Girls with Sharp Sticks
Author: Suzanne Young
Publication Date: 19 March 2019
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Simon Teen
Westworld meets The Handmaid’s Tale in this start to a thrilling, subversive near future series from New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Young about a girls-only private high school that is far more than it appears to be.
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.
Bringing the trademark plot twists and high-octane drama that made The Program a bestselling and award-winning series, Suzanne Young launches a new series that confronts some of today’s most pressing ethical questions.
When I initially saw that this book was regarded as Westworld meets The Handmaid’s Tale, my interest was piqued because, let’s be honest, both of those dystopian societies are dark and sadistic. With that being said, I do get a bit skeptical going into a book with these sorts of expectations, so I was a bit cautious/apprehensive. Girls with Sharp Sticks absolutely lived up to this comparison!
The story opens with meeting the girls who attend the Innovations Academy; a prestigious reforming school for girls are taught the “essentials” to become obedient submissive wives, homemakers, caregivers, etc. The girls are not allowed to question males in society. Their coursework never allows them to engage in critical thinking because that is not becoming of a lady. If the girls do anything that is deemed disrespectful to any of the males at the academy, the are scheduled for readjustment.
One of the best parts of this book is getting to know Philomena and the rest of the girls at the academy because they will do absolutely anything for one another. There is none of the cattiness and fighting that is sometimes portrayed in all-girls schools. Instead, the girls have this unbreakable bond with one another and are prepared to do anything to protect each other no matter the consequences that inevitably follow.
One thing that I do want to highlight with this book is that there are several scenes that are difficult to read because of what these girls endure. The male professors and staff treat these girls as if they are theirs for the taking whenever it pleases them. I want to raise awareness to it, so that people aren’t completely blindsided.
Overall, this book is incredible. It’s a haunting tale full of twists and turns. The story constantly reminds readers that girls are not merely inanimate objects that can be brainwashed to obey their male counterparts. Eventually, someone always break the cycle.
Thank you NetGalley and Simon Teen for an eARC of this book. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.
Rating: 5 stars