The Radical Element: 12 Stories of Daredevils, Debutantes & Other Dauntless Girls

320p. Candlewick. Mar. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780763694258.
Gr 7 Up— This historical fiction anthology features stories set from the early-1800s to the 1980s about radical young women from different religions, backgrounds, socioeconomic groups, abilities, races and ethnicities, sexual orientations, and cultures. Additionally, not one protagonist is quite like the other in her "radicalness." Each story has an unique voice and tone, appealing to a variety of readers. Particular standouts are Dhonielle Clayton's "When the Moonlight Isn’t Enough" and Marieke Nijkamp's "Better for All the World." Clayton tells the story of an African American family who has discovered the secret to immortality. They have lived for over a century, consistently leaving the country in times of war in order to avoid assisting in any war efforts. Nijkamp focuses on Carrie Allen, a young woman with autism and aspirations to become a lawyer in the late 1920s. She takes on the case of Carrie Buck, a woman who has been deemed unfit to reproduce and will be sterilized. Nijkamp sheds light through the eyes of someone who would likely be considered unfit to reproduce by her society, bringing an honesty and pain to the story. After each entry, the author adds a note detailing her personal connection, historical details and facts, and additional sources. While the entries themselves are all fictional, they are set against the backdrop of American history, highlighting issues that have not been readily represented. This collection is extremely informative, intersectional, and inspirational, and will be sure to spark dialogue.
VERDICT Recommended for all young adult collections.

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