Bex is a tomboy, and she owns it despite the pressure from her mother to be more girly. She loves guns and shooting, and is incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about her hobbies. However, at times the writing gets bogged down by accounts of shooting at targets and ranges, gun mechanics, and descriptions of guns and other equipment. The initial exposition regarding these topics that will be unfamiliar to most readers is more than welcome, but the repetition of this exposition throughout the entire story really wears down a reader's interest.
The relationship between Bex and Lucy develops in a very natural way, and I enjoyed seeing this first romance bloom in Bex. The girls are very different, and when these differences become a problem it's dealt with in a very dramatic and interesting way. The differences between Bex and her family are not so well done. Her parents are outrageously selfish, so much that their dialogue and actions stopped being believable. Combined with the lack of a fleshed-out setting in Bex's hometown and rural haunts, the novel really fell short of my expectations.
The Verdict: A unique concept with interesting and diverse characters, RADICAL fell short in writing and setting qualities but stands apart from other YA fiction with its focus on gun rights and rural life.