Girlcott
From the back cover:"Even in paradise revolutions can be inconvenient things.A week ago, Desma Johnson had only two things on her mind. In exactly eight days, she would be sixteen years old. And, to top it off, she was in line for a top scholarship, bringing her one step closer to her dreams. Life was perfect and nothing would get in the way of her birthday plans. But its 1959 and the secret Progressive League has just announced a boycott of all cinemas in Bermuda in order to end racial segregation.As anxieties around the boycott build, Desma becomes increasingly aware of the racial tensions casting a dire shadow over the island. Neighbours she once thought were friendly and supportive begin to show another side. So, Desma must learn that change is never easy, and even when others expect small things from black girls, she has the right to dream big.In this startling debut, Florenz Webbe Maxwell takes a little known fact about Caribbean history and weaves an engaging tale that speaks eloquently to the contemporary experience. Girlcott takes you beyond the image of Bermuda as a piece of paradise and charts a narrative of resistance, hope and the importance of fighting for change.Girlcott won a Burt Award for Caribbean Literature (2016) prize."

Girlcott Details

TitleGirlcott
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 15th, 2017
PublisherBlouse & Skirt Books
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Historical, Historical Fiction

Girlcott Review

  • Angie
    January 1, 1970
    Between 3.5 and 4. Great themes that are sadly still important today and lost on so many. It's great that this is YA and intended to stir that age group into not simply accepting things as they are, but to really examine and question societal norms, attitudes, laws, etc. The protagonist is well-written and feels authentically sixteen, which is not something that can often be said in YA. The secondary characters could've been a little more fleshed out. Some smaller plot points seemed to have fizz Between 3.5 and 4. Great themes that are sadly still important today and lost on so many. It's great that this is YA and intended to stir that age group into not simply accepting things as they are, but to really examine and question societal norms, attitudes, laws, etc. The protagonist is well-written and feels authentically sixteen, which is not something that can often be said in YA. The secondary characters could've been a little more fleshed out. Some smaller plot points seemed to have fizzled out without much resolution, but the main plot around the boycott was quite well done. I almost think it could've been a tad longer to tie things up a bit better. This book does an especially great job at highlighting the way we must question everything and not simply let things go if they're not causing an immediate problem for us as individuals. Desma learns to see through fresh eyes and comes to understand that not all is what she assumed, and that sometimes taking a stand is necessary, even if that means sacrificing order. I received an advance copy from the publisher for an honest review.
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  • Krystal
    January 1, 1970
    OMG! This engaging YA historical fiction novel exceeded my expectations! I was unaware of Bermuda's history of segregation before so Florenz Webbe Maxwell continues to right wrongs!
  • Michelle Frumkin
    January 1, 1970
    Girlcott tells the story of the 1959 Theatre Boycott in Bermuda, a grass roots rebellion aimed at ending racial segregation on the island. The highly secretive Progressive Group leads the boycott of the theatre, where blacks and whites have separate seating areas. The loss of business means a huge loss in revenue, but the goals go beyond simple dollars and cents. The idea is to end segregation on this superficially island paradise.The novel, aimed at young adults, is told through the eyes of her Girlcott tells the story of the 1959 Theatre Boycott in Bermuda, a grass roots rebellion aimed at ending racial segregation on the island. The highly secretive Progressive Group leads the boycott of the theatre, where blacks and whites have separate seating areas. The loss of business means a huge loss in revenue, but the goals go beyond simple dollars and cents. The idea is to end segregation on this superficially island paradise.The novel, aimed at young adults, is told through the eyes of heroine Desma Johnson, a 16-year-old feeling the shame of racial segregation for the first time. Desma first sees the boycott as an inconvenience. She had planned her birthday party at the theatre! But in a very short time, this smart and kind-hearted teenager has a very difficult awakening. Desma learns how racism in Bermuda has kept people down, even in her own family. For the first time, she discovers the tragic story of her own grandfather, who lost everything after doing nothing more than standing up for himself. She herself loses a scholarship that would have allowed her to pay for college when the powers that be decided it cannot go to a black girl. But inspired by events around her, Desma bravely decides to take a stand. She chooses to celebrate her birthday by leading classmates to a Girlcott, joining protesters at the theatre. Mrs. Maxwell drew on her own experience as a member of the Progressive Group to write Girlcott. I couldn't help cheering on Desma! Super book!
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  • Ginny Lurcock
    January 1, 1970
    Oh goodness, this was such a good and important book.I can never know what it's like to be a black woman. That's just the nature of life. I will never know how it feels to be looked down on for the color of my skin. To have doors closed in my face. For people to act as if I was not human. But, by reading well-written books by black women about black characters and the struggles they face, I can get a glimpse of what they've gone through.Girlcott is a stunning example of this. By reading through Oh goodness, this was such a good and important book.I can never know what it's like to be a black woman. That's just the nature of life. I will never know how it feels to be looked down on for the color of my skin. To have doors closed in my face. For people to act as if I was not human. But, by reading well-written books by black women about black characters and the struggles they face, I can get a glimpse of what they've gone through.Girlcott is a stunning example of this. By reading through Desma's experience of learning exactly what racism and segregation mean as she leaves her childhood behind, I got to see her world. I could read about her pain. My heart broke and I wanted to cry, choking on ugly black emotions and my own white guilt. But it's necessary to feel those things. It's necessary to know, even if I can never fully KNOW.(You know?)It reminds me why we have to keep fighting for equality. It reminds me why I cannot stay silent and complicit in racism. In summation, Girlcott was astounding. Well crafted with touching characters waking up to the injustice around them and going through troubled times to make their world a better place. How much more can you ask for in a book?
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  • Michelle Kidwell
    January 1, 1970
    Girlcottby Florenz Webbe MaxwellBlue Banyan BooksBlouse & Skirt BooksHistorical Fiction , Teens & YAPub Date 15 Sep 2017 I am reviewing a copy of Girlcott through Blue Banyan Books/Blouse & Skirt Books and Netgalley:Just a week and a day ago Desma Johnson had only two things on her mind, in eight days she would be sixteen and she was inline for a top scholarship getting her closer to her dream. But it's 1959 and the Secret Progressive League has announced that they were going to Boyc Girlcottby Florenz Webbe MaxwellBlue Banyan BooksBlouse & Skirt BooksHistorical Fiction , Teens & YAPub Date 15 Sep 2017 I am reviewing a copy of Girlcott through Blue Banyan Books/Blouse & Skirt Books and Netgalley:Just a week and a day ago Desma Johnson had only two things on her mind, in eight days she would be sixteen and she was inline for a top scholarship getting her closer to her dream. But it's 1959 and the Secret Progressive League has announced that they were going to Boycott all cinemas in Bermuda in an effort to end racial segregation.Desma Johnson is determined to study for the exams so she can go to college and become an actuary. As the events around the Boycott start building up, racial tension becomes more and more evident.This book shows us that in the not so distant past, whites and blacks and Bermuda's lived separate, very segregated lives, but Desma the courageous young character in this book is determined to show that she is as worthy as her peers, and deserves a chance to go to college.I give GirlCott five out of five stars!Happy Reading!
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  • Sara Westhead
    January 1, 1970
    Excellent read for middle and high school students! Mrs. Maxwell's tale brings to an important moment in Bermuda's history to life through the eyes of (almost) 16 year old Desma, who suddenly and harshly has her eyes open to the racial segregation she's been experiencing her whole life, but did not realize it because it was the 'norm'. This book should be required reading of ALL children in Bermuda, and is highly recommended for anyone interested in the battle for racial equality in the British Excellent read for middle and high school students! Mrs. Maxwell's tale brings to an important moment in Bermuda's history to life through the eyes of (almost) 16 year old Desma, who suddenly and harshly has her eyes open to the racial segregation she's been experiencing her whole life, but did not realize it because it was the 'norm'. This book should be required reading of ALL children in Bermuda, and is highly recommended for anyone interested in the battle for racial equality in the British colonies and Caribbean.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    A coming of age story told in the voice of sixteen-year-old Desma sheds light on desegregation in Bermuda during the year 1959. This story was certainly relatable to students of United States history and particularly poignant during our country's current events. Desma vascillates between a focus on ehr upcoming birthday and the resulting party, her schooling and intended career, and a growing awareness of her place, real and percieved, in the world.Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to r A coming of age story told in the voice of sixteen-year-old Desma sheds light on desegregation in Bermuda during the year 1959. This story was certainly relatable to students of United States history and particularly poignant during our country's current events. Desma vascillates between a focus on ehr upcoming birthday and the resulting party, her schooling and intended career, and a growing awareness of her place, real and percieved, in the world.Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this digital ARC in return for a fair and honest review.
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  • Adiba Jaigirdar
    January 1, 1970
    Despite writing an entire dissertation on Caribbean literature, I'm unfortunately not as well-versed in Caribbean history as I'd like to be. Which is why I had no idea about the historic Bermudian theatre boycott until I stumbled upon this book. There was a lot that I enjoyed about the book. I loved the protagonist, Desma, and her personality. I thought she was incredibly realistic in that she cared far more about her 16th birthday party than desegregation. Or even that she seemed ignorant about Despite writing an entire dissertation on Caribbean literature, I'm unfortunately not as well-versed in Caribbean history as I'd like to be. Which is why I had no idea about the historic Bermudian theatre boycott until I stumbled upon this book. There was a lot that I enjoyed about the book. I loved the protagonist, Desma, and her personality. I thought she was incredibly realistic in that she cared far more about her 16th birthday party than desegregation. Or even that she seemed ignorant about segregation itself, seeming to accept society as it was. She only begins to question things when the white family she babysits for suddenly begins to spit hate towards her because she turned down their job offer, and in lieu of the rumours of the theatre boycott. Desma's gradual understanding of segregation in Bermuda, and the importance of the boycott was also presented realistically. Desma, as a character, had a great character arc.Unfortunately, everything else in the book that wasn't Desma, or the plot of the theatre boycott, was totally lacking. The characters were underdeveloped, as were various plot points. So when they were resolved, or when Desma interacted with other characters, it felt completely flat and one-dimensional. The dialogue and prose was also quite clumsy, and often felt forced - or even a bit redundant and condescending. Just because it's a kids book, doesn't mean you need to overexplain or talk down to your audience. All in all, I did enjoy certain things about the book, but the writing, characters, and subplots ultimately hindered much of my enjoyment.Read a full review of the book here.
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