the situation.  The title implies rebellion but these girls are not rule breakers and they're still young enough to fear consequences, even if they feel they're standing up for what's right.  They work within the boundaries of the school's rules to speak out against the injustice in vague but obvious ways while holding back anger against the authority figures who are allowing the problems to continue.  In other words, the characters are completely realistic. "I knew what the riot grrrl ideals were. Support girls around you. Don't be jealous of other girls. Avoid competition with them. Being loud and crying in public were valid ways of being a girl. Being a girl didn't mean being weak or bad. Claiming your sexuality, no matter what that meant to you, was a good thing. And the revolution was open to anyone." * The story is genuine and it will offer nostalgia for readers who grew up in the 90's.  The atmosphere was perfect for the time period and the events are historically accurate. Rebel Girls is a YA novel that looks at both sides of the abortion debate within an ultra-conservative and religious state.  It does so in a way that will be highly relatable for teens because it focuses on peer reaction and makes an honest effort to fairly portray each side without being preachy or political. While the guidance counselor and the main "mean girl" could at times be caricatures of the controversy, it didn't go completely overboard.  There is some romance that didn't add to but also didn't overshadow the story.   My favorite thing about Rebel Girls, other than the copious amounts of riot grrrl references, is that it focuses on girls supporting girls.  We do not have to share the same beliefs in order to lift one another up and encourage each other. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy contemporary YA and feminism that looks at timely / controversial topics in fair and relatable ways. Thanks to Inkyard Press and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.  Rebel Girls is scheduled for release on September 10, 2019. *Quote included is from a digital advanced reader's copy and is subject to change upon final publication. For more reviews, visit www.rootsandreads.wordpress.com

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    I won this in a Goodreads giveaway. Touches upon opinions of abortion at a Catholic School in the 1990s. Interesting read about how political, religious and a solely women’s issue shape one’s opinions of someone else

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jaye Berry

    In fairness because this book isn't out for a couple months, I won't leave a rating because it's a low one. Still love the cover though. While I appreciate the attempt and idea behind this book, it just isn't it. Everything is so messy and I'm sorry to say even the writing wasn't good. This book is all about a girl whose sister ends up in the middle of a bad rumor that is ruining her life at their Catholic school in 1992 until she decides to fight back. That's one of my iss In fairness because this book isn't out for a couple months, I won't leave a rating because it's a low one. Still love the cover though. While I appreciate the attempt and idea behind this book, it just isn't it. Everything is so messy and I'm sorry to say even the writing wasn't good. This book is all about a girl whose sister ends up in the middle of a bad rumor that is ruining her life at their Catholic school in 1992 until she decides to fight back. That's one of my issues though, a lot of this book is about other people doing things and not the MC Athena ever taking an active role. Even when she finally does, it is all because of her pro-choice and feminist best friend, not because of her own ideas and drive. I would have 100% liked this book more if it was from the best friend's POV. Also there were a lot of weird comments coming from Athena (and everyone else) talking about her sister Helen's body and how jealous she was... her sister is 14 and it weirded me out. Athena's love life (or messy attempts at getting a boyfriend) took a weirdly large part of this book and I was just so uninterested in her going on about him. Even reading about their dates together where they were just listing bands back and forth was so boring to me. While I understand this book takes place in the '90s, I didn't need to be hit with references on the head every other page either. As for the whole "feminist" aspect... yeah no. Ugh. It was not done well at all. Helen is super pro-life despite her parents and sister being pro-choice. Why is Helen like this? No reason. The only time Helen learns that huh, telling other women how to live their lives is wrong is because she gets accused of having an abortion herself and the rumors hurt. ???? Athena also happens to spend the entire book hating on other girls. There is a little bit of girl power, teaming up for a cause but really it was so shallow when the book still had so much girl on girl hate. Also the evil teachers in this book were so bizarre and cartoony. I'm sorry but Athena is the worst feminist ever and this book missed every mark it wanted. Read Moxie and Girls on the Verge instead.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nemo (The Moonlight Library)

    This review was originally posted on The Moonlight Library I received a copy of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Check out the original review on The Moonlight Library for gifs! You would think, for a book that calls itself Rebel Girls, that there might be some actual rebellion going on in the plot. It's not the author's fault (I hope!). Publishers can change the title of a book to This review was originally posted on The Moonlight Library I received a copy of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Check out the original review on The Moonlight Library for gifs! You would think, for a book that calls itself Rebel Girls, that there might be some actual rebellion going on in the plot. It's not the author's fault (I hope!). Publishers can change the title of a book to whatever they want. And sure, the idea of a good little Catholic girl rebelling in her school really appealed to me. But this book could more accurately be called 'Girls who push boundaries but don't really break rules' and not appeal to the masses as much as 'Rebel Girls'. 'Girls who work within the established system.' Because Athena is a Good Girl (TM) and nothing will change that. That's the thing that annoyed me the most about this book. I kept expecting actual rebellion, not teen girls helplessly looking at each other while your typical Mean Girl (TM) ran amok, actually ruining lives with their one-dimensional cruelty, armed with nothing but nasty gossip, rumours, and the ability to anticipate and get there with a sob story first. Seriously, Leah is meaner than Regina George. Although I didn't get the rebellion I was sold, I did like the characters and their motivations. Athena and Helen butted heads on their deepest beliefs, and their mother wasn't around to help guide them. Their dad was largely absent due to work, and actually triggered the inciting incident through his failure of managing domestic tasks: because nearly 6 foot tall Helen had to go to school in her first day of freshman year in her much shorter sister's skirt, people were already assuming that she was promiscuous... Due to wearing a short skirt. Yeah, this is the 90s, it totally happened, and it's totally believable. Everything in this well-researched, obviously much-loved novel is totally believable, even the relationships between a girl and a guy best friend, his bitchy girlfriend, and the Nice Guy (TM) our heroine Athena falls head over heels in-sta-love with. I also really enjoyed watching the teens navigate their friendships, especially Athena with the senior girls, her own other best friend (a purple-haired Asian girl), and Athena with Helen's indistinguishable (at first) friends. I liked seeing girls come together, support each other, and work on a problem: that's the power of feminism. Also, I found it really refreshing how, although Athena and Helen were on opposite sides of the abortion debate, they could put their differences aside and work together - and neither of them changed their stance, so it never felt preachy. So although I didn't get the rebellion the title of this novel sells, I still did enjoy the book - mostly - on the strength of its love and nostalgia for Louisiana in the 90s, and realistic portrayals of teen friendships in high school before social media existed which is a thing I think modern day teens might enjoy, too. I received a copy of this book from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jessica | Booked J

    Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Review can be found here at Booked J. (3.5) As always, a copy of this book was provided by the publisher or author in exchange for my honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way. As one of my most anticipated reads of 2019, Rebel Girls was at the tip top of my TBR for the end of summer. Look at that cover! Check out that synopsis! I mean, surely, you can see why it was a priority read for me. Sign me up for girls supporting girls, which is one of the biggest messages Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Review can be found here at Booked J. (3.5) As always, a copy of this book was provided by the publisher or author in exchange for my honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way. As one of my most anticipated reads of 2019, Rebel Girls was at the tip top of my TBR for the end of summer. Look at that cover! Check out that synopsis! I mean, surely, you can see why it was a priority read for me. Sign me up for girls supporting girls, which is one of the biggest messages in Rebel Girls--and double sign me up for a nostalgic setting! If you're looking for something that holds onto a feminist message and taps into our love of the 1990s, and exploration of sisterly bonds, then this book is for you! Before I get started, I do want to get into some of the trigger warnings for Rebel Girls: there's a lot of ground to cover with this book and it includes mentions of teenage pregnancy, abortions, racism and more. That being said, there are a lot of heavy discussions about ideals re: conservative vs. liberal (conservative setting, Catholic school; a lot of liberal characters, a lot of ignorance in others) so there is a specific level of tension to Rebel Girls. While it wasn't my favourite read of the year, it was certainly an enjoyable; feminist throwback of a novel. I couldn't put it down and ate it up within a day because it was truly one of those impossible to put down stories. Something about Rebel Girls felt wholly empowering and optimistic. It never treats its audience in a way that feels like an after school special and I really appreciate that. As I read Rebel Girls I found myself thinking of how I wished there had been more books like it when I was a teenager. There's this frankness to it that I was really keen on. It felt blunt and too the point, while still having that undeniable shakiness to it that comes with any of us as we come of age. I thought that the central story arches and themes found in Rebel Girls REALLY hit home on some serious issues including gossip that can damage reputations (and the girls who spread it vs. the girls who fight it and stick together despite differing opinions) and the topic of abortion. At its core, Rebel Girls has a fairly simple message--support other girls instead of lying or acting maliciously towards them. Further, it explores the bond between family and friends and is just thoroughly enjoyable in doing so. There is some romance sprinkled in, but for the most part Rebel Girls is about creating and holding onto specific bonds and relationships. And speaking up. Ultimately, I think that Rebel Girls is a very important novel that should be praised for the manner in which it explores its plotlines. It raises some serious and thought-provoking moments within the era it is set. Truly, I thought that the way in which Rebel Girls explored topics was carefully plotted, not overly done and pretty straight on the nose in terms of honesty. Elizabeth Keenan captures the voices of her characters gloriously. You should absolutely add Rebel Girls to your TBR this autumn.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Ames-Foley

    This review can also be found on my blog. This book was, unfortunately, a struggle for me. I loved the cover and was excited to read a political, feminist YA. It just didn’t quite feel like that’s what I got. At first, I really enjoyed Athena’s thought processes and politics. What initially got me was how she ruminated upon the conflict one can face when trying to be a “good” feminist and respect other women while also struggling with the instinct to put them down when we feel threatened, something m This review can also be found on my blog. This book was, unfortunately, a struggle for me. I loved the cover and was excited to read a political, feminist YA. It just didn’t quite feel like that’s what I got. At first, I really enjoyed Athena’s thought processes and politics. What initially got me was how she ruminated upon the conflict one can face when trying to be a “good” feminist and respect other women while also struggling with the instinct to put them down when we feel threatened, something mainstream culture seems to have primed us to do. It gave me hope that the rest of the book would expand on this, and frame other struggles similarly. I slowly realized that this wouldn’t go any further; sure, Athena thinks these things, but she doesn’t do them! She is judging women and putting them down based on her superficial slotting of them into roles. Every character here is just a trope, and Athena herself doesn’t make any effort to see them differently than that. We are told that Athena is a good feminist who struggles to fight against what she has been conditioned to feel for other women, but we aren’t shown this to be true. This gave the book a superficiality that made it impossible for me to become invested in. To get more into the characters themselves, they’re truly just an amalgamation of the pop culture they consume. Everyone is described only by what they listen to or read -- except the mean girls, who are cardboard cut-out characters who have absolutely no redeemable qualities and are given absolutely no sympathy. I truly don’t understand how a book supposedly about justice and girl power could write women like this, but oh well. The constant pop culture references got stale very fast, and I found myself rolling my eyes every time they were brought up. The plot was also confusing, I didn’t really understand what the author was trying to accomplish. The focus of the book is that Athena’s sister Helen is accused of getting an abortion. The book is mostly about Athena trying to figure out how to dispel these untrue rumors, but it’s also about Athena’s relationship with some guy who she had zero chemistry with? The scenes between them felt awkward and pointless and he only existed to further the mean girl plot. In an otherwise well-done book, I could have seen it as a play on how women are used as plot devices, but I truly don’t think that was the intention here. It felt like it was just thrown in to add to the drama Athena was going through. Not to mention that I essentially had to drag myself through the book; I kept checking the Goodreads page because I couldn’t believe that this was only 300 pages. I feel bad, because I really wanted to like this and there was the potential for some good rep -- Athena’s best friend is half Vietnamese and her other best friend is black -- but none of the characters were sufficiently utilized or explored. Between that and the lack of an interesting plot, this just really fell flat for me.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kristi Housman Confessions of a YA Reader

    Rebel Girls really appealed to me based off the time that the book takes place in.  The year is 1992 and I was in high school then.  There were some definite reminders that felt accurate of the time period.  Others not so much.  Athena is the girl I wish I was.  While I thought I was feminist and had some feminist views, I wasn't into punk yet, I obsessed too much over boys, and I very much cared what people thought of me.  I wanted to fit in, not stand out.  In some ways, I'm still like that.  Rebel Girls really appealed to me based off the time that the book takes place in.  The year is 1992 and I was in high school then.  There were some definite reminders that felt accurate of the time period.  Others not so much.  Athena is the girl I wish I was.  While I thought I was feminist and had some feminist views, I wasn't into punk yet, I obsessed too much over boys, and I very much cared what people thought of me.  I wanted to fit in, not stand out.  In some ways, I'm still like that.  I don't like the focus or attention on me.  I am now into punk.  I now love the fun hair colors.  I am married, but I do have my own life, too.  But I do still want people to like me.  So I guess I'm a bit Athena now and still a bit high school Kristi. As you would expect when picking up this book based off the title and synopsis, Rebel Girls is feminist.  Athena is into Riot Grrrl music and zines.  She especially loves Bikini Kill and often wonders what Kathleen Hanna would think of her.  In case you don't know what Riot Grrl is about, it's very feminist.  It's all about body confidence and liking who you are.  It's not conforming.  It's about knowing who you are and being that person.  It's about feminism.  It's punk rock.  Athena still struggled at times with these things.  She did try to avoid bands once they became mainstream and popular.  She was pro-choice and liberal in her conservative state.   The synopsis lets you know that this book focuses a lot on abortion and the choice of having one.  Athena's younger sister, Helen, was just starting her freshman year.  Helen is tall and gorgeous with plans to be a model.  Because of this, she is a threat to the mean girls, specifically Leah.  Leah is a junior and is exactly what you think of when you hear mean girl.  At least from my time as a teen.  She's beautiful, popular, and a cheerleader.  She's also majorly bitchy and fake.  Leah has Athena's best friend, Sean, wrapped around her finger.  He won't believe anything negative.  But Leah and her BFF, Aimee, spread rumors about people in school.  The new one is that Helen slept with Drew Lambert, the school's most open racist, and had an abortion.  Why is this a huge deal?  Abortions happened in the 90's (quite a lot in my area).  But these kids go to St. Ann's.  This catholic school has a no abortion policy.  If a girl gets pregnant, she either has the baby or puts the baby up for adoption.  Either way, they don't get to attend the school.  The town in Louisiana is very conservative and almost every one is pro life.  Including Helen.  She's the opposite of her liberal family.   Helen is a wreck.  Athena and her other best friend, Melissa, decide that something needs to be done.  No one does anything to Leah, the suck up.  With the help of Helen's friends, Sara and Jennifer, they become the Gang of Five.  The girls start a "so what" campaign that just barely fits into the school's standards.  They hand out pins and patches and continue to find ways to get Helen's truth out there. During this time, Athena gets her first real boyfriend, the new guy at school.  She struggles often with her Riot Grrrl ideals and wanting so much to have this boy adore her.  Things seem odd at times, but she really falls for him.   I don't want to get into anything else so that some things are a surprise.  I do need to give some warnings.  Obviously this book is about teenage pregnancy and abortions.  The school is pro life, as are most students, but the book also focuses on pro choice a bit more.  They visit a clinic and Helen has some horrible fetus photos put up at school.  Girls call each other bitch and slut fairly often.  This was super common in my school, but Athena does try to correct people for the use.  Melissa is super carefree and rebellious.  She has flings with older boys so often that Athena doesn't even know their names.  We don't know if she's having sex, but there is kissing between the junior girl and college boys that she meets at parties.  There is bullying.  There is racism.  The town is mostly white and quite a few people are full on, openly racist.  Athena's best friend and neighbor, Sean, is black.  It is often brought up that racism is ok.  But sadly, this is still a common thing in our country.  As I'm writing this, the news of the day is showing me how bad things are. There are immature boys and talk of sex and alcohol.  Maybe drugs, but I can't really remember if they were mentioned.  I loved the homecoming dance with the songs popular when I was in school.  But others may be uncomfortable with songs like "Me So Horny".  I grew up in a school where we had a dance competition in 8th grade to "The Humpy Dance".  Things have changed, at least in a lot of schools.  But not all schools.  High school kids went to college parties. There was also a part about fake ID's which were a lot more common before the ID's got harder to fake. I'm sorry if I missed anything else. I gave this book 4 stars.  Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my review copy.  I loved going back to high school, even if mine was public in a blue state.  

  10. 4 out of 5

    Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd)

    Rebel Girls, while enjoyable is probably going to be a mostly forgettable read for me. I loved the strong focus on sibling relationships, girl solidarity, and challenging belief you find harmful or disrespectful, but I just didn't connect with the characters as much as I wanted to. Sister Catherine was probably one of the standout characters and I loved seeing her throughout the story. Unfortunately, I didn't like any of the romances in the story - they were just too flat for me to care about. S Rebel Girls, while enjoyable is probably going to be a mostly forgettable read for me. I loved the strong focus on sibling relationships, girl solidarity, and challenging belief you find harmful or disrespectful, but I just didn't connect with the characters as much as I wanted to. Sister Catherine was probably one of the standout characters and I loved seeing her throughout the story. Unfortunately, I didn't like any of the romances in the story - they were just too flat for me to care about. So while the 90s nostalgia was awesome, and the message was incredibly relevant and important, Rebel Girls didn't quite get there - based on purely enjoyment factor - for me personally. I received a cop of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

  11. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    Disclaimer: I received this book for free from NetGalley and Inkyard Press in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. I LOVED this book. I feel like it did a pretty good job of filling the hole Moxie left behind when I finished that earlier this year. It’s smart, the characters are great, and it doesn’t hesitate to take on a difficult topic. Before I go and squeal about it some more, I do want to leave some possible trig Disclaimer: I received this book for free from NetGalley and Inkyard Press in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. I LOVED this book. I feel like it did a pretty good job of filling the hole Moxie left behind when I finished that earlier this year. It’s smart, the characters are great, and it doesn’t hesitate to take on a difficult topic. Before I go and squeal about it some more, I do want to leave some possible trigger warnings for the book, and turn-offs, depending on your politics. Rebel Girls discusses extreme bullying, and there is one scene where a character’s locker is covered in graphic images of unborn fetuses. Additionally, one of the themes of this book is the abortion conversation and it found it leans to pro-choice. If you are a pro-life supporter, you may find parts of this book offensive, depending on your comfort levels in the discussion. Rebel Girls is set in Louisiana in the early 90s. Our protagonist, Athena (thanks, Mom), loves the Riot Grrl revolution, but she goes to a strict Catholic School and they aren’t always supportive of her ideals. On the political spectrum, Athena swings left but she’s not outspoken and forceful about it (though she definitely wants to be). I liked Athena a lot as a character because she was so well-balanced. I think it’s easy to write characters who are fierce and brave, but characters who want to be but have insecurities but still try are the ones who really speak to me. Also, Athena felt like a younger high schooler. She gets all flushed and gooey talking about her crushes and has idols and has fixed love/hate feelings for her little sister. When this book quickly became political, I was extremely worried it was going to be a one-sided soap box. While it may not have been perfectly balanced, Rebel Girls made a good effort. My experience with extreme left and extreme right opinions on any controversial topic is that they tend to villainize the other side. Although Athena is a pro-choice character, it was so important that her little sister was a pro-life character… and that they didn’t cancel one another out. Athena and Helen stuck to their believes and managed to work together despite them. It’s an interesting commentary, and I think given exactly how hot a topic abortion is right now, it was important that Elizabeth Keegan did this correctly. I will say that the villains in this story felt like caricatures. Leah and Aimee were so blatantly ignorant and selfish that I figured something must be wrong – but no, they were just various much like Marianne from Easy A. That type of character drive me crazy. There’s never tolerance – always extremism in interactions. Because of characters like these and Mrs. Turner, it’s so important to have foils like Angelle, Helen, and Sister Catherine. There’s actually a couple really lovely moments with Sister Catherine in the second half of the book, making her one of my favorite characters. There was so much focus on the plot and politics in this novel that the love story was extraneous. Romantic scenes seemed like setups to further the main plot in small ways rather than to push forward the relationship itself. They weren’t bad, but they felt more like filler to strengthen the evilness of Leah and Aimee than anything else. Generally speaking, I really liked Rebel Girls. I liked the controversial topic and the different characters (some of the minor characters were really great) but I do wish there had been a little more variety in the political stances. Even if you don’t agree with something, I do think it’s important that everyone has a voice. That goes for both sides of the line. That aside, it was a great story with some really good lines and Louisiana in the early 90s was a fun stop – I wish there were more YA in the 80s and 90s because I am here for it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    As soon as I heard about this book, I knew there was a good chance that I would love it: 1. It's set in the 1990s in the south (Baton Rouge, Louisana). 2. The Riot Grrrl movement features heavily, especially Bikini Kill and their first tape. 3. It tackles an important topic -- abortion -- in a non-exploitative, non-melodramatic way. 4. It's written by a musicologist! (I've never met the author, so this is an unbiased review.) 5. THAT COVER. I am happy to report that the As soon as I heard about this book, I knew there was a good chance that I would love it: 1. It's set in the 1990s in the south (Baton Rouge, Louisana). 2. The Riot Grrrl movement features heavily, especially Bikini Kill and their first tape. 3. It tackles an important topic -- abortion -- in a non-exploitative, non-melodramatic way. 4. It's written by a musicologist! (I've never met the author, so this is an unbiased review.) 5. THAT COVER. I am happy to report that the book lived up to my expectations. I loved the characters -- even the minor characters had pretty distinct personalities, but I loved and identified with Athena, the narrator, so much. When we first meet her at the beginning of the book, she is content to live in the background of her high school, hanging with her two best friends, arguing with her little sister (who seems the polar opposite of her), listening to punk music, and deciding which patches and pins will best convey her music taste without featuring bands like Nirvana, who are suddenly famous and loved by everyone in her high school. By the end of the book, she's fundamentally the same person, but she's grown confident in her ability to stand up for what she believes is right, and she knows herself a little better (which serves her well in standing up to jerk boys). One of the things that most stands out to me about this book is that it is YA, but I think this one will have greater crossover appeal to adult readers who typically don't read YA (I'm an adult who happily reads YA from time to time, but in my year as a bookseller I met many who didn't, and I enjoyed trying to find YA books that I could sell to these adults). Yes, there are the first kisses, dating woes, mean girls, and homecoming drama that populate stories set in high school, but they're written about SO WELL, and I think the fact that the book is set in 1992 will make it appeal to older readers just for the nostalgia factor. Most of the book focuses on abortion, but rather than meeting a character who has had or wants an abortion right away, the topic is introduced because of false rumors being spread about the narrator's pro-life sister at their Catholic school. I think this is important because it immediately opens up a nuanced discussion of abortion; we get to see the girls figuring out what they think about it throughout the book. It's a pro-choice book, but the pro-life characters aren't written as villains. I appreciated this a lot. I'd recommend this book to readers who enjoyed MOXIE and DUMPLIN'.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kendra

    This is a great book. Everyone ages 9 and up should have this put in their hands to read ASAP. When her anti-choice younger sister Helen is rumored to have had an abortion by their Catholic school's mean girls clique, her pro-choice, riot grrrl sister Athena and her friends build a campaign to counter the accusations and to make everyone rethink their positions on shame, privacy, and autonomy. Along the way, Athena, whose collections of zines and punk rock albums is a solid reading and playlist This is a great book. Everyone ages 9 and up should have this put in their hands to read ASAP. When her anti-choice younger sister Helen is rumored to have had an abortion by their Catholic school's mean girls clique, her pro-choice, riot grrrl sister Athena and her friends build a campaign to counter the accusations and to make everyone rethink their positions on shame, privacy, and autonomy. Along the way, Athena, whose collections of zines and punk rock albums is a solid reading and playlist for anyone interested, deals with a romance with a jerk (her ultimate response to him is empowering, y'all. It's a terrific scene), her relationship with a black football player who's been admitted to the school for his athletic prowess and is the victim of blatant racism and manipulation, and the desire to become a stronger person (her mantra, "What Would Kathleen Hanna Do?," referencing the singer of Bikini Kill, is one I am totally adopting.) Keenan deals with difficult topics in a sophisticated way, captures the feeling of being a young woman in high school in the 90s, and the politics and behavior--and the fashion--of the time with aplomb. Go read it, give it to the kids in your life, recommend it to your library patrons, teach it in your classrooms. Go.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Becca

    Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with an e-arc of Rebel Girls by Elizabeth Keenan in exchange for an honest review! It happened again. I was suckered by a gorgeous book cover. Rebel Girls had it’s pros (one being the book cover), but it unfortunately, also had plenty of flaws. Rebel Girls has a case of important topic & concept, but not-so-great execution. Rebel Girls deals with the taboo-subject, abortion, at a Catholic high school. Rumor has it that Athena’s sister, pro-life Helen, had an abortion over the summ/>Rebel/>Rebel/>It Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with an e-arc of Rebel Girls by Elizabeth Keenan in exchange for an honest review! It happened again. I was suckered by a gorgeous book cover. Rebel Girls had it’s pros (one being the book cover), but it unfortunately, also had plenty of flaws. Rebel Girls has a case of important topic & concept, but not-so-great execution. Rebel Girls deals with the taboo-subject, abortion, at a Catholic high school. Rumor has it that Athena’s sister, pro-life Helen, had an abortion over the summer & this rumor is tearing her world apart. One thing that I did enjoy in Rebel Girls is that we get to witness both sides of the abortion debate; pro-lifers & pro-choicers come together to stand up for Helen. This is so very important, y’all & I’m so glad that Keenan had the balls to write something so powerful. I also really enjoyed Rebel Girls' setting. It’s 1992 — a time where CLINTON was going against BUSH for office. Rebel Girls didn’t really discuss the election a lot; there were references to Bill Clinton playing saxophone on Arsenio Hall, and in general, it was just a blast to the past for me. Okay, sure, I was only 2 — but I still know the references, okay?! Athena & her best friend, Melissa, were high school goals for me. I wanted to be one of the cool kids with fun-dyed hair & patches on denim. I wanted to stand up for my right to party & all that jazz. Y’all ready for the cons? Athena Graves was my least favorite character (excluding the mean girls — I’ll get to one of them next), which really sucks when she’s our leading character. She’s a self-acclaimed feminist who wants to be a Riot Grrrl! That’d be dope, right? However, she’s horrible at practicing what she preaches. She judges her female classmates & is too absorbed with Kyle (at one point awaiting his call & at another, leaving a football game with him when she was suppose to be passing out patches & pins for the supposed ‘rebellion’. Athena was kind of just a flop of a character. Athena is also so pretentious & annoying about music; at one point she even goes through Kyle’s cassette collection & judges him for each band in there. Leah, our stereotypical mean girl, tends to do things out of spite & jealousy. Which, fine, cool — yet, in Rebel Girls, we partially learn about her at-home life, but it never goes any deeper; leaving a potentially interesting character very undeveloped. I get that she’s not our main character, but why even bring up her personal issues, if you’re only going to leave it on the surface? It felt like a really weak way to explain her awful actions. In fact, a lot of this story felt unnecessary & left undeveloped. Kyle was an extremely pointless character, Sean was a shit friend who was only used as conflict for the ‘girl gang’ vs. Leah (which, same can totally be said about Kyle) & Trip, who could have been the only decent man in this book, was barely even in it. There was a lot of potential here & yet, it was left undiscovered. To sum it all up, I’m here for the topic & concept of Rebel Girls, but I really did not enjoy reading this book whatsoever.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Pamela Stennett

    https://iwriteinbooks.wordpress.com/2... {I was given a copy of this book by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review and all thoughts are my own.} Holy crap. This book is SO good, y’all. It’s not out till September but you should definitely read it. It basically covers the Life/Choice conversations happening in the south in 1992 (in a fictional Baton Rouge Catholic high school) and it’s got Riot Grrrls and 90’s punk rock and Bikini Kill and third wave feminism critique and yeah…it’s also dea https://iwriteinbooks.wordpress.com/2... {I was given a copy of this book by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review and all thoughts are my own.} Holy crap. This book is SO good, y’all. It’s not out till September but you should definitely read it. It basically covers the Life/Choice conversations happening in the south in 1992 (in a fictional Baton Rouge Catholic high school) and it’s got Riot Grrrls and 90’s punk rock and Bikini Kill and third wave feminism critique and yeah…it’s also dead on accurate for my current feelings about the same damn topic over and over and over again. The book is set about four years before I hit my freshman year of high school so all of the music and pop culture and political references churned up some pretty solid nostalgia. I mean, listen: I didn’t love high school a whole lot but I think almost everyone has a fondness for their teen years (even if you couldn’t pay them enough to ever go back). And my brother is four years older than I am so a lot of his music trickled down to me. It did take me a minute to realize that it was, in fact, set in the 90’s and even longer to realize that this was a teen story with no cell phones. Call waiting and your parents being able to tell when you’re on the phone at night? What? Oh, those were the days. I’m kidding. I’m never going back. The abortion/life/choice conversation was really well done. I have always and forever been ProChoice but I grew up in a VERY Catholic town in New England where the events of this book may have been reasonably possible. It was interesting to look at the entirety of the conversation with bits of empathy developing on both sides. The idea being that each person should be able to chose for themselves what is done with their body. I really liked that. I will never force someone to make a choice they personally disagree with but I will absolutely fight for each individual to be able to make that choice. Anyway, so much good stuff going on in this book. Again it doesn’t come out till the fall but wait for it and find it and read it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Perchikoff

    This book could not have been more my thing. Feminism, pro-choice, and girls protecting and fighting for each other...it was like it was made for me! When I first saw this book, I was a little worried about how it would handle the abortion situation, but luckily, it dealt with it really well, focusing on each girl having their own choice rather than one thing being right for all people. But before I talk too much (lol), let's get to the review! The book starts off with Athena and Hele This book could not have been more my thing. Feminism, pro-choice, and girls protecting and fighting for each other...it was like it was made for me! When I first saw this book, I was a little worried about how it would handle the abortion situation, but luckily, it dealt with it really well, focusing on each girl having their own choice rather than one thing being right for all people. But before I talk too much (lol), let's get to the review! The book starts off with Athena and Helen Graves beginning a new school year. Over the summer, they were in Eugene, Oregon staying with their mother. But now, back in Baton Rouge, they're in school and things are back to normal. Or so they think. While Athena is having fun with a new boy named Kyle who seems to actually like her, her sister is struggling with rumors that could get her kicked out of school. But once Athena is made aware of those rumors, she tries everything she can to get them under control and protect Helen. Athena and her activist friend, Melissa might be pro-choice, but they won't let that stop them from helping Helen (who is not pro-choice). Helen is a part of their school's anti-abortion group (my wording. the book uses "pro-life"). Once the rumors make their way through the school, she is quickly kicked out of the group and ostracized by all but her two friends, Jennifer and Sara.  It soon becomes clear that Athena's best friend, Sean's girlfriend, Leah, and her sidekick, Aimee are spreading the rumors about Helen because Leah is jealous of Helen's looks and she's worried Sean likes Helen more than her (thank god I'm not in high school anymore).  But knowing who spread the rumors, doesn't stop them. And it's not just the students who believe them, the awful teachers do too. So Athena, Helen, Melissa, Sara, and Jennifer work together to figure out a way to stop the rumors. They make pins and patches with "So what if she did?", "So what if she didn't," and simply "so what? and spread them throughout their school. While they can't hand out anything that promotes abortion or pro-choice policies, these phrases are vague enough that it's obvious they're supporting Helen, but won't get them all kicked out of school. And while the result isn't a pro-choice revolution, there is a pretty big response. Tons of girls and some dudes ask for pins and patches to put on their backpacks. But Leah, Aimee, and some of the administration are not willing to just give up. The shit hits the fan when Athena finds out Kyle, who she liked and who she thought liked her, is not who she thought he was and one of the administrators threatens Athena when she ends up nominated for the homecoming court. But despite all the threats, the fear, and the peer pressure, the girls never give up. They may feel defeated at times, especially Athena and Helen, but they never stop fighting. And while Melissa and Athena may not change anyone's mind about being pro-choice vs. anti-abortion, that's not really the point. They get people to see that Helen didn't have an abortion (although someone did) and show their support for each other.  The support and fight these girls have for each other (and anyone who is up against the school's sexist/misogynistic agenda) is epic and I could not love it more. Like...the sisterly support, the friend support, and even the support Athena and Helen's dad has for both of them makes me misty-eyed.  While this book does remind me of Moxie, it's definitely different enough that you can read one and still get a completely different experience from the other. Also Moxie takes place in the present day while Rebel Girls is set in the 90s, so it has a different vibe to it.  Rebel Girls is fun, badass, and while set in the 90s, is an especially important story to read today. I am giving it 4 out of 5 stars. My only issue was that I wish it had a more diverse cast of characters. If you like reading about girls fighting for each other and for themselves,  Rebel Girls is definitely a book you want to check out. Rebel Girls is out now! Thank you to NetGalley and Inkyard Press for the free eARC in exchange for my honest review.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    Athena leans into the riot girl movement of 1992 hard, even when it means idealizing an idea of feminism that's not existent and thereby failing to live up to her own impossible standards. That's the big point of this one, and it's handled well. Though a little longer than necessary, this is a great read alike to MOXIE or WATCH US RISE in that it's about girls who rebel against authority and the system more broadly. When a rumor about Athena's sister Helen circulates -- that she had an abortion Athena leans into the riot girl movement of 1992 hard, even when it means idealizing an idea of feminism that's not existent and thereby failing to live up to her own impossible standards. That's the big point of this one, and it's handled well. Though a little longer than necessary, this is a great read alike to MOXIE or WATCH US RISE in that it's about girls who rebel against authority and the system more broadly. When a rumor about Athena's sister Helen circulates -- that she had an abortion over the summer, which is strictly prohibited in their pro-life Catholic high school, and even more detrimental to someone who was part of the pro-life group at the school -- Athena, her best friend Melissa, and a group of other girls rally behind Helen to get her name cleared. Their rebellion is riot girl style in a way that readers who love that era of zines, pins, Kathleen Hanna, and more will dig here (not my jam, as this movement is exceptionally white, and that plays itself out here, too). A fun read and one that I think young feminists will enjoy -- both for what Athena and he girl gang do and for what they fail to do.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I absolutely judge a book by its cover, and this one was an eye-catcher. I was pumped to find that it dealt with abortion rights, feminism and the Riot Grrrl movement. Yes, please! The biggest hill I climbed with this book was the initial pacing - it killed me to wait nearly 100 pages to find out the rumor that the entire book was supposed to hinge on. And even then, it took another 40 or so pages before the plan of solidarity really took shape. That said, once the girls started worki I absolutely judge a book by its cover, and this one was an eye-catcher. I was pumped to find that it dealt with abortion rights, feminism and the Riot Grrrl movement. Yes, please! The biggest hill I climbed with this book was the initial pacing - it killed me to wait nearly 100 pages to find out the rumor that the entire book was supposed to hinge on. And even then, it took another 40 or so pages before the plan of solidarity really took shape. That said, once the girls started working together, I devoured the rest of the story in record time. I think that the romance element with Kyle was supposed to give Athena a way to struggle with some of her Riot Grrrl ideals, but I could have done without it. He was a pretty lukewarm, flimsy character which the story probably didn't need (and maybe the build-up to the main plot wouldn't have taken so long if Athena wasn't so wrapped up in him!). I enjoyed the female solidarity, "So What?" campaign, refusal to cave to grand romantic gestures, and the endearing ending. Would recommend this title to readers who enjoyed Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu or Girls on the Verge by Sharon Biggs Waller. I received a free advance copy of this title from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Hayley

    This did not work for me on any level.It was long yet didn't go anywhere,was repetitive and the characters were really one-dimensional.Also the main character claims to be a feminist but spends the entire book judging every single other female character and finds all of them lacking,exactly how I found this book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    I very rarely give one-star ratings, so I feel like I've really got to back this up. I went super long in my full review, but it's not really that complicated. I only give one star to a YA book that I didn't enjoy if I think that book is poorly written and I think it's bad for the world of YA. My complaints with the writing are the easiest to back up. →The protagonist, Athena, has almost nothing to do with the actual story. As a self-insert for the author, she only serves to filter everyth/>→The I very rarely give one-star ratings, so I feel like I've really got to back this up. I went super long in my full review, but it's not really that complicated. I only give one star to a YA book that I didn't enjoy if I think that book is poorly written and I think it's bad for the world of YA. My complaints with the writing are the easiest to back up. →The protagonist, Athena, has almost nothing to do with the actual story. As a self-insert for the author, she only serves to filter everything that happens through her perspective. That perspective, unfortunately, is irritating, shallow, and resistant to growth, so it doesn't serve the story at all. →The real story, theoretically, is about Athena's sister Helen, who probably should have been the protagonist. That's not really possible, though, because the book shares Athena's dismissive attitude towards pretty, perfect Helen. Rebel Girls is completely disinterested in Helen's inner life. →Those POV problems basically break the book, because I was never about to understand the stakes or the characters' actual goal. Athena doesn't seem to have a direction in mind besides "make a statement!!1!" so the book doesn't either. →Without a real story to tell, the book flounders for 400 pages. The pacing is infuriating. Supposedly, the story is kicked off by a rumor spreading about Helen. Athena (and the reader) first hear that rumor on page 96. A quarter of the way into the book. Before that? Directionless chapters about pin selection and cute boys. →Line by line, the writing is juvenile. Chapters are laden with pop-culture references and overly-detailed physical descriptions but have no depth at all. Yes, it's a badly written book, but mediocre books come out all the time. Why do I feel so strongly that Rebel Girls is a harmful addition to the YA shelves? →The book's core message is a rejection of empathy. Athena is supremely unconcerned with the humanity of the people around her, and so is the book. Even at the book’s climax, when another young woman has been very publicly outed about personal and potentially traumatic history, Athena watches from the background, emotionally unaffected. “This was better drama than 90210,” Athena gushes to the reader, watching a moment that should have been emotionally wrecking with the attitude of a popcorn-crunching movie-goer. Athena's attitude, unchanged throughout the whole novel, is the attitude of the book itself, which never bothers to take any other character seriously. The sympathetic characters are firmly two-dimensional, while the unsympathetic characters are cartoon villains flinging over-the-top, pointless cruelty at teenagers. →Rebel Girls is not prepared to take its subject matter seriously either. Athena doesn't think pregnancy and abortion are a big deal, and the book takes that attitude and runs with it, treating teen pregnancy as a joke and the abortion debate as a circus. It's just not something to worry about--if someone disagrees with you about something important, the book seems to say, don't sweat it. Just privately dismiss and mock them--no need to make an effort to understand them. After all, people who think differently than you are either pure evil or will immediately change their minds once they have the Facts. I received an advance copy of this title from the publisher in expectation of an honest review. No money changed hands for this review and all opinions are my own.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Devann

    I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley This was really cute! I'm normally not one for the contemporary genre or books that focus so much around what I would generally call 'teen drama', but this was actually really relatable even as an adult and reminded me a lot of my teen years. I think the book did a good job of portraying the girls' struggles in a realistic manner and showing that it is possible to grow and change your opinions on things and also that you can protest something and I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley This was really cute! I'm normally not one for the contemporary genre or books that focus so much around what I would generally call 'teen drama', but this was actually really relatable even as an adult and reminded me a lot of my teen years. I think the book did a good job of portraying the girls' struggles in a realistic manner and showing that it is possible to grow and change your opinions on things and also that you can protest something and make your voice heard and actually make a difference in a lot of different ways and that they aren't all as 'in your face' as people often believe. I also liked that all the characters felt very real instead of just having it be a very two dimensional 'us versus them' situation. Definitely a good book for teen girls. I wish there had been more books like this around when I was younger!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mike Chen

    As a 1990s teen who was into indie rock and Green Party and Rock The Vote, this book encapsulated so much of what I was feeling at the time (I'm old). But it's not just a nostalgia trip with great characters (though seriously, I would have been friends with Athena and we would have listened to Throwing Muses and The Replacements together), it's fun and funny and meaningful and provides accessible insight into what pro-choice and women's rights are about -- and why they're important. But also gre As a 1990s teen who was into indie rock and Green Party and Rock The Vote, this book encapsulated so much of what I was feeling at the time (I'm old). But it's not just a nostalgia trip with great characters (though seriously, I would have been friends with Athena and we would have listened to Throwing Muses and The Replacements together), it's fun and funny and meaningful and provides accessible insight into what pro-choice and women's rights are about -- and why they're important. But also great music references. To twist a Sleater-Kinney reference, the book IS rock n roll fun.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Bryn Coape-arnold

    A fun romp of a book that threw me right back to high school. All of the drama, all of the angst, all of the highs and lows that come with being a teen. The best part? It's set in 1992, complete with great pop culture references (including a Kids in the Hall reference - yes!) and appropriate clothing choices (Doc Martens anyone?). Athena Graves attends a conservative Catholic private school in Baton Rouge, Louisiana but her beliefs don't quite align with the school's. When her conservative, pro- A fun romp of a book that threw me right back to high school. All of the drama, all of the angst, all of the highs and lows that come with being a teen. The best part? It's set in 1992, complete with great pop culture references (including a Kids in the Hall reference - yes!) and appropriate clothing choices (Doc Martens anyone?). Athena Graves attends a conservative Catholic private school in Baton Rouge, Louisiana but her beliefs don't quite align with the school's. When her conservative, pro-life sister is the subject of a rumor that she had an abortion, Athena and her friends step in to help clear her name. In the process they learn a lot about love, friendship and just how far they're willing to go to fight injustice. Although I loved how the book took me right back to high school, I'm not sure if that time period will ring true or just old for today's teens. There's no doubt that the subject matter - friendship, rebellion, finding your place in the world and, certainly, abortion - continues to be as fresh and important today as it was back then; I just hope that the references to bands and TV shows that are only vaguely familiar doesn't dull the sharp edge of these hugely important topics. Looking forward to sharing this one when it comes out! Thanks to @netgalley for the ARC.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Amelia

    This book truly had the potential to wow me and it fell so far from even being average and I'm so disappointed. I spent over half the book just absolutely seething from how angry it made me feel. Further review to come once I can actually gather my thoughts.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

    I received a digital ARC of this title from Edelweiss for an honest review. "Rebel girl! Rebel girl! Rebel girl, you are the queen of my world!". Athena attends a Catholic high school in Baton Rouge in the early 90s. This year, her little sister Helen is joining her. Helen is everything that Athena is not: she's outgoing, gorgeous, and popular. But when Athena's best friend's girlfriend spreads a rumor that Helen had an abortion over the summer after getting pregnant by a super racist I received a digital ARC of this title from Edelweiss for an honest review. "Rebel girl! Rebel girl! Rebel girl, you are the queen of my world!". Athena attends a Catholic high school in Baton Rouge in the early 90s. This year, her little sister Helen is joining her. Helen is everything that Athena is not: she's outgoing, gorgeous, and popular. But when Athena's best friend's girlfriend spreads a rumor that Helen had an abortion over the summer after getting pregnant by a super racist classmate, Athena has to take matters into her own hands. Events here echo the events of today fairly closely. This story is infuriating and extremely timely. Athena is a pro-choice feminist and she's just trying to figure out what that actually means to her, along with handling all the drama that happens for everyone in high school. She does a much better job at it than most of us do. This is a must read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Note: an eARC of this title was acquired via NetGalley. On its surface, Rebel Girls is a book about abortion, which shouldn't have been a dirty word in 1992, the year the book takes place, or even now, in 2019, but it still kind of is and so here we are. 🤷♀ I loved that Elizabeth Keenan decided to write a book focusing on abortion—as well as feminism, female friendships, slut-shaming, and bullying—because where were those books when I was a teenager? It took me until I was 26 until I remember even coming ac Note: an eARC of this title was acquired via NetGalley. On its surface, Rebel Girls is a book about abortion, which shouldn't have been a dirty word in 1992, the year the book takes place, or even now, in 2019, but it still kind of is and so here we are. 🤷‍♀️ I loved that Elizabeth Keenan decided to write a book focusing on abortion—as well as feminism, female friendships, slut-shaming, and bullying—because where were those books when I was a teenager? It took me until I was 26 until I remember even coming across the word feminism (thank you, Roxane Gay, as always), but then it was a black hole into which I willingly jumped. I couldn't get enough—I still can't, honestly—but what if I'd been exposed to riot grrrl at fifteen the way I'd been introduced to male-fronted punk and hardcore bands? What if I'd had a friend like Melissa? Or a relationship with my sister like that of Athena and Helen? (Which, admittedly, I did get, but it came much later.) Why didn't The Perks of Being a Wallflower mention the words abortion or sexual assault or molestation? (Or, if it did, why don't I remember?) But I hate dwelling on what ifs—because I can't do anything about them. As soon as I saw the cover for Rebel Girls while walking the show floor at BEA, I bee-lined for it, knowing that I needed to find out what kind of story would accompanying such a kick-ass image. And once I did? I immediately added it to my TBR. But maybe I shouldn't have; maybe I should have waited until other readers had a chance to read it first. Because, although this book was everything I would have wanted at Athena's age, it wasn't the kind of book I wanted now—and I'm not good at separating teenage me from thirty-something me, nor do I really want to be transported back to that time in my life. So it's hard to say that this book wasn't good—because it was good, in a lot of important and fundamental ways—it's more that this book wasn't meant for me as I am at this moment. And trying to qualify the ways in which I disliked Rebel Girls negates how good it will be for other readers, at whatever ages they are, in whatever stage of feminism they find themselves. Because not everyone has found their voice yet—and books that articulate that struggle with nuance and care and love? Those books need to be written—because someone needs to read them. Although I don't need to be reminded that being pro-choice simply means one acknowledges abortion as one choice out of many, some people do, and I can't discount that. Keenan writes in her author's note that one of the main inspirations for Rebel Girls were the letters held in the Riot Grrrl Collection at the Fales Library & Special Collections at New York University, letters that "grappled with what it was like to be a teen girl, and to feel all the contradictions of knowing you have something to say, but being stuck in a culture that often disregards you." I've been very fortunate to be on the other side of Athena's struggle—to know that I have a voice, and that my voice is worth something, even if other people don't think so. (Perhaps especially when other people don't.) So maybe I didn't love Rebel Girls, but I really wasn't meant to. Instead, I'm meant to pass it along to someone who does.

  27. 4 out of 5

    ♥ WishfulMiss ♥

    This book tackles a lot of important issues and in a way that is really relatable. I loved that it brings to the forefront some important topics that need more exposure and more attention.   The author gets your head and your heart involved with the help of some great characters that will definitely leave an impression on you. I loved it all. The teenage drama, the rocky ride that is your first crush, the complex family situations, the friendships and of course, the battle of doing wh This book tackles a lot of important issues and in a way that is really relatable. I loved that it brings to the forefront some important topics that need more exposure and more attention.   The author gets your head and your heart involved with the help of some great characters that will definitely leave an impression on you. I loved it all. The teenage drama, the rocky ride that is your first crush, the complex family situations, the friendships and of course, the battle of doing whats right when it's going against the majority. It was angsty, emotional and inspiring. Athena was a great protaganist and the hardships she takes on with her ragtag group of friends is great. Yes, there is some romance but I didn't feel that it overshadowed the main plot of standing up against bullying and fighting for women's rights. Even though it's set in the 80s, the message is still very relevant in today's world. The romance (and all the drama that ensues) was just a bonus to an overall great story. No brainer that I loved Athena and Melissa. Helen was a little hard to warm up too with her stubbornness but eventually she did mesh, if only just a little. I loved Sean and Athena's 100% platonic friendship but she so needed deserved a grovel scene from him. The more public the better in my opinion (but then again, I can hold a grudge like no other so . . . yeah . . .) Sister Catherine also gets a thumbs up from me because I loved her support of the girls even if it went against her own moral standards. Leah was definitely the quintessential villian of the piece and she made me burn with fury on more than one occasion so beware! The ending was good but I so needed more! It felt a little itty bitty bit rushed but again this could just be me. I'm used to a bit more closure in my reads \(-_-)/ Favorite Line: "You've basically just described being pro-choice. It's not a choice that you would make. But it's still a choice." Yes! Why is this still such a hard concept for people to grasp?!? Memorable Moments: I loved how Melissa always has Athena's back, especiallly when it came to boy trouble.  "You'd have to ask him. Only I wouldn't, if I were you. He's an @sshole, and his cowardly attempt at showing how awesome you are doesn't count as an apology." I also loved Athena's committment to the riot grrl philosophy. She doesn't just talk the talk but she walks the walk. Every time she reaffirmed her beliefs in the riot grrl cause and reminds her fellow sisters, it was awesome!  Would I recommend? I really liked it! The writing style definitely gave me a Fangirl feel to it and Athena is an MC that I definitely fell in love with. She was honest, she was conflicted, she was loyal and she was fun. In her own quirky way, Athena is every girl out there. I was sad to see it end but would absolutely recommend. * * *  ARC provided for an honest review * * * I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. SAFETY INFO: (view spoiler)[ Ages : MCs are in high school. Ages range from 14+ Possible Triggers : bullying, religion, pro-choice, teen pregnancy, mention of sexual activity but no descriptive scenes or details.  (hide spoiler)]

  28. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Cuthbert

    And Athena just thought the hardest thing to do starting out her sophomore year was figuring which buttons would confirm her punk bonafides! Athena Graves is just looking to survive the cloying conformities of her sophomore year of catholic high school when a new guy catches her eye on the first day. But what starts as an opportunity for new and exciting possibilities takes a backseat to a vicious and potentially ruinous rumor, born of petty jealousies, that affects Athena’s sister He And Athena just thought the hardest thing to do starting out her sophomore year was figuring which buttons would confirm her punk bonafides! Athena Graves is just looking to survive the cloying conformities of her sophomore year of catholic high school when a new guy catches her eye on the first day. But what starts as an opportunity for new and exciting possibilities takes a backseat to a vicious and potentially ruinous rumor, born of petty jealousies, that affects Athena’s sister Heather. And while the two are night and day in both personalities and social circles, Athena, Melissa, and a small circle of supporters are not just going to sit idly by. “Rebel Girls” goes back in time to 1992 and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in a throwback but still timely examination of the abortion debate tucked into a YA high school drama. Much of what makes the book enjoyable is the relationship between Athena and Helen. Both are extremely sympathetic characters, made more so by Elizabeth Keenan’s ability at keeping both their own people, able to function independently yet still given enough commonalities that they felt like actual sisters. They don’t have to agree on ideology to be able to work together. She is also great on moving the story along at a brisk, yet satisfying clip. Even at over 400 pages (which might seem a bit longish for a YA novel,) there never was a point where I felt the story sagged or wasted pages. There were some things, however, that nagged at me as I read. Much of the plot did not seem to deviate for me, to a great degree, from the typical “Mean Girls”-like tropes I have read before. While tropes are there for a reason, as they are tried-and-true, with a book entitled “Rebel Girls,” I was hoping for a bit more rebellion then what was ultimately presented in the story. There were also a few characters that felt to me maddeningly one dimensional, especially Leah and Mrs. Turner, the guidance counselor. While I could understand clearly their role to the story, they just, to me, did not come across as very human. In the end though, while there were some issues I had in the ultimate presentation, the overall message of being able to come together, even if you don’t necessarily all agree, is and will always be a worthy and important message. Ideally suited for the 12+ year old crowd and for those who like a time-capsule back to their childhood, “Rebel Girls” is a story that functions like drinking a warm beverage on a winter night. It’s warm, familiar and cozy, and in the end goes down just right. (I received a free copy of this in a Goodreads giveaway and I appreciate the opportunity to leave here a voluntary review.)

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    4.5 stars. Set in 1992, Rebel Girls by Elizabeth Keenan is a thought-provoking young adult novel with a topical, meaningful storyline. Athena Graves is not like her fellow Catholic School peers. She is a pro-choice feminist and would-be riot grrrl. Her best friend Melissa Lemoine shares many of her viewpoints and in fact, she spent part of her summer working to protect patients at a local abortion clinic. School is now back in session and Athena's pro-life beautiful fourteen year old1992, 4.5 stars. Set in 1992, Rebel Girls by Elizabeth Keenan is a thought-provoking young adult novel with a topical, meaningful storyline. Athena Graves is not like her fellow Catholic School peers. She is a pro-choice feminist and would-be riot grrrl. Her best friend Melissa Lemoine shares many of her viewpoints and in fact, she spent part of her summer working to protect patients at a local abortion clinic. School is now back in session and Athena's pro-life beautiful fourteen year old sister Helen is beginning her freshman year. Athena is crushing on new student, Kyle Buchanan, but she is soon distracted when mean-girl Leah Sullivan and her sidekick Aimee stir up trouble by spreading vicious rumors about Helen. Although the sisters are on opposite sides on abortion, they team up with Melissa and Helen's best friends Sara and Jennifer to prevent Helen from being expelled from school. Athena tries to fly under the radar as she navigates the tricky high school waters. She is not part of the "in crowd" despite her lifelong friendship with popular football player Sean Mitchell. Athena has also managed to avoid becoming a target of Sean's girlfriend Leah and she is wary of doing anything to cross her. She works hard to live up to the riot grrrl movement as she tries to be supportive of other girls. But will Athena be able to continue taking the high road when she discovers what Leah is doing to Helen? Helen could not be more different than Athena. She is popular and well-liked with aspirations of becoming a model. The sisters are not close, so initially, Helen does not tell Athena about the rumors Leah is spreading about her. But once Athena learns the truth, will Helen accept her help in salvaging her reputation? Athena, Helen, Melissa and Jennifer must figure out how to get justice without flouting any of the school rules. Their campaign is clever and although their success is limited at first, a vindictive incident aids their cause. Athena finds herself in the crosshairs of their guidance counselor (!) and she is faced with an almost untenable choice as their plan is reaching its denouement. Rebel Girls is a wonderful young adult novel that offers an uplifting and positive portrayal of young women's friendships and tackles both sides of the abortion issue.  The characters are diverse and most of them are three-dimensional and multi-faceted. The exceptions are Leah and Aimee who are  rather one dimensional since they are stereotypical mean girls. The storyline is engaging and well-researched with the time period springing vibrantly to life. Elizabeth Keenan brings this heartwarming novel to a satisfying and realistic conclusion.  I highly recommend this outstanding young adult novel to older teen and adult readers.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    It's 1992 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Athena and her sister Helen are being raised by a single dad who loves them, but works long hours to keep them enrolled in an expensive Catholic high school. The girls spend summers with their absent-minded, pro-choice, feminist college professor mother. Athena, a sophomore over-achiever who prefers not to draw attention to herself, and Helen, a freshman with brains and beauty who has dreams of being a model and strong pro-life views, do not really get alo It's 1992 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Athena and her sister Helen are being raised by a single dad who loves them, but works long hours to keep them enrolled in an expensive Catholic high school. The girls spend summers with their absent-minded, pro-choice, feminist college professor mother. Athena, a sophomore over-achiever who prefers not to draw attention to herself, and Helen, a freshman with brains and beauty who has dreams of being a model and strong pro-life views, do not really get along. Toss in Melissa, Athena's radically pro-choice, political activist BFF, Sean, the boy next door that has been Athena's friend since forever, and Leah, a typical "mean girl" from school who hates the sisters and just happens to be Sean's girlfriend, and you get Rebel Girls. While the book really doesn't live up to its title - the rebellion is pretty minor - it does make some pretty decent points about abortion, bullying, siblings, and girl's friendships. While I did feel some of the action was unrealistic, I didn't feel like there was any more or less need for suspension of my disbelief than for any other fiction novel. From the blurb I anticipated that there would be more in-depth discussion of the Riot Grrrl movement than there actually was. Sure, Athena had some internal dialog where she mentioned wanting to be a Riot Grrrl as adhere to Riot Grrrl principles, but the ideas weren't fully explained or developed. I did, however, appreciate that Athena tried to take the high road when it came to retaliation for the bullying her sister endured. Overall, this is a good solid YA read. I was entertained, but not enthralled. One caveat, although the discussion of abortion and religion was supposed to present both sides, I definitely felt like it had more of a pro-choice slant and at times the book felt a little anti-religion. (There were a couple super religious characters who were sympathetic and fair, but most were presented as being inflexible, intolerant, power hungry, and vindictive.) Disclaimer: I received a free electronic copy of this book from Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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