We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry
Publisher: Pantheon Books
Length: 362 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: March 3, 2020
ARC acquired through publisher
It’s 1989, and the Danvers High School Women’s Field Hockey team is staring down another losing season. But things start to look up when the team’s goalie discovers a book that will change both the course of the season as well as each player’s life.
FACT: In 1692, a handful of young girls, interested in divining the nature of their futures, brought devastating consequences to what was then known as Salem Village. FACT: Three hundred years later, Salem Village is now the Town of Danvers, and these teen girls are just as wily and original as their ancestors. If hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, then Boston’s north shore is about to discover what lengths eleven teen girls will go to win a state championship, uncovering their true selves and bucking convention along the way. We Ride Upon Sticks and Are There Presently presents a portrait of teen girl-dom in all its furious messiness, from big hair to Heathers to coming into one’s glorious own despite society’s stale notions of femininity.
When I first heard about We Ride Upon Sticks, I was immediately drawn towards the plot of a women’s hockey team thriving under the influence of supernatural power. The fact that the story is set right in the heart of a region rich in witchcraft added on to my interest in the tale. I’m so thankful for Pantheon Books for providing me with an ARC of this book!
We Ride Upon Sticks follows the lows and steady rise of the Danvers High School Falcons, an all-female hockey team suffering struggles until some supernatural help befalls on these women one summer. The triumphs the team experiences are sudden, but these women are also handling the pressures of senior year in high school. The friendships and dramas that befall girls approaching the crossroads of adulthood can bring about its own stresses. Each of the women described in We Ride Upon Sticks fit the mold of an ‘It Girl’, ‘The Leader’, ‘The Mousey-yet-assertive’ types that we’ve all seen in our high school days. Ushering in an extra dose of supernatural, ‘witchy’ abilities bring about unexpected surprises that takes us for a ride as the story progresses.
We Ride Upon Sticks is set in the 1980s, which I very much appreciated! I love reading historical fiction tales, and while I was just a child in the 80s, many of the references brought a smile to my face (I loved ‘The Bangles’ and ‘Duran Duran’ musical references, to name a few!). The tension in the story was also presented in the style reminiscent to 1980s storytelling (I can only describe it as events take place in a slow-but-steady pace, keeping me focused!
I enjoyed We Ride Upon Sticks, as it exemplifies the power of women coming together to survive and thrive while enduring the trials of adolescence, and having supernatural abilities on your side. If you love stories rich in female friendship with a hint of magic, then this is the book for you!
Rating: 4/5 Stars