Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Jessica Spotswood
Publisher: Candlewick Press
A compilation of 15 short stories about American women, A Tyranny of Petticoats features tough, brave, practical female characters from time periods spanning the early 1700’s to 1968. Each created by a different YA author, the characters run the gamut from pirates to protesters, belles to bank robbers, students, teachers, sisters and supernatural beings. An unsparing portrait of women’s often-neglected place in history, the stories also highlight each character’s determination to make her own story whatever the opposition.
Thoroughly enjoyable, A Tyranny of Petticoats has something for everyone. The diversity of character, voice, and subject material is interesting and eye-opening, and many of the notes each author includes share historical references for further reading, should readers cultivate an interest in the history the stories explore. While not shying away from the harsher realities of life in decades and centuries past, the stories written by these supremely talented YA authors are fresh, funny, and often plain uplifting. Readers will find it easy to relate to the characters as they face their challenges in realistic and inspiring ways, and will be encouraged to do likewise with issues still challenging women and society today. Recommended for mature readers who want to read good stories about girls.
*Contains some graphic violence and ideologically sensitive material; a couple of the stories; “City of Angels” and “The Whole World is Watching;” feature lesbian main characters without explicit content.