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3.55  ·  Rating details ·  243 ratings  ·  71 reviews
Determined to survive the crisis she’s sure is imminent, Bex is at a loss when her world collapses in the one way she hasn’t planned for.

Preppers. Survivalists. Bex prefers to think of herself as a realist who plans to survive, but regardless of labels, they’re all sure of the same thing: a crisis is coming. And when it does, Bex will be ready. She’s planned exactly what t
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published September 13th 2016 by Candlewick Press
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Average rating 3.55  · 
Rating details
 ·  243 ratings  ·  71 reviews

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Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
Where to begin with talking about this book… I mean, the main thing is that I have so much I want to say, and it is all really good stuff. But how to start talking about all the good stuff, that is where I am having issues.

So first of all, this book is unlike any other YA that I can remember reading. Despite what you might think when you start in on the story, it is very much a contemporary setting. But from Bex’ point of view, our contemporary world is on the edge of a collapse. And her narrat
Jul 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, queer, realist
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bex is a teenage dyke prepper/survivalist from a low-income family. She is concerned about shit hitting the fan, and wants to be prepared if something goes down. She spends her time honing wilderness survival skills, shooting skills, tracking, tactical and logistical preparations. She describes herself as a realist who is going to survive. The book engaged me quickly and never let go. It's not often that I *want* to tear through nearly-450 pages of YAF, but I found myself staying up well past my ...more
May 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-books
The last hundred pages of this book are tense, emotional, and gripping. Unfortunately, the book is 450 pages long. I would say it's still worth it. The first 350 pages of the book are very well-written and romantic, if somewhat dull. But the ending is totally amazing; you just have to keep going. ...more
Mar 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
ugh, stupidly long descriptions of guns
ugh, "girls who like lipgloss are dumb"
Jan 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtq
That ... was ... intense. And unlike any YA book I've ever read. I stayed up to nearly 3am to finish this because the second half kept gaining momentum and upping the stakes and I just couldn't put it down because I HAD to know how it would turn out.

This isn't necessarily an easy read - in fact, I'd say there's something for everyone to hate in here, whether it's the opposing perspectives on guns or the way certain subcultures are represented or that Bex is a butch lesbian who is VERY into guns
Nov 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
So many books start strong and then fizzle. This book is the opposite. I thought the first half was just okay, lacking in plot, though full of interesting information about a part of the country I don’t know very well -- pro-gun people who deeply mistrust the police and the government. I’m glad I stuck with this book, because I could hardly put it down during the last third. I am despairingly anti-gun (I feel the country is out of control) while these people are despairingly pro-gun (they also f ...more
Feb 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great to see a kick-ass lesbian teen character who is so different from the typical YA queer protagonists. Bex is from a conservative working class family living on the edge. She loves her guns -- and girls. She works hard, plays hard and is trying to find her way in a largely hostile world. It's fascinating to get inside her head, understand her developing political thinking, and to see how her politics are shaped by the people around her - including some pretty strong women. I really loved see ...more
Feb 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
i've been eagerly awaiting kokie's sophomore novel
FOREVER. i loved loved Personal Effects, and i knew
that this book would be unique and amazing.

i was not wrong.

kokie delivers in so many ways in this intense novel
following bex, who is a "survivalist". the handling of
the lesbian romance is also so well done.

i appreciated this book on so many levels!
kokie is a fantastic writer delving into subjects i never
even considered as a reader, until she drew me in.

looking forward to her third book release,
Feb 23, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is about how a girl named Rebecca, or Bex for short, is trying to prepare for the inevitable downfall of the United States of America. Bex has been following the news and watching it happen around her. first, her dad loses his job, and they have to live on her uncle's farm. The Government also starts to put higher taxes on everything, especially on Guns and Ammunition. Bex tries to explain to her parents and family that they need to be prepared for the downfall, but all they want is f ...more
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars.
Brianna Walker
Aug 08, 2017 added it
Shelves: queer, ya
am i always surprised by plot twists because i only read good ones or because i am super naive?

this book is about guns, bad parenting, and lesbianism. it was pretty good.
Rachel Leigh
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It took me AGES to review this book, but only because I wanted to do justice to its MC. When I read Radical, Bex jumped off of the page and stuck with me long after the final chapter. She's complicated, driven, passionate, sometimes misguided, and wholly human. The story sticks with her perspective throughout and, in doing so, gives the eventual narrative arc the weight it deserves.

I came into this book knowing next to nothing about gun culture, and while I appreciate every bit of research that
Hayley Williamson
This was a really interesting book. I liked having the protagonist be someone who was involved in groups antithetical to her sexual identity, and was very surprised by the last quarter or so of the book. It's pretty unusual (for me, at least) to see an LGBTQ+ character who is also into guns and ideology such as prepping that is usually associated with conservatism and is unapologetic about it.

I did think the ending was a little abrupt, like the author felt the book getting too long and just dec
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
This YA novel was a struggle for me. It centers around Bex, a teen who feels that being prepared and being able to survive on your own is the most important thing to focus on. She follows websites and watches videos of individuals and groups who don’t trust the government and think it’s up to the individual to arm and protect themselves. There is A LOT of descriptions of guns: cleaning guns, loading guns, aiming guns. It felt like 30-40% of the book was about guns. Bex struggles with revealing h ...more
May 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: queer
More like a 3.5... I have a lot of conflicted feelings.
Stephanie A.
It takes a while to figure out if this is a contemporary novel or one set in the near future, especially after she mentions how the supply of guns and ammo is being restricted, but it's definitely the former -- as shown through the eyes of someone who genuinely thinks the U.S. is on the precipice of entering one of those dystopias.

I've never held a gun in my life, so my eyes glazed a bit during all the talk of cleaning and loading and shooting them, but it's a decent read. Especially if you thin
Nov 04, 2018 rated it liked it
This one was off to a slow start, and it was pretty much slow throughout. What compelled me to finish this book to the end was wondering whether this Clearview group was legit or if there was something more to them.

You also follow through Bex and her life at home, which doesn’t seem very pleasant to start with. Her mom tries to change her despite her orientation, there’s financial issues at the home, and her brother is, quite frankly, an ahole. You quickly figure out Bex is into guns, and survi
Oct 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
RADICAL, E.M Kokie’s fourth teen novel, explores the life of Bex and the challenges she has to face to find where she fits in. Bex is not considered to be a ‘traditional’ teenage girl --- much to her mother’s dismay. She is intrigued by guns and surviving without electricity and running water because, in her mind, she must be prepared for anything. When both her father and her brother start to devote their time to a growing organization designed to prep people to “go off grid," Bex is astonished ...more
Lulu (the library leopard)
So, I’m going to shamelessly admit that this book definitely falls into the category of “really only read because it had LGBTQ characters” category. A YA book about apocalyptic preppers and gun rights sounded interesting, but not necessarily my thing, but learning that Radical features one of the few butch lesbian main characters in YA literature piqued my attention enough to request it from the library.

This book is, quite honestly, mildly terrifying. Bex wholeheartedly believes that some kind o
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-lit
Bex is ready for anything. She knows how to survive in the wilderness on her own, can protect herself (and her family, if they’d only let her), and has a contingency plan for any kind of catastrophe. The only problem is that she’s only 16 and her family doesn’t believe there’s anything to worry about. When her Dad takes a job at Clearwater Club, Bex discovers others who take her seriously. Just as she starts to find her place there, along comes Lucy, a captivating girl who clearly doesn’t worry ...more
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure I can say why I loved this book. At first I wondered why I had picked up a book that was all about shooting guns, and how I would relate to the main character. But I found her so likeable, and I liked that the author was able to both let readers get inside her mind to see her internal logic and also show us how unreasonable she actually was. The book itself clearly does not endorse preparing for war against the government, but neither does it make Bex look like a fool or give her a ...more
Aug 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Here is a thoughtful exploration of how we build our understanding of the world, what we should fear and why, who loves and will protect us, and our own ability to help (or hurt) ourselves.

Bex knows that there will come a time when she will need to protect herself. Learning survivalist skills and weaponry is training to her, and those who see it as less than that will end up dead.

Well, except her family. She will protect her willfully disinterested mother, her unfocused father, and her lazy brot
Heather Larocchia
Jun 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, lgbtq
Originally I was going to give this three stars because the beginning really dragged and there were moments that just felt repetitive. However, there are a few things that warm my gay heart and convince me a 4 star review is better. Plus, though I might be bored to tears reading about gun mechanics and fixing cars, I’m sure there are others who love it.

The good bits? I love a YA that uses the word dyke in all its complex glory. It’s clearly used as an insult in most of the text, but seems to al
Gummy Bear
May 11, 2017 rated it it was ok

When I first read the summary I thought that this book would be about a girl trying to survive an apocalyptic disaster. When I realized that is not what was happening I kept reading to see where the author would take this book. And I did not like it at the end Bex is in jail/juvy and she has no idea why she is in jail and she spends MONTHS in there before a lawyer comes to talk to her when she had already asked for one. The author tells her that the courts have already found her guil
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
Okay, this book caught my attention right away. I related to Bex immediately and couldn't stop reading, until about chapter twenty-one, then I had to force myself. The beginning was great and sweet (and gay, which is a plus), but once the conflict kicked into high gear, everything that happened earlier meant nothing. Not only that but once it got to the actual climax, it skipped it! Bex had an epiphany about what she had to do, the chapter ended, and the next picked up over a year later. That wa ...more
May 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbt, young-adult
I enjoyed this novel and felt it was original and unique compared to many other YA novels I have read. The main character was very convincing to me as someone who sees the world through a really intense particular worldview - she was a very believable character. Also, the novel went in a very different direction than I was expecting, which is something I appreciate in a book. There were definitely times when the details on guns etc. were not super interesting to me but they definitely helped to ...more
Dec 28, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: ya, adventure, military
I could not get into this book. The whole survivalist mentality is just too extreme. If it were something that only required stretching my imagination I think I could have read it. Unfortunately there are plenty of people who do have this mentality and are just as avid as the characters in this book. Too freaky for me. Would be good for someone who is into survival training, military, or similar.
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really liked the tension building steadily in this book. Bex feels tension primarily from her family, but also a myriad of other sources that you never know when will escalate.
Some scenes felt rushed/forced but most of the time I was immersed enough in the plot that I wanted to keep reading to find out what would happen next.
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very odd and different book that sucked me right in. It wasn’t what I had anticipated and the topics of gun ownership, survivalism, government power / fear managed to blend surprisingly well with Bex’s exploration of romance, family, and friendship. My only gripe was the sense of time was rather disjointed in this book and it was hard to tell if days had passed or weeks.
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I write stories about teens, including the novels PERSONAL EFFECTS (Candlewick, 2012) and RADICAL (Candlewick, Fall 2016). ...more

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