Review: Girls with Sharp Sticks – Suzanne Young

Review: Girls with Sharp Sticks – Suzanne YoungGirls with Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young
Published by Simon Pulse
Published: March 19, 2019
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five-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.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Since coming across The Program in 2013 I have been a fan of Suzanne Young and her books. There is something about the way she tells a story that sucked me in from the get go. I swear every time I need a new book by her I don’t think she can write any better than she has and yet she constantly proves me wrong. But I can confidentially tell you that Girls with Sharp Sticks is 100% her most brilliant masterpiece yet. When I tell you that I loved this book, I mean it more than I can accurately explain. It is just such a memorable reading experience you truly won’t be able to find the words to describe your feelings.

Girls with Sharp Sticks is about Mena, a girl that goes to a school where she is taught how to be the ‘perfect woman’. The girls are told how to dress, how to act, and how to behave in order to please the men in their lives. They are conditioned to behave and be ‘proper’ and to obey. But when strange things start happening Mena starts noticing how unusual the school is and how sheltered the girls actually are. With the help of a new friend from outside the school walls, Mena opens her eyes and sees what’s really going on at Innovations Academy and she isn’t going to let it continue. When all the girls ban together the men of Innovations learn what the tag line says: Some of the prettiest flowers have the sharpest thorns.

This book was hardcore! And epic! And amazing! And fantastic! And any other adjective you can think of to describe such an unexpectedly powerful book. I was completely creeped out and disgusted reading it. These men were so vile and gross and 100% taking advantage of these girls to suit their needs. I swear I wanted to punch them all in the face so many times. But these girls, Mena, Sydney, Annaliese, Marcella, Brynn and Valentine (not a name a few), were actually what these men feared. These women together held all the power. They were the ones that were able to stand up for themselves and say ‘no, enough is enough’, and I loved every minute of it.

I want to say so much about this story. I want to tell you every detail and small thing I loved. But I refuse to ruin this experience. I strongly feel this is a book that everyone should read and will love. It is so unexpected and brilliantly done. I really can’t say any more than that. If you have trusted my book judgement in the past then trust it now. I swear it is worth it!

Now bring on Girls with Razor Hearts!

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The Book Outlet

We all have those books, the ones that we are excited to read, that are coming out and we swear we are going to buy them, and then we don’t. Sometimes it is money, sometimes it is laziness, sometimes we just forget. I have done this more times than I can count and for all of these reasons. I have also read a book on my Kindle or that I have borrowed or is an ARC and I’ve loved it and swear I will by a physical copy and yet I never get around to it. This is when the Book Outlet comes in for me.

Once or twice a month I go and peruse the site and look to see what new books there are or if any books I need to finish a collection or wanted to read have popped up. Last year I even planned out my giveaways for New to You and bought the books I could from Book Outlet. Sure it took time to be planning those things that far in advance, but in the long run it was worth it. Recently I was able to order a book I need for a signing I knew was coming up which was perfect.

The thing about the Book Outlet that I love is the price and the authors that can easily be found there. I did a little search this morning and I found some of my faves (prices and available stock are subject to change):

Kasie West

Pivot Point ($4.29) || On the Fence ($3.79) || The Distance Between Us ($4.29)

Jodi Meadows

The Orphan Queen ($3.19) ||  Incarnate ($4.29) || My Lady Jane ($3.19)

Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Wings and Ruin ($5.39) || Empire of Storms ($4.79) || Tower of Dawn ($5.89)

Sarah Ockler

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids ($3.19) || The Book of Broken Hearts ($2.19) || Fixing Delilah ($.59)

Suzanne Young

All in Pieces ($3.79) || The Program & The Treatment ($7.49) || Just Like Fate ($5.39)

Trish Doller

Something Like Normal ($4.79) || Where the Stars Still Shine ($6.99) || In a Perfect World ($6.39)

Heather Demetrios

I’ll Meet You There ($4.29) || Something Real ($4.29) || Bad Romance ($6.39)

Have you found any good gems on Book Outlet? Do you shop there? Tell me your thoughts below. Let me know if you plan to buy any of these. Remember shipping is free in the US for orders over $35. With these prices, think of how many books you can get for that amount!

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Book Five: The Program Readalong {+ a giveaway}

Welcome to the fifth book check in for my Readalong of The Program series! Hopefully by now you have finished reading The Adjustment and are now ready to see how it all ends tomorrow in The Complication. It has been a privilege to do this readalong with you. If you were rereading or a new fan, I hope you enjoyed the journey.

For today’s last and final check-in for the readalong I’m going to let Suzanne close it out with a video she left on her author Facebook page. Because let’s face it, no one can put into words what a series means better than the person that put their heart and soul into the story:

I have been lucky enough to get to know Suzanne because of this series, these books and I will forever be grateful for them because of that. And as someone that has read The Complication, she nailed it, it is a love letter to her readers. Every word on the pages is for us and I’m thankful for it.

Thank you, Suzanne!

Giveaway for a signed copy of The Adjustment ends at 11:59pm EST on April 29, 2018. It is US ONLY!

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Reading Schedule

The Program: March 17-March 25
Post/Giveaway Day for The Program: March 26
The Treatment: March 25 – April 1
Post/Giveaway Day for The Treatment: April 2
The Remedy: April 1 – April 8
Post/Giveaway Day for The Remedy: April 9
The Epidemic: April 8 – April 15
Post/Giveaway Day for The Epidemic: April 16
The Adjustment: April 15 – April 22
Post/Giveaway Day for The Adjustment: April 23

Now tell me, what did you think of The Adjustment? Are you prepared for The Complication?

 

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Book Four: The Program Readalong {+ a giveaway}

Welcome to the fourth book check in for my Readalong of The Program series! Hopefully by now you have finished reading The Epidemic (I miss these characters already!) and have started on to book five, The Adjustment. You have until April 22nd to get to see what life is like after the Program has ended.

For today’s check-in for the readalong I did some looking around and found some fun foreign covers for the series. If you have seen my Anna and the French Kiss collection you know I’m a fan of international covers. I admit I was sad when I couldn’t find a ton of options but the ones I did find I thought were very interesting:

Russian

Dutch

Polish

Italian

I must admit that the Russian ones are the covers I find the most interesting. They are very similar to the US version but just off enough. And I’m not sure Sloane would ever wear the shirt in the cover of The Treatment.

Do you have a favorite of the ones I posted?

Giveaway for a signed copy of The Epidemic ends at 11:59pm EST on April 22, 2018. It is US ONLY!

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Reading Schedule

The Program: March 17-March 25
Post/Giveaway Day for The Program: March 26
The Treatment: March 25 – April 1
Post/Giveaway Day for The Treatment: April 2
The Remedy: April 1 – April 8
Post/Giveaway Day for The Remedy: April 9
The Epidemic: April 8 – April 15
Post/Giveaway Day for The Epidemic: April 16
The Adjustment: April 15 – April 22
Post/Giveaway Day for The Adjustment: April 23

Now tell me, what did you think of The Epidemic? Hope you are enjoy this readalong!

 

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Book Three: The Program Readalong {2 giveaways}

Welcome to the third book check in for my Readalong of The Program series! Hopefully by now you have finished reading The Remedy (probably my favorite in the whole series) and have started on to book four, The Epidemic. You have until April 15th to get to know how closer lead to The Program and the suicide epidemic.

Since The Remedy is probably my fave of the series I was really blown away by how Suzanne connected the stories and the characters involved. She was kind enough to answer some questions for me so I could share some insight with you guys:

1) Even though The Remedy is the prequel to The Program, and is a completely different kind of story you managed to connect it to things that happened in The Program without it feeling forced. How difficult was that to do?

I’ll be honest, I didn’t intend to connect them. The Remedy was a new story about a girl who offers closure to grieving families. At the end, I wrote a few lines about how the world of The Remedy eventually lead to The Program, but in a subtle way. Sort of a nod to my readers. But the minute I reread the story… I realized how much they did connect. I contacted my publisher and we all realized how perfect it was!

And then I rewrote most of the book. But since it was a prequel, that helped keep it fresh without having too much trouble connecting the stories. Of course, it made writing the sequel—The Epidemic—extremely difficult. I had to write between two stories.

2) I know you came up for the idea for The Program by seeing a story about suicide clusters. How did you come up with the idea for The Remedy and the idea of a closer?

After my grandmother passed away, I was lost. I would have given ANYTHING for even five more minutes with her. It was that idea that lead to the concept of closers. I’d already done a lot of research on grief therapy because of The Program. The ideas came together. What if role play therapy grew more extreme? What if the person you loved could be “replaced” temporarily so that you could say all the things you needed to say? What if you could close that loop of grief?

I became obsessed with the idea of how complicated grief would make someone behave. The Remedy was born.

3) Quinlan is quite the interesting character. Without giving anything away, what was your inspiration for writing her?

Quinlan was fascinating for me to write. I loved everything about her. Her strength and her compassion, but also her vulnerability. She wanted a family. She wanted a life of her own—and to find that, she took over someone else’s. To me, the strongest part of the story is seeing her slowly lose herself in the role she’s playing. To see her love that family, and for them to love her back. It’s messed up, but you WANT her to have that life. Even if it’s not her own.

4) And because he is all sorts of imperfectly perfect, tell us a little more about my love, Deacon. You know you want to. 🙂

Deacon is exactly right for Quinlan. He’s a filthy liar; they all are. But he doesn’t play games—not intentionally. He’s obviously in love with her—desperately and stupidly in love with her—but there’s more going on. It’s about more than just them and he knows that.

He’s an excellent closer, but he doesn’t feel compassion for the families in the same way that Quinlan does. He’s argumentative, hates authority, and trusts only Quinn. He fights for her. He also breaks her heart.

He does what he thinks is right, but watching HIM get his heart broken is painful. And the payoff… well, to me the final chapter of The Remedy is worth the wait.

Those answers really shed some light on this book for me! Thank you Suzanne for taking the time to answer those. You are the best!

 

Giveaway for a signed copy of The Remedy ends at 11:59pm EST on April 15, 2018. It is US ONLY!

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Bonus Giveaway

If you have read The Remedy already you know that Quinlan has a Rolling Stone shirt that she becomes attached too. It is mentioned throught the book and becomes a part of who Quinn is. Well when Suzanne and I were together in DC for ApollyCon, she ran out one day and came across a shirt and purchased one for me to give away. The shirt is a size small. I think it could fit someone that is a smaller medium. This giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on April 15, 2018. It is US ONLY!

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Reading Schedule

The Program: March 17-March 25
Post/Giveaway Day for The Program: March 26
The Treatment: March 25 – April 1
Post/Giveaway Day for The Treatment: April 2
The Remedy: April 1 – April 8
Post/Giveaway Day for The Remedy: April 9
The Epidemic: April 8 – April 15
Post/Giveaway Day for The Epidemic: April 16
The Adjustment: April 15 – April 22
Post/Giveaway Day for The Adjustment: April 23

Now tell me, what did you think of The Remedy? Hope you are enjoy this readalong!

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