Let me tell you about this book. Honestly, I wanted to scream as each chapter ended. Creepy. Cruel. Scary. This book sets itself from the rest of the dystopian genre because I can see these academies popping across the country and world, thanks to misogyny and idiocy blending with male hysteria towards smart girls and women.
Here’s a little background: Mena (short for Philomena) attends an exclusive all-girls boarding school, where they learn how to be a proper woman. Yes. You read that correctly. They learn how to be a proper woman. However, the teaching methods leave a lot to be desired.
Wiped brains. Beaten girls. Censorship. These three aspects make up more than enough in the school’s curriculum. If you want a girl to become a woman that follows you without question, visit Innovations Academy. Please do not let the irony of the school’s name miss you. Nothing’s innovative between these walls. Total regression sets the tone.
Yeah, none of this happens, Britney.
Let’s get on with the pros and cons of reading this story.
- The writing’s good. Suzanne Young sets the tone early on, and once you realize something’s seriously wrong with this school, you fear for all the girls.
- Mena, the protagonist, reads as fully created as a character. When she’s in pain, if you have a heart, you’re in pain. When she’s confused, you’re confused. A good character wants you invested. Mena owns that asset from the go.
- The school and its administration serve to haunt and horrify. Without a doubt, they do so.
- I had to check a few times to make sure this is YA. It felt adultish sometimes.
- Once you get into the story, the pacing’s quick. You do not wish to put the book down.
- Queer representation. Marcella and Brynn are on the spectrum. There’s no specificity. But, I will take it. Also, a girl of color (Valentine) is included.
- Supportive characters exist! No cattiness between girls. Simply put, the girls know they’re in a bit of a jam as students and do everything in their power to survive another day.
There’s a lot of this kind of support, though. Lovely!
- Let’s be real. It’s blurb on Goodreads is a bit spoilery. Change it.
Bottom line, snatch a copy of this tale and read with the lights on. ♥♥♥♥½/♥♥♥♥♥