cover image Rima’s Rebellion: Courage in a Time of Tyranny

Rima’s Rebellion: Courage in a Time of Tyranny

Margarita Engle. Atheneum, $18.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-5344-8693-5

Beginning in 1923 Cuba and spanning 13 years, Engle’s (Light for All) telling traces one young woman joining the fight for women’s rights amid her country’s misogynistic norms and policies. In Guanabacoa, 12-year-old Rima Marin, who has “warm brown” skin, is a “natural” child who lives with her mother and grandmother. Born out of wedlock and therefore lacking two surnames, she is not lawfully recognized as part of her father’s family, while her “cool and pale”-skinned half sister lives a life of wealth and education with the girls’ shared father. Rima admires and aspires to be like las mambisas—courageous woman veterans of Cuba’s wars of independence from Spain, now fighting for women’s suffrage—and joins them, confronting her fear of her father, boys, men, and the society that shuns her. As dictatorship and natural disasters threaten her and her family, she begins to find hope, trust, and equality, as well as love. Fast-moving free-verse lines encapsulate Rima’s voice and the bravery she displays throughout this feminist journey to self-worth and women’s equality. Back matter includes a historical note and international timeline of women’s suffrage. Ages 12–up. Agent: Michelle Humphrey, Martha Kaplan Agency. (Feb.)