The Radical Element

12 Stories of Daredevils, Debutantes & Other Dauntless Girls

Age 14+

General Fiction

“These are tales across time and cultures, offering diverse women as witnesses to historical times. . . . A needed collection to broaden understanding of the many different faces of history.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

To respect yourself, to love yourself, should not have to be a radical decision. It’s a decision that must be faced when you’re balancing on the tightrope of neurodivergence, finding your way as a second-generation immigrant, or facing down American racism even while loving America. And it’s the only decision when you’ve weighed society’s expectations and found them wanting. In The Radical Element, twelve of the most talented writers working in young adult literature today shine a light on a century and a half of heroines on the margins and in the intersections, standing up for themselves and their beliefs — whether that means secretly learning Hebrew in early Savannah, using the family magic to pass as white in 1920s Hollywood, or singing in a feminist punk band in 1980s Boston.

Original stories by:

Dahlia Adler
Erin Bowman
Dhonielle Clayton
Sara Farizan
Mackenzi Lee
Stacey Lee
Anna-Marie McLemore
Meg Medina
Marieke Nijkamp
Megan Shepherd
Jessica Spotswood
Sarvenaz Tash


Jessica Spotswood is the editor of A Tyranny of Petticoats, the companion volume to The Radical Element. She grew up near the Gettysburg battlefield, in Pennsylvania, but now lives in Washington, D.C., where she works for the District of Columbia Public Library system as a children's library associate.

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