Spoiler-Free Review of The Radical Element

I received an early copy of this book from the publisher via Library Thing in exchange for an honest review.

A while back I received an ARC of The Radical Element edited by Jessica Spotswood which is a collection of historical fiction short stories that focus on dauntless girls in history. Overall I gave this 4/5 stars, but here are my individual thoughts on each story.

Daughter of the Book by Dahlia Adler: 4/5 ⭐️
This story I found to be really interesting because I've never read anything with a Jewish main character and I really liked having a look into the religion. I thought this was a sweet little story about going for your dreams and I enjoyed it.

You're a Stranger Here by Mackenzi Lee: 3/5 ⭐️
I'm a big Mackenzi Lee fan but I was surprised at how much I didn't like this story. I just didn't find it to be interesting and couldn't get into it at any point in time, but I did partially enjoy it because I do love Mackenzi's writing style.

The Magician by Erin Bowman: 4/5 ⭐️
This was a nice little story that I thought did a great job showing how unfair it was to be a woman back in history because of the ignorance of others. This followed a girl who was disguised as a boy for almost all her life and how she's working to find her true family, and I very much liked it.

Lady Firebrand by Megan Shepherd: 4/5 ⭐️
This story really stood out to me because the main character was disabled and you don't see that very often. I liked this because it's a perfect example of how girls can do way more than society thinks, even if they're stuck in a wheelchair.

Step Right Up by Jessica Spotswood: 5/5 ⭐️
This was my favorite in the collection and it makes me want to read more by this author. This story had so much in it that was to love from the main character to the humor and to the overall story. I just loved how it was written and feeling that was behind the story.

Glamour by Anna-Marie McLemore: 3/5 ⭐️
This story confused me a little bit which is why I didn't like it as much as the others. I enjoyed it but when big details were revealed with no build up I found myself wondering if I had missed something, but overall it was a nice read.

Better for All the World by Marieke Nijkamp: 4/5 ⭐️
This story I really liked because, from what I gathered, the main character had anxiety or something of that sorts and I just loved the representation it brought with it. It follows a girl following a court case that is arguing for a woman to be unrightfully sterilized and I just found the story to be so interesting.

When the Moonlight Isn't Enough by Dhonielle Clayton: 4/5 ⭐️
This was a nice little story with a bit of fantasy thrown in that I really enjoyed. It shows more about how girls were underestimated but deserved so much more and how one girl fought against her parents to do what she knew was right.

The Belle of the Ball by Sarvenaz Tash: 4/5 ⭐️
I liked this cute little story because it followed an aspiring writer who wanted to create episodes for shows like I Love Lucy someday and even more so wanted to prove a man wrong when hearing him say that women aren't funny.

Land of the Sweet, Home of the Brave by Stacey Lee: 4/5 ⭐️
This was another story with great representation that also featured the main character putting some very ignorant girls back in their place. It was an enjoyable story about going for what you want to go for even in the outcome may be scary.

The Birth of Susi Go-Go by Meg Medina: 3/5 ⭐️
This story was very well written and had a great story to it, but I just personally didn't find it that interesting. Although it wasn't something for me, it was a very nicely written piece that spoke about being who you want to be.

Take Me With U by Sara Farizan: 3/5 ⭐️
This final story was just like the previous one. I enjoyed reading it and the story but it just wasn't very interesting to me. It had a nice story, but the thing that made me like it the most was the casual LGBT representation that was thrown in at the end.


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