Click here to see all of the current Quick Picks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
Rules for Being a Girl by Candace Bushnell and Katie Cotugno
Balzer + Bray / HarperCollins
Publication Date: April 7, 2020
Marin is confused and angry when her favorite teacher, Mr. Beckett, tries to kiss her. Upon reporting his bad behavior to the principal, Marin is further harassed and ostracized by classmates. Even her best friend, Chloe, suggests that perhaps Marin encouraged Beckett’s advances. Marin begins to push back against a host of unfair–and often unspoken–rules for being a girl, but will others join her crusade?
This is a fast-paced, engaging story that offers an approachable introduction to current issues like the #metoo movement. Marin is an authentic character, ambitious and confident one minute, but left shaken and ashamed by her teacher’s actions and her friends’ responses. The authors do a good job of pulling readers into the drama and tension of Marin’s situation. Ultimately, this is an inspiring tale of Marin’s feminist awakening, and her introdcution to topics like intersectional feminism. It also encourages readers to find their own voice, as Marin does through her newspaper editorials and her participation in a feminist book club. There’s a dash of romance, but it serves to further Marin’s self-discovery, as she begins to reevaluate who she trusts and whose company she really wants to keep.
Hand this to readers who enjoy stories of gender-based social justice, including Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu, or The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed. Teens ready for a deeper and more diverse engagement with feminist issues should take a look at Watch Us Rise by Renee Watson, and I Am Change by Suzy Zail.
–Kathleen J. Barker