Title: Girls with Sharp Sticks
Author: Suzanne Young
Series: Girls with Sharp Sticks #1
Genre: YA science fiction
Release Date: March 19th, 2019
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: ARC received from publisher which did not influence my opinion
My rating: 5 stars
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.
It only took one time of picking up and I was hooked! This story was so unique, and there was a lot details left to fall out as part of the plot in such a seamless manner, but also in a way that kept the suspense going the whole time. We got introduced to characters that seemed like they might be the good guys, the ones out to help these girls who may not have understood what really they were being subjected to. Even with those helpful things they did, there was always the niggling sensation in the back of my mind about what exactly were the motivations behind the supposedly good guys’ actions. Were they entirely selfless? Or as we learn with at least one of them, there might have been some selfishness in the reasons.
When finally we get into some of the science behind what is going on, it made me think of lobotomies, yet I couldn’t imagine how in the world that worked with what was going on while they performed the procedure. The ending fit the title of the book so perfectly, but also left you hanging a bit. While some things, for our main characters really, might have been solved or somewhat fixed, overall, there are still a few loose ends left at the conclusion. Ones that may leave this open for a sequel. And that sequel could have more to do with our original cast, but I am going to guess the ones who still need help will be in that story as well.
This is only my 2nd book by this author, but it only makes me more determined to read The Program series! I will definitely be purchasing this for the students in my school library to read as well with my next budget money for next school year, as it has some great tie-ins to things going on in the world today. And the acknowledgement by the author at the end is really perfect.