Title: Rima’s Rebellion
Author: Margarita Engle
Setting: Cuba, 1923-1936
Recommended Age: 12 and up
What it’s about…
Rima’s Rebellion is a novel in verse about a young woman fighting to make an unjust world a better place for her and other girls like her. Rima comes of age in a world where femicide of adulterous women is the legal right of every husband, and children born out of wedlock are subjected to cruelty and exclusion. Rather than accept things the way they are or live in fear, Rima joins a multi-generational brood of strong women to demand a better life. Despite the fact that the powers that be want girls like Rima to simply disappear, she finds her place in the world, helping her sisters in arms, push and pull their country towards a brighter future.
My hot take…
This book dives into the rich history of feminists in early 20th century Cuba. Margarita Engle has clearly researched the period in-depth and it shows. Moreover, the strong theme of feminism extends far beyond the demands of female characters to vote and overturn misogynist laws. Engle’s female characters are allies, even when divided by class, love, and opportunity. Engle’s setting (while firmly historical) is also ripe for adventure. There are daring horse chases, dramatic escapes, and even true love. Readers today will find Rima’s defiance of unjust laws and practices inspiring and hopefully will feel compelled to lean into their own beliefs about the world as it is and the world as it should be.
You might like this book if you enjoy: Riding horses (fast), radical poetry presses, and suffragettes.