BOOK CLUB: Rules for Being a Girl

Author: Katie Cotugno and Candace Bushnell
ISBN: 9781529036084
Pub Date: 14/04/2020
Imprint: Macmillan Children’s Books

As a young adult fiction novel I found this book to be very engaging and completely different from any other YA novels I have read.  Katie Cotugno and Candace Bushnell have captured such an important subject in such a thought-provoking way.

Marin is a 17 year old high school student working hard at her grades, aspiring to be a journalist.   With her best friend Chloe they spend most of their spare time working on the school paper being co-editors, they are supervised by their favourite and very likeable teacher Mr. Beckett who all the students call Bex. He is a young, friendly, very sociable and is very open about his private life.  The girls are very captivated by the stories. Bex offers Marin a ride home from school after working on the paper and before she gets out of the car he leans over and kisses her without her consent. Marin is shocked over Bex’s unwanted and unwelcome behaviour and wonders what she did to deserve it.  

Marin knew she could not ignore the sexual harassment; she had to be assertive and establish strong personal boundaries and speak her truth even though she may suffer a backlash.  When Marin reported the incident her best friend Chloe, students, and school personnel turned a deaf ear. Her only support was from her mother and grandmother who encouraged her to fight for her injustice.    

Marin refuses to back down until Mr Beckett faces the consequences and writes an article for the school paper titled, ‘Rules for Being a Girl’ and starts a feminist book club as she is tired of girls being victimised, degraded, and dismissed.  She knew there were multiple possibilities for conflict of interest in speaking up about the sexual harassment and not something young people need to learn to tolerate, rather it must be confronted and stopped so that the school could be safe and positive place for students.

Regardless of your age this is a great read and I highly recommend if you have a young teenage daughter please let her read this book, it gets the message across about sexual harassment not being the victim’s fault, nor is it a reflection on them, that it is unacceptable and students continue to seek help and fight for justice in the best interests of all.

Thanks to B&L and Pan Macmillan AU for read and review.

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