My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Title: Girls With Sharp Sticks
Author: Suzanne Young
Format: Hardcover (borrowed)
Categories: Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Suspense
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.
Girls with Sharp Sticks is a really interesting book and I don’t say that just to say something about it. It’s a book that made me think a lot after I read it, because of the some elements to it (and yes I’m trying not to spoil it 😅).
Philomena “Mena”, and her friends are students at a boarding school called Innovations Academy. They are all very beautiful girls with perfect bodies and looks. Something small like having a scar devalues a girl’s beauty. They attend classes and learn subjects to assimilate into society but they aren’t allowed independent thoughts. Thinking is a bad thing. They aren’t allowed excessive emotions, like regular girls, and take vitamins every night to keep them functioning the way the Academy wants them to.
The further into the story I got, it just made me feel creeped out because the way the men treat these girls is just wrong. And when I say men, I’m talking about their professors, their Guardians, and the administrator, Anton. They threaten, then smile at them, blame them if they don’t “obey”, and then praise them. And then if they really do something bad, they get impulse therapy. Ugh. They are grooming these girls, but for what? Apparently for investors interested in them- but we don’t know what they need them for. It reminded me of The Stepford Wives and when I mentioned the premise of the story to my husband, he said it sounded like Westworld.
One by one the girls start to “wake up” and then we find out what’s really happening at this school. The story kept me interested enough but it is slow going because we keep learning about the girls’ regiment and their life at the Academy. It unfolds like a mystery actually and hardly anything happens outside of the Academy. Mena is a daydreamer, kind of bland, but I see why since she wasn’t woken up yet. She loves her friends very much though – but emotion as well, isn’t something appreciated as a quality for these girls.
The meat of the story is at the end. There is action, a plot twist, questions and some answers but I’m hoping a lot more will be answered in the second book.
If you read the book and feel creeped out, it did its job. The book is supposed to make you uncomfortable like how girls or women feel when boys and men treat females a certain way. The grooming, the abuse, the assault, the constrictions, the expectations and rules placed on these girls is wrong. It is a book for right now with all the issues we are presently dealing with in society.
I wanted the pacing to pick up a bit more because I wanted the girls to start fighting back. Like, enough of this treatment! Let’s kick these guys’ butts already, I was getting so mad. 😤 But I was also getting mad because I was afraid for these girls, they needed help and there seemed to be no one they could turn to. The ending was gripping and it makes me curious as to what will happen in book two. Let’s hope the pacing in book two is quicker and Mena and the girls are equipped with more than just sharp sticks to fight back.
So be a girl to make themGirls With Sharp Sticks by. Suzanne Young
Get it here: Amazon
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thanks!