Parents' Guide to

Girls with Rebel Souls: Girls with Sharp Sticks, Book 3

By Mary Cosola, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Feminist thriller has smart messages but few thrills.

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This near-future thriller touches on important and thought-provoking feminist themes, but the plot fizzles and falls short on the actual thrills. Girls with Rebel Souls is very much like the two previous books in Suzanne Young's series, with the girls talking a lot about their lives and their missions but not actually doing much. Young tells the readers far more than she shows them, and all the endless, clunky dialogue bogs down the pace and plot. As with the previous books, the story provides an important look at how young women are often treated as disposable and insignificant. Readers also get a peek at the way rich and powerful men operate under different rules than the rest of us. Other important themes include the notion that being silent in the face of oppression is the same thing as complicity. Mena and the other girls have a complicated sisterhood, disagreeing on philosophy and tactics throughout the book. They learn that real life is much more complicated than life behind the academy walls. This is a good analogy for teens learning how to make their way in the world. Unfortunately, the dull pace, along with some plot holes and believability issues, leads to this series going out with a whimper rather than a bang.

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