When I read Girls with Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young earlier this year, I was blown away by how much I actually enjoyed it. As much as I love speculative fiction and Sci Fi, I find few YA titles in the genre to be compelling or successfully-crafted. That is not the case with Suzanne Young’s Girls with Sharp Sticks and, its sequel, Girls with Razor Hearts.
Girls with Sharp Sticks follows Mena and her friends, all of which are students at the exclusive and secretive girls-only boarding school, Innovations Academy. When some girls at the school start acting differently and disappearing, Mena begins questioning everything. Such as, why does she never see her family outside of school? Or, what goes on in all those therapy and “impulse control” sessions? And, what exactly happens to the girls after graduation?
Girls with Razor Hearts continues to follow Mena and her friends, along with some unexpected additions to their party, immediately following the end of the first book. The group starts working together to further undermine Innovations Academy and uncover its illusive investors. Only, they soon find out that their world isn’t nice to girls, and that surviving is going to be a whole lot harder than they were taught to believe.
A few things you can expect from this series:
- Female friendships that are actually realistic,
- Super intriguing mysteries in a near-future world,
- Lots of girls working together and fighting against misogyny and the patriarchy,
- Really sweet, slow-burn romances,
- Fascinatingly creepy Sci Fi elements, and, best of all,
- Diverse friendship groups that fiercely love and take care of each other.
I tend to find that YA Sci Fi is missing the important themes and context I love in Adult Sci Fi. Even when a YA book does feature important or interesting themes, it seems that the stories are mostly plot driven and action heavy, and I love good character-driven science fiction. The Girls with Sharp Sticks series, though, manages to capture everything I love about smart Adult speculative fiction, while still being solidly within the Young Adult age range.
This series tackles many important issues very relevant to girls and women in today’s society. Namely, the books ask readers to question why society has certain expectations for its girls, and then asks the question of how those expectations came to be. Even though I really wish I had read these themes and this series when I was in high school, I’m still really happy to have these books around as an adult. Honestly, I’m just so excited these books are out in the world now.
Each book is 4/5 stars for me, but the reading experience of the series as a whole is more like a 4.5/5.
Girls with Sharp Sticks is out in bookstores (and libraries!) now. Girls with Razor Hearts comes out on March 17, 2020. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me an eArc of Girls with Razor Hearts in exchange for an honest review.
CW: misogyny, sexual assault and harassment, and just generally creepy men doing creepy things to teenage girls