Book Review: Girls with Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young

The Girls of Innovations Academy are beautiful and well-behaved—it says so on their report cards. Under the watchful gaze of their Guardians, the all-girl boarding school offers an array of studies and activities, from “Growing a Beautiful and Prosperous Garden” to “Art Appreciation” and “Interior Design.”

GENRE: 

Young Adult, Science Fiction?

PAGES:

400 pages

PART OF A SERIES?:

1st in a Series

RELEASE DATE: 

March 19th, 2019

PUBLISHER:

Simon Pulse

SOURCE:

Physical Copy

YOU CAN PRE-ORDER THE BOOK AT YOUR LOCAL BOOKSTORE/LIBRARY OR THE FOLLOWING LINKS:

GoodReads

IndieBound

Amazon

Audible 

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Apple Books

Kobo

Google Play

Author’s Website

GOODREADS SUMMARY: 

The Girls of Innovations Academy are beautiful and well-behaved—it says so on their report cards. Under the watchful gaze of their Guardians, the all-girl boarding school offers an array of studies and activities, from “Growing a Beautiful and Prosperous Garden” to “Art Appreciation” and “Interior Design.” The girls learn to be the best society has to offer. Absent is the difficult math coursework, or the unnecessary sciences or current events. They are obedient young ladies, free from arrogance or defiance. Until Mena starts to realize that their carefully controlled existence may not be quite as it appears.

As Mena and her friends begin to uncover the dark secrets of what’s actually happening there—and who they really are—the girls of Innovations will find out what they are truly capable of. Because some of the prettiest flowers have the sharpest thorns.

MY REVIEW

I absolutely loved this book and I can’t believe it took me this long to read it – I bought it early at the Ontario Teen Book Fest and it has sat in my TBR pile for far too long. The only good thing about this, I suppose, is now its fresher in my mind for when the sequel comes out in March.

This was hard. It was an incredibly hard book to read because even though it was science fiction, its rooted in our world and it feels too…possible. It feels like it could be real and that’s what keeps you on the edge of your seat as you read it. Its dark and gritty and there are times when I felt like crying because even though I wasn’t strictly going through what Mena and her friends go through, the feeling is still very familiar. There were things that the teachers would say, men and women, that both angered me and cowed me because they’re things we’ve heard before, all of us females. Suzanne really brings the scary reality of our world into this fiction novel and the crossover raises a lot of questions and a lot of concerns and it also raised the hairs on my arms and the back of my neck big time. It was almost a thriller/horror novel at times because of the things going on.

There are two things I truly loved about this book that do go hand in hand –

One, I loved that there was a relationship in there for Mena but it wasn’t the focal point of the novel. I adore romance but I love that the romance isn’t really what saves Mena and gets her to wake up to the reality around her. Its a piece of the complicated puzzle, for sure, but its not the first thing. Jackson is a lovely addition to the book and I adore him as a character and he definitely is Mena’s tether to the outside world but he’s not there to rescue her, Mena is not a damsel in distress, not at all. I like that they complement each other and that they help each other out and learn from each other.

Two, I love the relationships between Mena and her friends – they are her family and their relationship and love for each other is so deep and so genuine. I love that the focus of the book is how much they work together and support each other, how much they do for each other. They have such utter faith in each other and because of that, it saves them. Its pure pure love and friendship and their interactions are what really is the core of the book. When they band together, when they begin to rebel quietly and then not-so quietly, that is when they are stronger and there’s something really powerful about that.

I absolutely cannot wait until the sequel. Suzanne wrote a powerful, thought-provoking, terrifying but hopeful and emotional novel and I need to see what sort of things are happening for our girls next.

RATING:

5 out of 5 Stars

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