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5 Reasons BLOOD WATER PAINT is the Feminist Read You Need in Your Life

Blood Water Paint is Joy McCullough’s beautiful novel in verse that details the life of painter Artemisia Gentileschi, a Roman painter who had a tougher life than most of us could imagine. She is what Booklist calls a “timeless heroine,” and a woman that we should all know about. Every feminist needs this book on his or her shelf, and here’s why.


1) Artemisia Gentileschi is a name you should know

Artemisia Gentileschi was one of Rome’s most talented painters, even if no one knew her name then. You might know some of her works, such as Judith Beheading Holofernes, which has become a classic painting, and even used in today’s pop culture. She painted many pictures of strong and suffering women from myths and the Bible, and has become a feminist icon.


2) Joy McCullough tells Gentileschi’s tale in beautiful verse



3) The novel is based on the earliest recorded rape case

Rome in 1610 was a city where men took what they wanted from women, and Artemisia’s painting instructor raped her in her own studio. In the aftermath, Artemisia faced a terrible choice: a life of silence or a life of truth, no matter the cost. She chose to speak out, to go through the trial, and in the end, she won.


4) The reader reviews are blowing us away

“Because this story is only for you. The boys have all the tales they need of brave warriors and army captains.” I read BLOOD WATER PAINT and am absolutely blown away. This feminist novel-in-verse imagines the teenage years of Artemisia Gentileschi, one of the most famous female painters in history, in her early days as a subject in her father’s studio and, as the book hits its midpoint, a rape survivor who refuses to allow the truth to be silenced. Raw and unflinching, McCullough doesn’t shy away from exploring the limits of a woman’s power—what we are given and what we demand. BLOOD WATER PAINT is a masterclass in crafting an emotional, impactful, stunning story with just a few chosen words. I know I will be returning to this for a reread when it comes out in March. Is it on your radar?

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5) It has stunning quotes that basically demand to be tattoos



Blood Water Paint is available now!











Penguin Teen