Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Bad Girls Never Say Die

 

Author: Jennifer Mathieu

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s 

Year: 2021

This is a gender flipped reimagining of S.E. Hinton’s classic The Outsiders. Set in Houston in the mid 1960s, we have a group of “bad girls” instead of the “greasers”. The girls are from the poor side of town. They’re not particularly interested in school. They’re tough, loud, and trying to rebel against society’s expectations of what a proper young woman should be. The “socs” in this novel are called the “tea sippers”. They are the rich kids who seem to have everything handed to them on a plate. The girls wear fashionable twin sets, discreet makeup and are raised to be demure young ladies. 


One night at the drive-in, Evie, the youngest of her bad girl clique, gets caught in a dangerous situation only to be saved by tea sipper Diane. An unlikely friendship is forged when the grateful Evie learns that Diane now lives on the wrong side of the tracks. Evie introduces Diane to her group and she is grudging accepted by Connie, the leader of the pack. 


Evie and Diane become close friends and Diane reveals she was thrown out of her house after her parents discovered her romance with bad boy Johnny, Connie’s brother. I don’t want to give away all the major plot points, so I’ll say the girls accept Diane for who she is and choose to help and support her. They all realize they have more in common than they realized, that girls should support and lift each other up, and that toughness and courage can be disguised by a smart sweater set. Evie learns she deserves the space and the time to figure out who she is and what she wants instead of society and grownups telling what she should be. 


Author Jennifer Mathieu excels at stories about girls taking on the patriarchy. Her novel Moxie is one of my favorites. This novel covers a lot of heavy territory including racism, abuse, poverty, misogyny, and how there was a time when girls had no voice or choices. 


I loved Evie and her girl gang. Teen readers will connect with these fierce girls who are tired of being looked down upon for being different and wanting more out of life. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan’s Children’s for the digital review copy. 

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