Girls with Razor Hearts is one of my most anticipated sequels in 2020! I was thrilled when the publisher offered to send me an ARC. Ever since Girls With Sharp Sticks I have been NEEDING the sequel! Welcome to my book review of one of my favorite SF/dystopia series.
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.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
TW: PTSD, sexual assault, domestic abuse
You know those books that make your blood boil? Those dystopias that get under your skin, your blood pressure soaring, and your stomach clenching? Meet Girls with Razor Hearts. While I knew that Girls with Sharp Sticks was a SF dystopia, Young brings us into the world. The world full of leering men, rampant sexism, and a culture of terrified girls. Away from Innovations Academy, the Mena and the girls’ lives are even more complicated than they thought. My heart wept for these girls and this dystopian world.
Girls with Razor Hearts is a sequel that dives deeper into the secrets behind the girls, the rotten foundations of the world, and girls who are still reeling from the events of Girls with Sharp Sticks. Mena struggles with PTSD and we are able to witness the ways her memories, not only from Innovations Academy, but her past memories surface. Can you even imagine one day realizing there are all these memories you’ve been forced to forget? And they are violent, affirming your status as someone else’s object?
Even more than that, Mena experiences first hand the sexism in her new school Stoneridge Prep. The ways that the boys are able to get away with harassment, sexual assault, and suffer no consequences. The ways women protect these actions, shaming girls, and harboring criminals. These were the sections of Girls with Razor Hearts that elicited my rage. But at these moments, I was reminded with the lack of distance between these events and our society. The men who walk free from trials, the women who aren’t believed, the way society shames us.
The girls in Girls with Razor Hearts are living with past traumas and current whispered screams. With no one to count on but themselves, the girls are living in a world of wolves. Girls with Razor Hearts is a book about finding our sharp edges. Picking up shards from our memories to do more than just survive. To live fighting for our future. It asks us how do we destroy a system, the roots, so it never grows back? How can we achieve our goals without becoming monsters ourselves? All while asking questions about humanity – are the girls less than, or, perhaps even more terrifyingly, better than humanity?