Title: Girls with Sharp Sticks
Author: Suzanne Young
Release Date: March 19, 2019
Book Form: ARC
Page Count: 400
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Disclaimer: I received this ARC for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
“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.” – Goodreads
I went into this book knowing next to nothing about it. The plot of the story has been mostly kept under wraps in the marketing, and I think that’s the best way to go about it. This was such a wild ride. I absolutely adored this book, it’s easily one of my favorites of the year. I’m going to keep this review pretty vague because I want you to have the same experience I had, which I feel is the right way to go about reading this book. You just need to figure it out for yourself.
In Girls with Sharp Sticks, we follow Mena, a student at Innovations Academy. She and her classmates are the “perfect girls”. They work hard to make the men who teach them proud. Until Mena notices one of her classmates acting strangely and meets a boy on a field trip – and she discovers her school might not be all that it appears to be.
One of the themes I noticed in this book was the sexism of the males in the girls’ lives. They are obsessed with their idea of perfection. They must look and behave perfectly, with perfect hair, makeup, and looks, and they are never to talk back to a man or stand up for themselves. It was frustrating to read at times, watching the men of the academy walk all over the girls. At one point, Mena repeats something she learned from her professors – only beautiful things have value.
The girls aren’t allowed to learn anything that won’t set them up to be the perfect wives. They don’t learn math or science, despite their desire to, instead learning things like gardening and cooking. A professor tells the students that too much thinking is bad for their looks. However, the girls are smarter than the men of the academy give them credit for.
Another theme I noticed was the power of poetry and art. The girls aren’t allowed anything of the sort, but it’s still a large part of the story. I won’t spoil anything, but it was one of the aspects of the story I really enjoyed.
The story takes so many crazy turns I never saw coming – it’s something you really have to experience for yourself. I strongly urge you to pick up this book and give it a shot – I can’t imagine you would regret it! I absolutely love this book and expect everyone to love it when it is released, as well. It was one of the most un-put down-able books I’ve read so far this year.
My Rating: ★★★★★