I just finished The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King. (Read it, it's good.) But before I post my review, I have to get something off my chest; a specific something about the kick-@$$ girl pirates that seem both ubiquitous and all too rare in YA fiction.
I'm pretty sure you all know what I'm talking about. How about Jacky Faber in L.A. Meyer's Bloody Jack novels (which I have already professed both my love and my hatred for), or Deryn in Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan? She may not be a pirate, but she very much fits into the girl-disguised-as-boy type. The girls that lament the place of girls in history, the tomboy type that just can't get away with the mischief they'd like to because of all those dang rules meant to keep girls in line.
Forever Young Adult's post about what's missing in YA.) Trust me, I'm not saying girls didn't have it rough. But let's remember that our modern standards are entirely different than those of the 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, heck, even the 20th century. Different than pretty much any century, actually. Like in any case of terrible oppression, people learn to deal. Women were considered to have their own strengths, "the woman's way" of hardcore flirting and being witty and basically getting men to do what they want them to do. While it's most definitely not YA, this is why I love The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory - she really captured what a woman's life was like back in those days.
But still. While many women did *escape* from the chains of their circumstances, it wasn't common, and often the people who frowned upon them the most were other women. Teens grew up fast back then, and everyone was expected to know and make the best of their place in society. I think there's a lot that exploring that mentality could teach us today. So take note, writers!
Have you read any really hard-hitting historical YA from a girl's perspective lately? (I thought about including Octavian Nothing in this post for its fantastic insights into the racial divide, but I decided to focus on gender for now.) I'm always on the lookout for the good stuff, but unfortunately, it's very difficult to satisfy a total history geek like me. If you know of any favorite titles, however, please share in the comments!