Title: Girls With Sharp Sticks
Author: Suzanne Young
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Simon and Schuster UK Children’s
Publication Date: 18th April 2019
Some of the prettiest flowers have the sharpest thorns.
The Girls of Innovations Academy are beautiful and well-behaved—it says so on their report cards. Under the watchful gaze of their Guardian, they receive a well-rounded education that promises to make them better. Obedient girls, free from arrogance or defiance. Free from troublesome opinions or individual interests.
But the girls’ carefully controlled existence may not be quite as it appears. As Mena and her friends uncover the dark secrets of what’s actually happening there—and who they really are—the girls of Innovations Academy will learn to fight back.
I was attracted to this one because I loved the title and the cover was really striking. The story centres around a teenage girl at a posh girls boarding school where the lessons are decidedly chauvinistic and clearly aimed at producing submissive, beautiful young women with no independent thought or sense of self propriety. It reads like a dystopian novel of sorts and it is immediately clear that something is not quite right at this ‘school’ although it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what is going on which just makes it all the more sinister.
The story follows Philomena as she begins to gain some insight as to the secrets of the school she attends and starts to see with more clarity how ridiculous the things she is being taught are. I liked the way that Philomena’s awareness of her situation comes to her quite gradually and I also liked that the reader is as in the dark as she is. It was as if certain corners of her mind were starting to push through the brainwashing and fight the system she is part of bit by bit. It was a disconcerting read at times because, whilst the idea that women could be almost trained to be subservient wives and solely as property of their husband seems to me completely insane and unlikely to ever happen, there are certain places where this mindset doesn’t seem so alien. The attitude that men are in charge and that the way young women especially are expected to behave is totally different to the way young men are is perhaps not as unthinkable as I perceive it to be. Movements like ‘MeToo’ have shown that even in modern society there is still a long way to go concerning women’s rights and that we cannot afford to become complacent in any way.
What I really loved about Girls With Sharp Sticks is the focus it has on the power of female friendship and the message that supporting each other is the only way we can really change anything. The twist in this story was not a huge shock to me if I’m honest but that didn’t disappoint in any way because I thought the way the twist was brought about was so well done and the quality of the writing in general was really fantastic. There is also scope for a sequel which I will definitely be reading if Young does indeed write it. The ending gave enough closure to satisfy and also teases a few little tidbits to intrigue the reader! Highly recommended!
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I received this e-book through Netgalley. My review is my own honest opinion.