Review: The Radical Element by Various

The Radical Element by Jessica Spotswood (editor), Anna-Marie McLemore, Sarvenaz Tash, Sara Farizan, Marieke Nijkamp, Meg Medina, Erin Bowman, Stacey Lee, Mackenzi Lee, Dhonielle Clayton, Dahlia Adler
 A Tyranny of Petticoats #2
Genre: YA Historical
Publication: March 13th 2018 by Candlewick Press
Format: ARC (thank you, Candlewick!)

In an anthology of revolution and resistance, a sisterhood of YA writers shines a light on a century and a half of heroines on the margins and in the intersections.

To respect yourself, to love yourself—should not have to be a radical decision. And yet it remains as challenging for an American girl to make today as it was in 1927 on the steps of the Supreme Court. It’s a decision that must be faced whether you’re balancing on the tightrope of neurodivergence, finding your way as a second-generation immigrant, or facing down American racism even while loving America. And it’s the only decision when you’ve weighed society’s expectations and found them wanting. In The Radical Element, twelve of the most talented writers working in young adult literature today tell the stories of the girls of all colors and creeds standing up for themselves and their beliefs—whether that means secretly learning Hebrew in early Savannah, using the family magic to pass as white in 1920s Hollywood, or singing in a feminist punk band in 1980s Boston. And they’re asking you to join them.


I’m starting to think that anthologies are just Not For Me. The past few anthologies that I’ve read had good content, but I just haven’t been into them as much as I wish I had. That being said, THE RADICAL ELEMENT contains amazing short stories from stellar YA authors.

These twelve short stories are diverse in so many ways – there’s queer people, people of color, people with disabilities – I found myself in a few characters, especially in Stacey Lee’s short story. A lot of short stories in this are set in a historical time period, most of which are in the twentieth century, such as the Roaring 20s, World War II, and others. If you enjoy historical fiction, you are bound to love this collection of stories.

Overall, I do think that I’m starting to lose interest in short stories in general and perhaps historical fiction isn’t for me. However, I’m an intersectional feminist, and I related with many of these stories. I appreciate the wonderful diversity by #ownvoices authors that were featured in this short story collection. If you want to read more diversely from some amazing authors in this historical fiction anthology, be sure to pick this one up!

Thank you to Candlewick for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


alice name.pngAlice is an 18 year old college student who loves the oxford comma, television shows, and the company of dogs. She finds writing in the third person odd yet enjoyable. You can find her scrolling through Twitter, Instagram, and forever organizing her shelves on Goodreads.


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Are you planning to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!


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