Review of Rima’s Rebellion: Courage in a Time of Tyranny

Rima’s Rebellion: Courage in a Time of Tyranny Rima’s Rebellion: Courage in a Time of Tyranny
by Margarita Engle
Middle School, High School    Atheneum    208 pp.    g
2/22    978-1-5344-8693-5    $18.99
e-book ed.  978-1-5344-8695-9    $10.99

This historical novel in verse, set mainly in 1920s Cuba, is an engrossing look at the protracted fight for women’s suffrage there. The story is told through the eyes of Rima Marín, a spirited young girl (twelve when the book begins) who is denied any legal recognition or rights because she is a so-called “natural” child (her parents are unmarried). She and her mother and abuela live as squatters on her wealthy father’s land. Rima resents her second-class status—especially when she has to be of service to her privileged half-sister. Former independence fighter Abuela has raised Rima to be the next generation of feministas on horseback; when she rides her favorite horse, Rima feels “God’s / love of freedom instead of society’s / belief in harsh rules.” The three women belong to a suffrage club, but their efforts to gain the vote for women are stymied and delayed by tyrannical leaders and by the existence of repressive colonial laws. Engle’s (Your Heart, My Sky, rev. 3/21) spare, lyrical writing and the believable human emotions shown through Rima’s individual perspective bring to life the complex fight for equality and civil rights. A historical note provides background about the struggle for women’s suffrage in Cuba, and a timeline puts that battle in international context.

From the March/April 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Luann Toth
Luann Toth

Luann Toth is a former reviews editor at School Library Journal. She holds an MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing.