The Calendar Girls is a monthly blog event that was created by Melanie at MNBernard Books, and Flavia at Flavia the Bibliophile. It was inspired by the 1961 classic song by Neil Sedaka and created to ignite fun bookish discussions among readers and bloggers.
Each month we get a new theme and choose our favorite book for the theme. The participants get to vote for their favorite.
Strong female leads – I’ve read my share, and there are loads out there to choose from. Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games is an obvious choice, and so is Starr from The Hate U Give (my Calendar Girls selection from last month), but for different reasons. Nemesis from S.J. Kincaid’s Diabolic series is the epitome of a strong female lead, physically, emotionally, and mentally. The things she’s had to deal with would break most people. The cliffhanger at the end of the second book in that series nearly broke me.
But I decided to go with a character from a book I recently finished – Rhen Tellur from To Best The Boys. She lives in a world where girls are taught how to make good wives, rather given a traditional education and encouragement to pursue their own dreams. Being exceptionally intelligent and gifted in science, Rhen’s says, ‘Screw that’, and makes different plans for her future. She poses as a boy, enters an all male competition to win a scholarship, and throws society’s expectations of her right back at their faces. Rhen doesn’t allow anyone else to dictate who she is, what her dreams should be, or how she can achieve them. Girl power!
Every year for the past fifty-four years, the residents of Pinsbury Port receive a mysterious letter inviting all eligible-aged boys to compete for an esteemed scholarship to the all-male Stemwick University. Every year, the poorer residents look to see that their names are on the list. The wealthier look to see how likely their sons are to survive. And Rhen Tellur opens it to see if she can derive which substances the ink and parchment are created from, using her father’s microscope.
In the province of Caldon, where women are trained in wifely duties and men are encouraged into collegiate education, sixteen-year-old Rhen Tellur wants nothing more than to become a scientist. As the poor of her seaside town fall prey to a deadly disease, she and her father work desperately to find a cure. But when her Mum succumbs to it as well? Rhen decides to take the future into her own hands—through the annual all-male scholarship competition.
With her cousin, Seleni, by her side, the girls don disguises and enter Mr. Holm’s labyrinth, to best the boys and claim the scholarship prize. Except not everyone’s ready for a girl who doesn’t know her place. And not everyone survives the maze.