Scottie Shearer, a sophomore in high school, is not impressed when her great Aunt starts teaching her to knit at her Aunt Roz’s funeral. Aunt Roz was the one person who understood her, especially now that her once-best-friend Amanda has turned popular and abandoned her. But much as she scorns knitting, that night she finds herself unable to put it down. Before she knows it, she’s hooked. And when she, Amanda, and two other wildly different girls from their school meet by various chance circumstances at KnitWit, a friendly neighborhood knitting shop, a pact begins to form that will change each of their lives for the better.
I read this book a few years ago and really enjoyed it. On the re-read, unfortunately, I’ve become aware of a lot of flaws; but it still has a place in my heart, so I don’t want to write it off entirely.
I think the deal is that the story is really good, but the writing technique is rough. There are just some irritating devices that could have been edited out:
-Excessive laughter. It seemed like every other sentence was somebody “throwing their head back and guffawing” or “cracking up into mischevious giggles and snorts”. I think a lot of times, if a character says something genuinely funny, it can just be assumed that their friends laughed. It doesn’t need to be documented play-by-play.
-It’s written in the third person, and a lot of times the author used “Scottie thought” sentences to comment on the action when it could have just been stated, with the fact that it’s a thought of Scottie’s being implied. For example, instead of “Well, she thought irritably, looks like For a Grieving Teen was about as helpful as a can of redbull”, she could have just written “It looked like For a Grieving Teen was about as helpful as a can of redbull”.
-Sometimes it was too bubbly, and it got exhausting. There were exclamation marks that could have just been periods, and some of the dialogue or narrations sounded a little too much like quotes from Cosmo or something. Just kind of affected, not quite natural.
-This is a little nitpicky, but there were too many synonyms for “said”. Just say “said”.
But the story itself keeps me loyal. The whole knitting angle is pretty unique. The four main characters, Scottie, Amanda, Bella, and Tay, are all very loveable, and their friendship is very sweet. And I was interested and eager to see how the various dramas would play out. It held my attention. Overall, I’d say I enjoyed reading Chicks with Sticks, even though I spent a lot of time yelling at it (“Stop laughing! For the love of god, stop laughing!”) If you’re looking for a cozy book to snuggle up in bed with, especially on a snowy winter day, or maybe on the beach or by the pool, give it a try. And if you like it, there are two sequels, Knit Two Together and Knitwise.