Girl Power: Past and Present

A graphic novel by Penelope Bagieu that will rock YOUR world!


Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World by Penelope Bagieu is about women who changed the world in their own ways. Some of these ways include fighting for rights, solving crime cases, journalism, and spy work. Clementine Delait, Agnodice, and Nellie Bly were just a few of the twenty-nine rebel women featured in this book.

The book showed how women are strong and have character, now and in the past. It was a graphic novel, so I didn’t have to picture anything that wasn’t on the page.

The book was gutsy, unafraid to tell the rebel womens’ tales. Bagieu makes the reader enveloped in her stories, so much that you may believe you are the one going through these events yourself.

The comic book style was a little misleading. I thought it was going to be light-hearted and PG. Instead, it was darker than I had expected. For instance, I knew that some dictators and other antagonists could be horrible to others, but Penelope’s book showed me a whole new level of unflattering reality. When I read the story of Las Mariposas, Bagieu was not afraid to tell you what had happened. Point-blank, she told and (sort of) drew the hacking to death of the three sisters. (Las Mariposas themselves)

My favorite story out of all, is Josephine Baker’s. Her tale described her life from being an African American in St. Louis, to living in France. It captured her dancing career and her French Resistance spy work. Fun fact, she sent her secret messages using sheet music!

I would definitely recommend this graphic novel for mature 7th grade readers, to adults, looking to change it up a little bit. There is no maximum age for this book, only a specific categorization for history. If you like history, then there is no reason for you to not read this book. Or, if you read Raina Telgemier, Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World is for you!