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  • Writer's pictureEmily

Language studies and survival skills 2: the kids are not alright

Barry, Quan- We Ride Upon Sticks

Novik, Naomi- The Golden Enclaves

In this edition of Language Studies and Survival Skills: The Kids Are NOT Alright, we are reunited with the gloriously grumpy El of the Scholomance trilogy, and meet a field hockey team who call upon the dark powers to get to state.

We Ride Upon Sticks

This book is a wild ride. It's got late-80s nostalgia, New England witchcraft histeria history lessons, observations on life as a teenage girl, field hockey, and mayhem. It's pretty funny, too. I feel like it doesn't need much more introduction. If you liked The Crucible, Heathers, and The Bad News Bears, you'll probably like this.

The Golden Enclaves

I was so excited to read this conclusion to the Scholomance books. It was a satisfying ending to the first two cliffhanging books. I don't want to give too much away, but El finds out that there are some unintended consequences to some of her heroics from the earlier books.

I liked this, and I will admit that I was a little worried, as excited as I was. I almost always like the beginnings of trilogies or series best. All the world-building, the fun of being at the beginning of a new series, meeting new characters. The winding-up of the trilogies usually comes as a let-down- but this was really good.

I loved El again. So mean!

I wrote about the Scholomance trilogy earlier, here: Language studies and survival skills and A short YA fantasy list. Definitely read them in order.

I'm just glad after reading these books that I had an easier time in high school than they did, and I felt like it was hard enough. Trying to fight your way upstream in the hallway. Carrying books for three classes at once because you can't get to your locker in between. Trying to focus on the teacher when you have cramps. I really have no warm feelings for this time in my life.

I can't say I'd ever have followed the example of the field hockey team who basically sold their souls for field hockey success, but I do wish I'd had more female characters like this when I was younger. El is such a good leader and strategist, and the field hockey team really supported each other, even when they had disagreements.

Please leave a comment if you read either of these books and liked them as much as I did, or if you are putting them on your TBR now.


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