Friends with ARCs | Bloodleaf + Girls with Sharp Sticks

pub 3/5/19 by HMH Books
for Young Readers
YA - Fantasy Retelling
Kristin gave me her extra ARC!
Bloodleaf is a retelling of the fairytale “The Goose Girl” which I was unfamiliar with so while I can’t comment on true it was to the original, I can say that I found this version to be fun and entertaining. Aurelia has felt the weight of the world her whole life — first princess born to the Renaltan crown in two hundred years, betrothed to the son of her kingdom’s enemy for a treaty, and vilified for possibly being a witch (not a spoiler: she is!). An assassination attempted forces her to reveal the truth and the consequences are enormous. She’s forced to flee from her kingdom and the persecution of a witch-hunting council to seek safety at her betrothed’s court in Achleva. But then she’s betrayed by those sworn to help her. Stranded and alone in a foreign land, Aurelia has no choice but to take matters into her own hands in order to save herself, her kingdom and the people she loves. In some ways, I think not knowing Bloodleaf was a retelling worked against me. My main criticism is how predictable the whole story was. I am notoriously bad at calling things in advance and yet I was able to do so for all the big twists. In hindsight, maybe it wasn’t supposed to be a surprise? I still enjoyed being along for the ride though and that’s largely because of the characters. Aurelia is a heroine with heart and perseverance, despite the odds against her. She eventually meets others to be a part of her journey and those relationships were another highlight of the book. That said, I’d say overall I’m still on the fence as to whether or not I’ll continue the series but again, I did like it.

Aurelia had a charm bracelet that had significant meaning. What 5 charms would we want on a bracelet?: book, piano, ballet shoe, airplane, and a star.

pub 3/19/19 by Simon Pulse
Young Adult - Contemporary
Received from pub for review
Of the review books I’ve read so far this year, Girls With Sharp Sticks has been the most surprising and I mean that in a really good way. It wasn’t initially on my radar until the publisher sent it but it sounded interesting and I’d long been curious about Suzanne Young’s work. Reading it was the best decision because wow, this book kinda blew my mind. In fact, once I sat down on my couch to read it, I didn’t move until I was done. We’re introduced to Mena, one of the many girls of the Innovation Academy, where they’re trained to focus on their looks, obedience and demure personalities. Their schooling consists of garden work, interior design and the like and are under constant observation of teachers, doctors and a Guardian. But while it reads like a contemporary (granted a rather f’ed up one), the words and setting belie the darkness that will eventually reveal itself to Mena and her friends. From the get-go the book is absorbing and atmospheric and I truly spent most of it on pins-and-needles as Mena begins to discover the secrets behind the controlling school and what’s really happening there. I’d love to say more but going in somewhat blind makes for a better reading experience. Just know that I was so impressed and immediately needed to talk it out with Alexa. This book will certainly make you think and I can’t recommend it enough.

Favorite female-dominated cast: This is a tough one! For something more lighthearted, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. If you want something a bit darker, Orphan Black (granted the sestras are played by the same actress but I still think it counts!).


Collaborative feature with Alexa. We read ARCs together and post our reviews on the same date.

1 comment

  1. Girls with Sharp Sticks was SUCH a surprise - in a good way! While it's not necessarily a story I could see myself revisiting multiple times, I did find it impossible to put it down as I read.


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