Book Review: "Girls with Sharp Sticks"

 There are good and terrible books. And then there are filler books, the ones that aren't terrible but are not memorable either. I feel like this is the case with "Girls with Sharp Sticks". I know that I have the worst memory, but I still think I should remember more about this novel. Especially when I read it in March. But no, my mind goes blank when I try to think about the plot or characters. 

The book itself had an interesting premise: a boarding school where they raise perfect girls. A place which is perfect on paper, but full of shady stuff going on behind closed doors. Dystopia remains one of my favourite genres, and I am a big fan of "Stepford Wives". This should have been a great pick for me, but it wasn't the case. 

“You are at this academy to become better girls—the best girls. That means you are”—he counts on his fingers—“beautiful, quiet, and pure. Take the last part away and you’re not special. You’re a common whore.” Several girls flinch at the statement.”

In my opinion, the books' biggest downfall is the characters. I love well-developed characters, but none of the girls had unique personalities. If it weren't for the names, I would have had a big problem telling them apart. The main character, Mena, is boring as a protagonist. I know in the beginning she`s supposed to be a proper young lady, but as the story progresses, you don`t see much character development. There`s a love interest thrown in there, but they lack a true connection. I don`t know, maybe my problem is that Mena was too nice? After she uncovers everything, she should have burned the whole thing to the ground. 

The first half of the book feels repetitive, going on and on about the bond between the girls. I get the idea behind it, but as a reader, you need to make me care about the characters. Otherwise, I am not invested in the story, no matter the stakes. The second half of the book feels like I different novel altogether. Once the girls figure out what's going on (which took forever), it becomes action-packed, and the revelations keep on coming. It is because of this part that I am most likely to pick up the sequel. I have a few theories about one of the benefactors, and I want to know if I am right.

Overall, this was an OK book. I feel like it had so much potential, and it could have been a fantastic YA feminist story. There are a few powerful quotes about patriarchy, and how society expects girls to behave. Most of the teachers had disgusting behaviours, and I`ve wanted the girls to confront them numerous times. Now that they know the truth, maybe things will be more intense in the sequel? I don`t know, but part of me wants to continue the series.

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