An English Boy in New York by T.S. Easton

Genre: YA contemporary
Secondary genre: knit lit
Format read: ebook
Series: Boys Don’t Knit (in Public) vol 2
Content Warnings: mentions of weight/diet, sexism
Rating: planchet-3

I read the first book in this series ages ago, but my library never purchased the 2nd book. Thankfully, now that I live in Seattle, I have access to a whole other library system!

I can’t tell you too much about the plot without giving away book one, but suffice to say that our main character, Ben, is a British-born teen knitter, who has won a trip to New York City. Traveling with his parents (who are hilarious, by the way), and a friend, Ben is in and out of trouble all week–and accidentally sets himself up for failure when he claims to knit faster than a machine…during a radio interview.

This whole series is funny and light, but my biggest pet peeve is that it is NOT well researched. You can’t knit a whole sweater in one piece on straight needles. You can’t buy yarn and needles at Bloomingdales (American department stores are very different from UK/European department stores), and you can’t knit a men’s sweater in 1 hour, even if you are using size 10 needles.

I do, however, like the way that Ben subverts tropes and expectations. He’s still a pretty typical teenage boy, he just happens to knit. He’s also super sweet (and he needs better friends).

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

Genre: YA contemporary
Format: hard copy
Content warnings: sexism, mentions of sexual assault and rape
Rep: WOC (multiple)
Rating: planchet-5

Viv has always been a “good girl.” She’s never late for class, does all her homework, supports the high school football team on Friday nights, and never gets into trouble. Her family is relieved, since her mom was a bit of a hell raiser in high school, even sporting blue hair to protest the dress code at one point. 

But Viv is starting to get fed up with being “good,” especially when the boys at school are always getting away with “bad:” From making sexist comments in class, to wearing disgusting shirts that sexualize women, to just generally behaving like assholes with no repercussions. 

Taking inspiration from her mother’s Riot Girrrl days in the late 90s, Viv starts a zine, strategically leaving it around school. Her little two page “newsletter” helps stir up the ire of the other girls, who are also sick of being singled out for inconsistent dress code violations and putting up with disgusting comments and being groped in the hallways. Soon Moxie has spawned a movement: from tiny acts of resistance like drawing stars and hearts on their hands to show solidarity, to wearing bathrobes to school in protest of the dress code, to fund raisers. But as the movement grows beyond Viv’s control, there could be some serious repercussions for both her future, and that of her friends and cohorts. 

I loved everything about this book, and I wish I’d had it when I was in high school because it would have been a life changer for me. It’s absolute perfection from start to finish. I might go reread it, even though I just finished it.