Set in rural Tennessee, QUIVER, a YA novel by Julia Watts, focuses on the unlikely friendship between two teens from opposite sides of the culture wars. Libby is the oldest child of six, going on seven, in a family that adheres to the “quiverfull” lifestyle: strict evangelical Christians who believe that they should have as many children as God allows because children are like arrows in the quiver of “God’s righteous warriors.” Meanwhile, her new neighbor, Zo is a gender fluid teen whose feminist, socialist, vegetarian family recently relocated from the city in search of a less stressful life. Zo and hir family are as far to the left ideologically as Libby’s family is to the right, and yet Libby and Zo, who are the same age, feel a connection that leads them to friendship–a friendship that seems doomed from the start because of their families’ differences.
Through deft storytelling, built upon extraordinary character development, author Watts offers a close examination of the contemporary compartmentalization of social interactions. The tensions that spring from their families’ cultural differences reflect the pointed conflicts found in today’s society, and illuminate a path for broader consideration.