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We Ride Upon Sticks: A Novel by Quan Barry
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We Ride Upon Sticks: A Novel (edition 2020)

by Quan Barry (Author)

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835234,252 (3.77)2
Acclaimed novelist Quan Barry delivers a tour de female force in this delightful novel. Set in the coastal town of Danvers, Massachusetts, where the accusations began that led to the 1692 witch trials, We Ride Upon Sticks follows the 1989 Danvers High School Falcons field hockey team, who will do anything to make it to the state finals--even if it means tapping into some devilishly dark powers. In chapters dense with 1980s iconography--from Heathers to "big hair"--Barry expertly weaves together the individual and collective progress of this enchanted team as they storm their way through an unforgettable season.   Helmed by good-girl captain Abby Putnam (a descendant of the infamous Salem accuser Ann Putnam) and her co-captain Jen Fiorenza (whose bleached blond "Claw" sees and knows all), the Falcons prove to be wily, original, and bold, flaunting society's stale notions of femininity in order to find their glorious true selves through the crucible of team sport and, more importantly, friendship.… (more)
Member:VioletBramble
Title:We Ride Upon Sticks: A Novel
Authors:Quan Barry (Author)
Info:Pantheon (2020), 384 pages
Collections:Audiobook, Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:Read in 2020, Witches, Sports, Massachusetts, Coming of age

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We Ride Upon Sticks: A Novel by Quan Barry

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Showing 5 of 5
Phenomenal! This book is a mix of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Now and Then. I adored every second of it! A bunch of high school seniors sign their name to the devil's book (i.e. an Emilio Estevez spiral notebook) in return for having the best field hockey season of their lives. They are going to the state championships come hell or high water! It's 1989 and this motley crew of teenage girls (and Boy Cory) is living high on life. Now that they're toying around with "witchcraft" their game and their friendship has never been better. They're really meshing as a team and they have their black book of Emilio to thank for it. Told back and forth between the characters this story of identity, friendship, sexuality, school smarts, witchcraft, and field hockey is hilarious and unforgettable. Descriptions don't do it justice. I adored every character and their idiosyncrasies. From Jen and her claw (bangs aquanetted to high heaven) to Sue Yoon and her kool aid hair to Little Smitty's beloved rabbit - this story is one for the ages. Read it already! ( )
  ecataldi | May 9, 2020 |
Too juvenile.
  bogopea | May 9, 2020 |
This novel has a sentimental value to me; My daughter attended Danvers High during the time period that this book explores. For those readers who are not aware of the history of Danvers, MA, it is the town where the actual witch hysteria of 1692 happened. Danvers was at the time of the hysteria part of Salem, MA called Salem Village.

The author mixes the history of the town with the Davers High Field Hockey team quest for the State Championship. It is a very humorous novel about teens coming of age, good versus evil and the power of team spirit. The actual team was a majority of white girls with no boy but yes, a girl born in Vietnam who was adopted and an Asian girl also adopted. The girls in the books are just a compilation of different players. If you were born in the early 1970's you will truly appreciate all the cultural references of the era.

This novel has great character development with each chapter is dedicated to a Senior team member. You will come to understand why the team spirit is important to the storyline. I will be totally surprised if this book is not made into a movie or Netflix series. ( )
  Gingersnap000 | Mar 22, 2020 |
This funny novel follows a girl’s field hockey team as they strive to reach the state finals. Set in the outskirts of Salem, with the one of the team leaders being a relative of the famous Salem accuser Ann Putnam, you know there’s going to be a little witchcraft. Set in the 1980’s, it is filled with lots of memories, from hair to the description of the team members, including Boy Cory who thought joining a woman’s sport would help him get into college. Funny you bet. I graduated way before the 1980’s but high school humor and friendships remain the same. ( )
  brangwinn | Mar 15, 2020 |
WE RIDE UPON STICKS is not just another rags-to-riches sports story. Instead it is an enjoyable exploration of what it is like for a group of talented young women to believe in themselves. In this case, the Danvers High School girls field hockey team sets out to become the 1989 Massachusetts State champions. What this team lacks in athletic accomplishments, it more than makes up for in imagination. They become convinced that witchcraft, some smelly blue tube socks, and Emilio Esteves will deliver the success they seek. Indeed, witches are people for whom their town, formerly known as Salem Village, is well acquainted.

Barry takes on a well-travelled theme in this novel—the power of faith. Cervantes tackled it in “Don Quixote” and Chekhov summed it up with the sentiment, “Man is what he believes.” Two-time Olympic champion, Gail Devers, aptly captured its importance for athletes when she said “Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.” Whether real or imagined, faith in a cause and teamwork can carry people a long way toward achieving impossible goals. Was it witchcraft or hard work and teamwork that propelled these young women to success? Barry seems to suggest it may have been the latter.

Barry’s focus is not so much on the games they play, as on the young women (and one guy) who do the playing. Each is a unique and fully realized character and Barry relates their stories with grace and humor—especially humor. Along the way, she captures just about all of teenage culture, including angst, self-doubt, raging hormones, parental struggles, identity, etc., etc. Barry is especially adept at evoking the times, especially the popular songs they listen to and the flawed adults they manipulate (coaches, cops and teachers). The title of the novel is particularly inspired because it evokes the sticks, they “ride” into battle while chanting “field, field, field” “hockey, hockey, hockey” as well as the brooms the Salem witches “rode.” Enjoy the journey. ( )
  ozzer | Mar 14, 2020 |
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