Girls with Razor Hearts (Girls with Sharp Sticks #2)
Published March 17, 2020
About Girls with Razor Hearts
It’s time to fight back in this second novel in a thrilling, subversive near future series from New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Young about a girls-only private high school that is far more than it appears to be.
Make me a girl with a razor heart…
It’s been weeks since Mena and the other girls of Innovations Academy escaped their elite boarding school. Although traumatized by the violence and experimentations that occurred there, Mena quickly discovers that the outside world can be just as unwelcoming and cruel. With no one else to turn to, the girls only have each other—and the revenge-fueled desire to shut down the corporation that imprisoned them.
The girls enroll in Stoneridge Prep, a private school with suspect connections to Innovations, to identify the son of an investor and take down the corporation from the inside. But with pressure from Leandra, who revealed herself to be a double-agent, and Winston Weeks, an academy investor gone rogue, Mena wonders if she and her friends are simply trading one form of control for another. Not to mention the woman who is quite literally invading Mena’s thoughts—a woman with extreme ideas that both frighten and intrigue Mena.
And as the girls fight for freedom from their past—and freedom for the girls still at Innovations—they must also face new questions about their existence…and what it means to be girls with razor hearts.
This book kind of blew me away. I’m honestly having trouble even figuring out how to structure my review, because I feel like I just want to babble about how many things I liked. So here I go…
First, the relationships. Mena remains always 100% committed to the girls she escaped with and the girls she left behind. She respects their autonomy, but isn’t afraid to challenge them when she thinks they’re wrong. She struggles with being open, not wanting to burden them with her worries and fears, but they challenge her in that and expect her to be as open with them as she wants them to be with her.
And then there’s Jackson. Faithful, loyal, protective, but not overbearing. He’s a good guy. I think it took me a long time to like him in the first book, but I really liked him by the end of this one.
In my review of GIRLS WITH SHARP STICKS, the first book in the series, I talked about some concern I felt that the story might embrace revenge, particularly on the men who ran Mena’s school.
Throughout this story, Mena continues to be faced with situations that force her to choose between revenge and justice. Sometimes the choice is whether to trust the system of society and government versus taking justice or revenge into her own hands. I loved how deeply she considers each choice and how she explores the problem of evil in her experience. I found it deep and thought-provoking.
One of the most mind-blowing things to me, though, was watching the way girls were treated through Mena’s eyes, as someone new to the broader world.
The story has a dystopian/sci-fi/not-so-distant-future feel to it, so it’s not trying to say that our culture matches what the characters experience at the hands of men right now. But those experiences are pretty ugly. And many of them DO happen to girls.
I was alarmed, shocked, and angry at the things some of the boys at school said to Mena, and yet, when I stopped to think about it, so many of those things have happened to me. And I’m not sure I ever felt permission to be angry (not that I needed permission from anyone but myself) about those experiences. It just felt like no one would listen, no one would really do anything except tell me to get over it and expect boys to continue to act that way.
In the books, the girls find a book of poems that make them “wake up” and realize that things that are happening to them are wrong. That they’re stronger than their captors want them to believe. And that they have greater value than they can imagine.
For me, GIRLS WITH RAZOR HEARTS, has been that poem, waking me up. Giving me permission to be angry and to expect better. For all of us.
Recommended for Ages 14 up.
Mena is white. Her best friend Sydney is black. Two of the girls she escaped with are lesbians.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used infrequently.
Romance/Sexual Content – Trigger Warning
References to sex. In one scene, a boy assaults a girl, forcing her to pantomime a sexual act (both are fully clothed) in front of a cafeteria full of people. Some bullying and sexual bullying.
See Sexual Content. The girls discover a man who has been murdered and later witness a woman being murdered by a sharp stake to her head.
One scene shows teens drinking alcohol. Mena pretends to drink.
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