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A Tyranny of Petticoats: 15 Stories of Belles, Bank Robbers & Other Badass Girls Hardcover – March 8, 2016
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"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Fifteen notable YA authors come together to write enthralling short historical narratives starring ambitious young women. The contributors include Leslye Walton, Marie Lu, Beth Revis, Elizabeth Wein, Kekla Magoon, and Robin Talley. The stories are arranged chronologically—from British North America in 1710 to Chicago in 1968—and address several eras in American history. Throughout, strong female leads have resilient motives and less than genteel demeanors. In addition, there are no happily ever after endings, but most do leave room for hope. Topics range from societal expectations to racial issues to less than eligible suitors to sexuality to women's contributions to historical movements. Furthermore, most stories are woven with various folklore and myths and are inspired by real people or events. Each entry is strong on its own, and the characters' voices are unique in each tale. Teens will be hard-pressed to choose a favorite, and even those who are not fans of historical fiction might find a genre-blended tale worth reading. Overall, the pacing for each selection is steady, and the conclusions have enough punch to make the characters and their situations memorable. VERDICT A must-buy. This collection will be sure to spark an interest in anyone who wants to indulge in strong and introspective young women living in a variety of historical time periods.—Briana Moore, School Library Journal
Brassy bank robbers, brave trailblazers, and ball-busting débutantes make all sorts of noise in this collection of 15 stories...Each individual story is thoroughly researched, and each includes an author's note explaining the context. The heroines are tough and memorable and full of heart, and the concept is irresistible. Stock up—this one will practically sell itself.
—Booklist (starred review)
Fifteen notable YA authors come together to write enthralling short historical narratives starring ambitious young women...Each entry is strong on its own, and the characters’ voices are unique in each tale. Teens will be hard-pressed to choose a favorite, and even those who are not fans of historical fiction might find a genre-blended tale worth reading. Overall, the pacing for each selection is steady, and the conclusions have enough punch to make the characters and their situations memorable. A must-buy. This collection will be sure to spark an interest in anyone who wants to indulge in strong and introspective young women living in a variety of historical time periods.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
These energizing, adventurous, and occasionally somber tales will readily please fans of historical fiction.
There is range and balance in tone, voice, and approach, a challenge for anthologies. Placing the stories in historical order allows readers to move smoothly through, and a helpful author's note follows each selection. Readers of historical fiction and adventure need look no further.
Fifteen short stories by notable YA female writers move across the U.S. in geography and time, from a seafaring adventure in 1710 to the search for gold in Alaska in 1898 to the civil rights movements of the 1960s...this anthology moves skillfully between humor and thoughtfulness as it traverses the many paths taken by women throughout American history.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"A Tyranny of Petticoats" provides adventure and entrée to other times and worlds. This anthology doesn't just spotlight the experience of white girls—it also emphasizes the roles of girls and women of color.
These are adventurous, historical, tough, and memorable heroes…and they are all female. This title would be a great historical fiction addition to school libraries with its strong plotlines and strong female characters.
—School Library Connection
Overall this collection serves not just to entertain and educate young adults. It also seeks to place their own experiences on a spectrum of teen contributions to history. And, at its best, “A Tyranny of Petticoats” motivates young readers to pick up where these characters left off and to keep living — and creating — their own stories.
No two stories are alike. No two characters either. No two settings for that matter, as these stories crisscross the continent. But if you’re looking for role models for young women, you’re bound to find something here to like.
—B&N Teen Blog
Top customer reviews
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It wasn't that the stories weren't technically good; they were all very well written and very interesting stories and each one brought a little something different to the table. It was just that most of the stories were SO depressing or had some kind of depressing element to them. Some started off with some kind of trauma, others ended with some kind of trauma. Some had characters who were struggling with themselves as well as the world around them, which can be really good and really nice to read. But I think part of the problem I had with that in these stories was that they were short stories, so there wasn't enough time for the characters to really find happiness or for me to get distance between the sadness and the happiness. So many of the stories just left me feeling awful and I kept feeling like the stories all had some element of sadness to them, even if nothing bad happened or if the characters felt okay at the end. It seemed to me like the writers all thought "You know what? Things really sucked for women in history and since we're writing historical fiction, things have to be sad for our heroines." It was just thoroughly upsetting to read such depressing stories when the basis of the book had so much potential!
Don't get me wrong, there were some stories that I really liked. My favorite by far was "The Legendary Garrett Girls;" I love seeing clever, inventive girls getting out of tough situations using their wiles (and getting revenge in the process!). I also really liked High Stakes, Pearls, Gold in the Roots of the Grass, Bonnie <I>and</I> Clyde, and Pulse of the Panthers. But the other stories just left me feeling kind of empty afterwards.
I will say that this anthology has some things really going for it. A lot of the main characters are girls of color, and they're not all the same ethnicity, which I really appreciated. They're also not all interested in romance or in men, and that was really refreshing. I liked all of the representation and that was one of the things that really pulled me in when I first learned about that element.
I also really liked the range of history that the stories covered. At first I thought that this was only going to take place during the 17-1800s, but it actually went as far as 1968, so you get really diverse periods in history to see.
Overall, I just felt that the overall tone of this book was depressing. I want to read the next one, especially because I'm excited about some of the authors who will be contributing, and I'm hoping that they won't leave me feeling as let down as I did by this set.
Trigger warnings for some sexual situations, implied sexual assault, racism, and death.
The stories deal with female oppression in society and star young women who break out of the mold of their assigned roles. They're pretty cool. Cross-dressing bank robbers, Civil War spies, controllers of life and death, ghost-seeing farm-rescuers, etc.
As to be expected in any anthology, some stories were huge hits with me and others were not. The misses seemed to be a little higher than the hits. But what stories I did like, I liked a lot. Despite being written by YA authors, several of the stories felt more adult than YA. And a few just felt really aimless and out of place. It's hard to tell who the real target audience is for this anthology.
There are a lot of uncomfortable situations in the book to put our heroines in danger, but some seemed ridiculously unnecessary. Robin Talley's short story about 1960's protesters was the last one in the anthology and had the Black main character get clubbed by a police officer as a plot device for her white girlfriend to save her. Left a very, very bad taste in my mouth, and it was an awful way to end an otherwise fun book.
Stories I did like a lot:
- El Destinos by Leslye Walton (Three Fates from Greek mythology reincarnated as Latina sisters in Texas)
- Pearls by Beth Revis (trigger warning for implied rape - Chicago socialite escapes marriage to become a teacher in Wyoming)
- Bonnie and Clyde by Saundra Mitchell (girl dresses up as male bank robber to play Robin Hood for her family and neighbors)
- Lindsay Smith's City of Angels (Casablanca-ish F/F about an aspiring actress and playwright meeting in a factory during WW2. And if you've seen Casablanca, you know how this ends, so heads up)
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