Note to Readers

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Monday, September 2, 2013

Juvenile Fiction Review: Bad Girls by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple

Release Date - January 2013

Jane Yolen
Heidi E. Y. Stemple
Rebecca Guay
Charlesbridge Publishing

Book Review by Jessica Maguire

Cleopatra, Jezebel, and Bloody Mary...were they really bad queens? And what about Elizabeth Bathory, Mata Hari, and Virginia Hill? Were these women really bad girls or misunderstood, misinterpreted, and sometimes even heroines?

For example, was Elizabeth Bathory really bad or was she a victim of the times? Left by her husband soon after marriage, she became involved in the occult. After all, what is a young, lonely divorcee of the late sixteenth/early seventeenth century to do?

Well, the lonely Elizabeth, not wanting to age (like any woman, really) had hundreds of people killed so that she could bathe in their blood with the belief that it would “make her young!” I guess that gives new meaning to the phrase blood bath!

Covering 26 notoriously bad women from 110 BCE, starting with Delilah, through the 1960s, and ending with Virginia Hill, the mother-daughter author team of Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple provide unique and fun insights about these strong women. Concluding each chapter is a comic illustration by Rebecca Guay, which stars the authors as they debate the innocence or guilt of each woman’s badness.

Readers ages ten to thirteen will enjoy reading the short chapters featuring the bad girls of this book. I must confess that I found this book a great read for adults as well. I thoroughly enjoyed learning all about these wonderfully bad women. Bad Girls would be perfect for a long flight or a quick weekend getaway read.

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