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 Ridgeview 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.
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What worked: This is an exciting sequel to Girls With Sharp Sticks. I have to admit this has to be one of my favorite series from Young. In this futuristic world, wealthy men invest in AI girls that they can owe and manipulate into being the 'perfect trophy wife'. This book picks up right after Mena and some of the other girls escape Innovations Academy. They're hurt and the hidden book of poems still resonates with them. The poems speak of fighting back and not being the obedient, 'good girl'. Their combined knowledge that the academy not only lied to them, but hid what they were, gives them the strength to make sure no other girl is hurt or worse.
Mena is strong, courageous, and loyal. Her loyalty to the other girls is shared. Mena struggles with her feelings with human Jackson and tries to severe their relationship. When she and Sydney enroll at Ridgeview Prep, to find another investor, they encounter similar sexist behavior that is either ignored or brushed off by school authorities. These scenes, including one in which Mena stands up to a girl being sexual harassed in the cafeteria, show a world where men are in power and how it starts when they're young. Boys are believed, while girls are accused of leading them on and worse. Something girls and women deal with in our world today.
I loved the backstory of Mena and the academy. I also love how this series has a powerful message that girls shouldn't be afraid to fight back against sexism and those in power who want to silence their voices.
Engaging, empowering futuristic tale where young AI girls fight to be the ones in control in their battle against the patriarchy. Hints of the #metoo movement throughout.