Title: A Tyranny of Petticoats
Editor: Jessica Spotswood
Authors: J. Anderson Coats, Andrea Cremer, Y. S. Lee, Katherine Longshore, Marie Lu, Kekla Magoon, Marissa Meyer, Saundra Mitchell, Beth Revis, Caroline Richmond, Lindsay Smith, Jessica Spotswood, Robin Talley, Leslye Walton, Elizabeth Wein
Release Date: March 8, 2016
Criss-cross America — on dogsleds and ships, stagecoaches and trains — from pirate ships off the coast of the Carolinas to the peace, love, and protests of 1960's Chicago. Join fifteen of today's most talented writers of young adult literature on a thrill ride through history with American girls charting their own course. They are monsters and mediums, bodyguards and barkeeps, screenwriters and schoolteachers, heiresses and hobos. They're making their own way in often-hostile lands, using every weapon in their arsenals, facing down murderers and marriage proposals. And they all have a story to tell.
A Tyranny of Petticoats is a collection of strong young girls, of girls acting on their thoughts and beliefs, helping others, saving others, rescuing themselves. Stories of, at the point in time in which they take place, regular girls trying to find their places in an often harsh and limiting world.
It's a rare anthology where I find something to like about every story. I think it's because in their own way, each main character is a smart young woman. These stories are all about girls taking chances, making hard choices, saying yes when people tell them to say no, saying no when people tell them to say yes, to shut up and look pretty. When they should just listen to what their fathers say, what strange men say, what society says. These are stories about girls who struggle, girls who fight back, girls who aren't afraid to scream and cry and shout.
What's smart about this book is how more than half of the stories have main characters who aren't white, who are African-American, Mexican, Inuit, or Chinese. America wasn't just built by white people, by rich people. It's those forgotten young people, those runaway slaves, those hard-working farmers, crafters, and hunters that also made America. History is, has been, will be, white-washed. These are the stories that should be discussed, that shouldn't be tossed aside just because of the colour of the narrator's skin.
The idea of this anthology is genius. It highlights the stories of girls often forgotten or ignored by history, the spaces they navigated or were kept from, the secrets they kept in order to keep themselves hidden or alive. The struggles they had to prove their worth. I certainly think that this anthology came about at the right time, considering the recent resurgence of feminism and the ongoing struggle for women in the United States. Collections of stories like these validate the thoughts and feelings of young girls and women. It shows that they can be contrary, they can be rough, they can hide, they can run. They can be pirates and monsters. Definitely a must-read.
(I borrowed an e-book copy of this title from the library.)