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Presented by State Library Victoria

REVIEW: 'Girls With Sharp Sticks' by Suzanne Young Might be One of My Favourite Books of 2019

Hello Fellow Readerholics,

I have a bone to pick with the Inside A Dog website. You know how when you go to someone’s profile it displays their 6 favourite books? Yeah, well I’ve come to the conclusion that 6 books just isn’t enough! I just finished reading ‘Girls With Sharp Sticks’ by Suzanne Young and I loved it so much I had to kick ‘Lif3lik3’ by Jay Kristoff off of my favourites shelf (and I really loved Lif3lik3)!




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 realise 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.



This book was disturbing, wonderful and somewhat terrifying. Straight away readers are thrown into a world that seems to be on the cusp of a new wave of dystopia. While the world outside the academy is normal, Innovations Academy certainly isn’t. From the beginning there is a very strong sinister that left me on edge for pretty much the whole time I was reading it.

The whole idea behind the Academy was so uncomfortable and honestly quite ‘Handmaids Tale’. The academy’s lessons consist of what is deemed to be ‘essential’ for a well rounded girl,   homemaker or obedient wife. The girl’s report cards determine how beautiful, compliant, poised and obedient the girls are. The only academic education they receive is in basic maths (in order to be able to measure ingredients for baking, of course!) which is still at an almost strictly primary school level.

The friendships between the girls was one of my favourite aspects of the book. I loved how quick the girls were to defend one another and how much they all just loved and supported each other. My only criticism was that readers didn’t get enough of a backstory about their friendship so some aspects felt a little forced. That being said, the reason behind the lack of back story is somewhat explained so I forgive you, new favourite book.

Some parts of the book could be a little slow but I think that it somehow worked for this book. It got a little tedious as times but as the girls began to ‘wake up’ (ie. understand how they’re being mistreated) it was understandable that it was a gradual realisation.

The themes in this book were strong and overall had a positive message. I adored how the title came about and I thought it was really clever how it was weaved into the story. The cover was so beautiful i had to make a new section on my bookshelf for it – I call it ‘Stripy’. The plot was excellent and some of the plot twists made me gasp out loud. It was excellent!


Overall, I thought this book was incredible. I think it had important messages and the plot was something I loved. The best thing about the book was that it isn’t ending anytime soon as a second novel is coming out next March!! I rate this book a solid 5/5, it was great and I loved it!


Your Favourite Bookworm


inky State Library Victoria

The bone you pick has been noted!

24th Oct, 19

That sounds a bit like We Set the Dark on Fire (which I greatly recommend)

24th Oct, 19

Good to know!

24th Oct, 19

I love the premise! Adding to TBR.

26th Oct, 19

Oh, it's great. You should definitely read it!

26th Oct, 19