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[Review] Diary of a Confused Feminist by Kate Weston

Words 'Diary of a Confused Feminist' written across a woman's chest in a white t-shirt

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15-year-old Kat wants to do good feminism, although she's not always sure what that means. She also wants to be a writer, get together with Hot Josh (is this a feminist ambition?), win at her coursework and not make a total embarrassment of herself at all times. But the path to true feminism is filled with mortifying incidents, muddling moments and Instagram hell. And it doesn't help that Hot Josh is just, well, properly, distractingly hot. And when everything at school starts to get a bit too much, Kat knows she's lost her way, and the only way forward is to ask for help.

This felt like such a timely book for my generation. Kat’s struggle with anxiety and knowing what makes a ‘good’ feminist was so relatable and it’s great to see this normalised in YA. In particular, I really liked how Weston showed that recovery is not a smooth path and how we all experience setbacks. Both discussions around mental health and feminism were nuanced and informative, making this a great introductory novel for feminism.

The humour was awesome as well, with some brilliantly witty dialogue making me crack a smile or two. Some of the group chat names were rather similar to ones that I've had with my friends in the past! Overall, Weston's writing had such an Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging style to it, making it delectably readable. I loved the diary and multi-media format that allowed me to connect with Kat so much more.

The friendship in this book was brilliant, especially the Three Musketeers-esque trio of Kat, Millie and Sam. I loved how their strength came from each other and the way the dynamics changed as the plot progressed felt realistic. Also, I really liked Kat's friendship with Matt and their mutual love of Drag Race spawning a couple of mentions. There's an emphasis in the book on not being defined by a romantic relationship, but still being able to enjoy one and that was a great message to come through. Every character felt like they could've walked out one of my classrooms - they were so realistic, relatable and three-dimensional.

This review is by volunteer YA reviewer Emily Mitchell.