I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: Boys Don't Knit #3
Published by Feiwel & Friends on April 18, 2017
Source: the publisher
A funny, feminist teen story about knowing when to train . . . and when to fight.
Fleur Waters never takes anything seriously - until she turns up at her local boxing club one day, just to prove a point. She's the only girl there, and the warm-up alone is exhausting . . . but the workout gives her an escape from home and school, and when she lands her first uppercut on a punching bag she feels a rare glow of satisfaction. So she goes back the next week, determined to improve.
Fleur's overprotective mum can't abide the idea of her entering a boxing ring, why won't she join her pilates class instead? Her friends don't get it either and even her boyfriend, 'Prince' George, seems concerned by her growing muscles and appetite - but it's Fleur's body, Fleur's life, so she digs her heels in and carries on with her training. When she finally makes it into the ring, her friends and family show their support and Fleur realises that sometimes in life it's better to drop your guard and take a wild swing!
A message from Meredith: Hey everyone! Today, I have Jessica here with a guest review for Animus by Antoine Revoy
Without further adieu, here’s Jessica’s review! Enjoy!
I am usually a fan of YA sport books, especially when it involves women in sports. Or at the very least the sports YA books I have read have been pretty good for the most part. However, I have to say Girls Can’t Hit did not exactly pack the punch (you see what I did there) I was expecting. This isn’t to say the book is completely bad, but maybe it just wasn’t as interesting as I was hoping it’d be.
T.S. Easton’s Girls Can’t Hit is the story of Fleur Waters, a young woman living in the UK who is tired of her parents fighting, her mother’s overprotectiveness, and so many other things in her life. So when she visits a boxing club in her area and decides to take it up, despite her mom and traditional boyfriend’s protest, she stars to enjoy herself. Not only that, this new sport may be exactly what Fleur never knew she needed.
Let me begin with the good. I did like when the author delved into Fleur’s backstory and some of her life outside of boxing. While I didn’t enjoy all of it, I really especially enjoyed Fleur’s complicated relationship with her parents. How we get to see the struggles inside her family and how boxing makes that more complicated is a treat to read. I also really enjoyed Fluer’s friends and seeing her relationship with them. Both Pip and Blossom are interesting characters that really shined in their personalities, especially Blossom as she is a very feminist character.
The second thing I really liked in this book were the messages. There is a strong feminist theme throughout the book regarding women and boxing. However, there are also discussions of feminism and what it means to be a feminist all sprinkled throughout the book. Something I really appreciated was the discussion of how being a feminist can be different for different people and there isn’t just one way to do it. Blossom is a character who goes to marches and is very passionate in her activism through debating, petitioning, and fighting on a larger and wider scale with traditional activism tactics. Fluer is also a feminist, but contributes to her activism by researching about female boxers and trying to make boxing a more inclusive places for women. It may be a more niche approach, but it is still a feminist movement and cause either way you look at it. Both girls are feminist and both do what they can to help spread a message of equality & anti-patriarchy.
Finally, I really liked seeing Fleur’s passion and effort involving boxing. While some of the boxing scenes were parts that I feel are better seen than read about, the parts involving seeing Fleur train in a variety of ways and work hard to get better were what I really enjoyed. We get to see Fleur train more and more as the book goes on and learn more about boxing, especially when it comes to women in boxing. I really appreciated seeing the character development of Fleur and even learning more about a sport I don’t know too much about along with our main character.
Now onto some things that got me discouraged. There were only two, but they did cause me to rate this book a few stars lower than I wanted to.
The first is the battle scenes. The battle reenactment scenes were not very interesting or intriguing in the slightest. I really did not care for them and the character arc with Pip involving the battles was pretty dull and not something I really cared for.
The second thing was the actual boxing scenes. While I have enjoyed the sports books I read in the past, I don’t recall many of them going into so much detail about the actual games or practices. Or at least not in so much dry detail. I do like sports YA books & wish there were more female lead sports books. However, the actual scenes involving any fights and some of the technicalities involving the training were just not grabbing me as much as I hoped they would. It is similar to watching a comic book show and wanting to like the fight scenes, but finding the more emotional and character driven parts more epic. This isn’t to say that I don’t think any kind of action scenes are bad or not intriguing, it just may be that in this case with this book it wasn’t my cup of tea. Which I do find sad because I should really enjoy the actual fight scenes in a book involving boxing, but just could not get into them. There may be another reader out here who can, but just not this reader.
Overall, this was a decent story with a unique premise, interesting characters, and good development/arcs. I sadly couldn’t get into some of the story involving the battle scenes and physical fight scenes, but I don’t think that makes this a bad book. I think this book is one that would especially entertain YA sports fans, boxing lovers, and feminist alike. I still recommend this story to readers and even though it wasn’t as good as I was hoping it would be, that doesn’t make it a bad book or something not worth checking out.