I was in desperate need for something fun and fresh, and this cheeky YA novel from Canadian Adrienne Kress fit the bill.
You know I love a good girl power (ugh how I wish I could find a cooler term) novel. Case in point, my love of Kiki Strike, The Red Blazer Girls, and The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks. When I first heard of the concept- three girls who are apprentices to powerful men join forces to create a sort of secret superhero society in Victorian (or is Edwardian?) London- it felt so perfect I couldn’t believe no one had attempted it before. Kress’ love of all things steampunk combined with a sassy attitude make her the perfect writer for this story.
This book is a fine balancing act. It is at times silly, inspiring, fun, feminist, but it never feels like too much of one thing. It’s easy to visualize and would make an excellent movie, a sort of Charlie’s Angels meets Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes. I appreciated the inclusion of Michiko, a young Japanese woman trained in the samurai arts. So often ‘Victorian’ translates to ‘British,’ and diversity in YA is always welcome.
There is some romance here, but thankfully Kress avoids making the story revolve about boys, which is a nice change of pace in the often romance-saturated YA. Instead, the girls are discovering that they, too can be proactive and make a difference, much aided by their new-found friendships. Kress includes a few conversations about women’s rights but she never feels preachy nor does she stray too far from her fun, adventure-seeking plot. Fans of Y.S. Lee’s Mary Quinn mysteries, Kiki Strike, Lesley Livingston, or anyone looking for a fun, empowering book for teens will love The Friday Society. Let’s hope Kress has more under her steampunk belt!
The Friday Society is available now in hard cover from Dial, and distributed in Canada by Razorbill Canada