Girls with Razor Hearts: Girls with Sharp Sticks, Book 2
By Mary Cosola,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Girls grapple with their value in exciting thriller.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Story highlights flaws in the justice system and other institutions in cases of sexual assault and harassment. Shows how rich and influential people use their power to silence accusers and critics. Explores double standards in the way males and females are treated.
Speaking out and standing up is hard but worthwhile. Friendship and support are powerful forces in a person's life. You can overcome your background and upbringing to be strong and independent.
Positive Role Models
The main characters are smart, resourceful, and caring. They have one another's backs. Jackson finds himself in the middle of a dangerous situation, but he's loyal and continues to help. Sydney is Black and learns a lot about racism outside the academy. Brynn and Marcella are gay.
Violence & Scariness
Multiple references to sexual and physical abuse. Those situations and much of the other serious violence, such as murders and burned bodies, are not described. Descriptions of dead bodies. Characters have numerous injuries from fights and escapes. Characters are punched in the face, slapped, tasered, and hit with a lunch tray. Lots of physical and verbal sexual harassment. A teen boy attacks a girl and attempts to hold her hostage.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Attractiveness and desirability figure into the plot. The girls were raised for men's pleasures, though sexual acts are not described. One mention of "hooking up" and another of "jerking off." Characters flirt and talk a little about sex. Some of the characters are dating, but interaction is limited to gentle touching and almost kissing.
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Infrequent strong language, including "f--k" and variations, "s--t" and variations, "damn," "bitch," "God," "a--hole," "d--khead," "ass," "d--k," and "slut."
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Products & Purchases
Few brands or media mentioned (BMW and Law & Order).
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adult woman drinks wine. Kids drink at a party. Teens offered wine by an adult on a few occasions.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Girls with Razor Hearts is the second installment of the Girls with Sharp Sticks series, by Suzanne Young. The story picks up immediately where the first book leaves off, with five girls from the mysterious Innovations Academy discovering dangerous secrets about their school and their own pasts. They're on the run, finding a major anonymous donor in hopes of taking down the corporation behind their former academy. Finally out in the general public with kids their own age, they are disappointed to see how girls are treated at their new school and by society in general. They want to fight this injustice, but doing so would risk derailing their mission. The characters find themselves in dangerous and violent situations, with characters getting grabbed, hit, and injured. Sexual abuse is implied, some groping is depicted, and male harassment of women is a major theme. Not much in the way of sexy stuff, besides a few references to sex and some romantic encounters that are barely physical. There's infrequent strong language, including "f--k" and "s--t," and little in the way of drinking or drug use. The story provides discussion opportunities about gender inequality and the way institutions hide the bad behavior of the rich and powerful.
Where to Read
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What's the Story?
In GIRLS WITH RAZOR HEARTS, five teen girls are on the run from their mysterious boarding school and the only home they can remember, Innovations Academy. They've learned some shocking secrets of their pasts and the true intentions of the corporation behind the academy. Now they're on a mission to find an anonymous investor who's laundering money to the corporation through a prestigious private school. If they can stop the money flow, maybe they can take down and expose the corporation and save the rest of the girls left behind there. The girls have been raised to be docile, man-pleasing young women, and they hope for more in their lives outside the academy walls. Unfortunately, they discover that the worth of women in the outside world isn't any better than where they came from. Two of the girls, Mena and Sydney, enroll in the private school and encounter a toxic, unsafe culture for girls. They try to fight the systemic injustice while not losing sight of their main goal, which is to destroy the corporation.
Is It Any Good?
This exciting, near-future thriller effectively examines the value of young women in society. Though the plot of the story centers on five teen girls on a mission to topple an evil corporation, the real story is their discovery of frequent sexual harassment and abuse of women by rich and powerful men. At first they're shocked that no one stops these boys and men, but then they eventually see the risks and downsides of speaking out. They also learn some hard lessons about racial and gender discrimination. The girls' bond is heartwarming, and it's gratifying to see them support and help each other heal from their trauma. The story is a little slow at times. The girls talk about their mission a lot and ask many questions, but the advancement and pacing of that storyline could have been better. Still, overall, the themes of wealth, power, abuse, strong female support systems, and the systems that prop up injustice make this a compelling read.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the different ways girls and boys are treated. In Girls with Razor Hearts, Mena sees that boys are called on more than girls and that girls' complaints about harassment aren't taken seriously. How do you feel about these points?
Why do you think people don't speak up when they see someone do something horrible to someone else? Is silence ever justified?
How do you feel about the line between something being legal vs. ethical? Do you think a technicality makes something OK to do, even if you know it's morally wrong?
- Author: Suzanne Young
- Genre: Mystery
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, High School
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Simon Pulse
- Publication date: March 17, 2020
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 18
- Number of pages: 400
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: March 22, 2021
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