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The Reinvention of Moxie Roosevelt


The Reinvention of Moxie Roosevelt

There is always talk in teen and tween novels about kids wanting to reinvent themselves, but rarely does a book for those age groups look at the variety of ways in which one can do just that. So along comes Elizabeth Cody Kimmel’s THE REINVENTION OF MOXIE ROOSEVELT, and the YA reinvention novel is born.

Granted, Kimmel uses a time-worn device to help Moxie along on her new adventure --- having her leave a conventional school for boarding school. And, since she is 13 and of a mind for introspection, Moxie determines that it is high time she become something more than she is at the moment. Going to a new school, meeting new kids, being in a place where none of her past has to follow her unless she wants it to, Moxie decides to try on a variety of emotional disguises and pose as something more than the Moxie Roosevelt everyone knows at home.

Kimmel doesn’t waste her time giving you a sense of the place and time in which this is going on. The little details she uses in describing the Eaton Academy could place it anywhere from a contemporary school with long-standing traditions in privileged academia to a Dickensian outpost for bright, rich kids. It is the inner housing of these characters that she attends to with vigor and humor, and it is in that lighted part of her ever-expanding soul that we get to see the real Moxie Roosevelt.

“There’s no place like home” or “Wherever you go, there you are” are tired maxims that you could boil this story down to, if you didn’t notice the ferocity of direct and non-flowery language that Kimmel uses to build the new architecture of Moxie’s attempts at a new personality. It’s clear that Kimmel gets her character enough to be able to stand apart from her and tell her story with clarity and comedy, a combination that can never be beat when it comes to young readers at this age. Moxie makes friends with a lot of different types of kids, none of whom can be batched into one particular group or another. Neither can she, ultimately, but the way she gets there is very entertaining.

THE REINVENTION OF MOXIE ROOSEVELT is a bright, charming book about someone who could be living under your roof right now --- a normal, everyday kid who is about to learn the most important lesson in life (one best learned early, too). Like Popeye, you are what you are, to paraphrase, and Moxie’s travels towards that realization make for a quick page-turner, perfect for that end-of-summer reading for kids.

Reviewed by Jana Siciliano on June 9, 2011

The Reinvention of Moxie Roosevelt
by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel

  • Publication Date: June 9, 2011
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin
  • ISBN-10: 0142418706
  • ISBN-13: 9780142418703