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We Ride Upon Sticks

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  383 ratings  ·  98 reviews
From the author of the widely acclaimed She Weeps Each Time You're Born comes a new novel, at once comic and moving. Set in the coastal town of Danvers, Massachusetts (which in 1692 was Salem Village, site of the origins of the Salem Witch Trials), it follows the Danvers High field hockey team as they discover that the dark impulses of their Salem forebears may be the ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published March 3rd 2020 by Pantheon Books
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Average rating 4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  383 ratings  ·  98 reviews

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Jessica Woodbury
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. What a goddamned delight of a book. I laughed at something nearly every paragraph. I got to know these characters deeply. This book understands the dark magic of teenage girls and opens it wide open, showing us just how powerful they are and I loved every minute of it.

The Danvers High School varsity Field Hockey team has 11 members and at first they are all a blur to you. But after a while you will know them all intimately, you will know Boy Cory's last name and Girl Cory's sketchy
The Artisan Geek
Feb 01, 2020 marked it as to-read
Shelves: bookcase

Gals signing their name in to the Devil's Book sounds really thrilling! I could do for a fun and dark book!!

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Nenia ⚡ Aspiring Evil Overlord ⚡ Campbell
This sounds like one of those 90s sports movies, only with a dash of Satanism.

"Salem's hockey team lost every game they ever played. Just when they felt like they were all out of puck... they received a little help from an old friend..."

*record scratch*

"The DEVIL."
Brianna Carosi
Sep 11, 2019 rated it liked it
I got this as an advanced copy for nycc so I took some pretty intense notes. The things I really liked about the book was the witchcraft and reckless abandon. And how supportive of each other the team is. My favorite part was the last chapter. I think if it started out as a frame story I would have liked it better, i like the structure the last chapter gave it all.

This is a plot heavy book, everything that happens pushes the plot forward.

I found myself wanting to get the know the team more like
Bill Kupersmith
Most literature of sport Ive read features bat and ball games - either cricket or baseball. Except for Enid Blyton, Field Hockey (ie, real hockey, not ice hockey) has been an orphan. This year happily for me (as we endure the cancellation of both FIH Pro Hockey and the Olympics) has given me the pleasure to read two novels set at the opposite extremes of the sport, the Olympic Games in Sydney and a high school in Danvers, Massachusetts. They were Fiona Campbells No Number Nine and now Quan Barry ...more
Oct 02, 2019 rated it liked it
I was given the chance to read this for NYCC. I don't usually write reviews so I do apologize if this doesn't help.


I didn't really mesh with Quan Barry's writing. I felt that there was a lot of stuff in the book that wasn't needed. The plot wasn't as crazy as I would have liked and I would have preferred to learn more about the girls. However I was glad everything I questioned about the book was answered (though some of them were a let down) and when I did get information about
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is, in all the best ways, like a campier Megan Abbott novel. I loved the way Barry merged between third-person specific narration and first-person-plural, I loved the trials and tribulations of teenage girls in 1989 striking a deal with... the devil? to win States in field hockey. I loved the particulars, I loved the little destabilizing details that tease what'll happen in the future, I even loved the times where the book slowed down a bit. Very fun, very sweet, but with a killer ...more
Renee // Feminist Book Club Box and Podcast
If Now and Then, Pretty in Pink, and Practical Magic all had a baby who grew up to play field hockey, it would be this book. Perfection. Chefs kiss. ...more
Mar 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
WE RIDE UPON STICKS is downright fantastic. This book is like nothing I've read before; Barry's writing is singular and magical, hilarious and heartwarming. A total surprise that I wolfed down and then wished it would last forever.

Set in Danvers, MA (site of the Salem Witch Trials) in 1989, the high school women's field hockey team strikes a deal with evil forces to take their team to the championship. We follow each girl (and one boy) as they grapple with their new powers, find their own
Leah Rachel von Essen
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-releases
In We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry, the 1989 Danvers field hockey team is tired of losing. So they do what any desperate squad of teenage girls would do: pledge their loyalty to the Devil in exchange for winning. With pieces of a gym sock tied around their arms and the land where the Salem witches were tried under their feet, these girls start casting spells. And when the team starts to winand win bigtheyre determined to keep that dark magic going, whatever it takes.

This book was a wild ride
Jenna Leis
Sep 26, 2019 rated it liked it
So I had the chance to read the advance copy for New York Comic Con and then sit and talk with some of my fellow book lovers and discuss our thoughts.

My personal feelings about the book after reading it was that it was okay. I liked the concept of it but didn't really love the execution. It took me a bit longer than usually to get through it. I don't know if it was me or the book but there was nothing really compelling me to keep reading other than to get it done before Comic Con (and the fact
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5. This one was a whole lot of fun. Growing up in the 80s and 90s in Northern New England, a lot of it felt cringingly on point and nostalgic. A girl on my soccer team totally had a Claw. We made up dances to Control. A few things didnt ring totally believable, but in a book where hair talks and Emilio Estevez is a dark deity, just go with it. The girls are a joy and a mess and a fantastic fiery unit and their world is one worth spending some time in. We need more books about powerful female ...more
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
"We ride upon sticks and are there presently."

The 1980's, high school field hockey and teen witches...what more could you ask for out of a book?!

I really enjoyed We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry. I loved that each chapter focused on a different character. It made me far more invested in the story because I was getting to know everyone. There is a long list of characters in the book to keep track of and focusing on each one at some point really helps keep track of everyone in the story.

I could not have asked for a book more geared towards me if I tried. 1989, high school field hockey team embraces the dark arts to win the State Championship. I graduated in 1989 so I loved every pop culture reference in this. Even though it is about high school girls, I would not call this YA by any means - it is too well written and there is no underlying moral message. It is not laugh out loud funny, but there is a lot of dark and dry humor throughout this book. It was an absolute delight and ...more
Cathleen P. Brenycz (Woven From Words)
When I first heard about We Ride Upon Sticks, I was immediately drawn towards the plot of a womens 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. Im 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
Geonn Cannon
Mar 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Really good. Interesting POV. It's all we, our, us... never I. The narrator is never named or referenced. I don't think I've ever seen that before and it took a while to get over. I'm still not sure I am over it, but I didn't let it affect my overall enjoyment.
Jessica Schiermeister
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Cleverly written. Charming, funny, one-of-a-kind.
Hillary Copsey
Mar 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
A fun nostalgia bomb that really comes together at the end.
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is so wild. Following a group of high school seniors on their school's varsity field hockey team and narrated in the collective we, the book is ambitious: not only does it create eleven (!) compelling protagonists and a slew of side characters, including kind-of-sentient body parts like Jen Fiorenza's bangs (The Claw), Mel Boucher's teratoma (The Splotch), and school newspaper reporter Nicky's chin (The Chin). The imagination in this book is just a total delight, and the sneaky ...more
laurel [suspected bibliophile]
DNF at 7%

There might be a great story here, but first person plural is a very hard sell for me and a story with 90% circular exposition doubly more so. The writing style is definitely not for me, as much as I wanted to like the story and keep going.
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing

Yall. This book. Is about. FIELD HOCKEY WITCHES.


Has there ever been a book more geared toward ME? (See below pic for reference.)

Anyway, this story is set in 1989, where the much-losing varsity field hockey team at Danvers High takes a little inspiration from their town's historyDanvers, of course, being where most of the witch trials actually took place. I loved everything about this bookthe first person plural narrative voice that
Dayna Long
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved this. It was refreshing to read a story about teenagers told in an unconventional, clever way. It was also extremely funny. A real treat.
Mary McBride
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
A great story about a girls field hockey team near Salem Massachusetts in the 1980's.
It's about their friendships, their expectations and finally figuring out who they really are.
Full of great humor, a bit of witchcraft and unforgettable characters.
A truly original and heartwarming treat.
Due out in March 2020.
Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, giveaways
Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book via Goodreads giveaway.

I really enjoyed this book overall, and I could see myself rereading it in the future. I gave this book 4.5 stars.

We Ride Upon Sticks is a unique novel about a high school field hockey team in Danvers in the '80s that will do anything to make it to state during their senior year. Though this sounds like a novel meant for young adults, I think this novel would be more appealing to adults. My high school self wouldn't have found
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Oh, this was a blast. Unusual plot, entertaining characters who are very distinct from each other, and an ending that made me unexpectedly emotional. I think this one is going to be a hit.
Mar 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Mar 21, 2020 rated it liked it
I really wanted to love We Ride Upon Sticks, a novel about the 1989 Danvers, MA (where the Salem witch trials began) high school field hockey team and their efforts to call upon the power of their witchy ancestors and utilize the occult to make it to states. Despite a synopsis that seemed 100% up my alley, I struggled a little with the way the story was told (at points I thought my audiobook was skipping around). While it might not have been exactly what I expected, it was ultimately a fun, ...more
Margaret Kennedy
We Ride Upon Sticks is a empowering tribute to the decade of the 80s, girlhood, and women of all sorts. The story follows the 1989 varsity girls field hockey team of Danvers High, ready to start another season after an impressively long losing streak. This time, however, they are going to do whatever it takes to get to States - even if it means following in the footsteps of those teen girls that lived in their town three centuries ago by dabbling in a bit of witchcraft. Told from the point of ...more
Mar 21, 2020 rated it liked it
It was a delicious read...until it fell apart at the end. The author doesn't seem to trust her own creation, or perhaps she had a change of heart? In any event, the ending takes several unsatisfying left turns at the end (it feels a bit like her editor said "the book's getting too long, wrap it up"), essentially scuttling what had been great fun up to that point. The girls (and one boy) on the team each had a chapter to flesh them out, except, oddly, the one character descended from an actual ...more
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A claw, a splotch, a jaw, a contusion - what? why? who cares? Trust me. You will. This slice of 1980's high school shenanigans will have you squirting wine cooler out your nose. There's a field hockey team itching to be the best and they turn to the dark side to get there. It doesn't hurt that they live in Danvers, Massachusetts where the original witch trials were held. After signing their Book of Shadows (which happens to have a picture of Emilio Estevez on the cover) things start looking up. ...more
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Born in Saigon and raised on Bostons north shore, Quan Barry is a professor of English at the University of WisconsinMadison and the author of four poetry books; her third book, Water Puppets, won the AWP Donald Hall Prize for Poetry and was a PEN/Open Book finalist. She has received NEA Fellowships in both fiction and poetry, and her work has appeared in such publications as Ms. and The New ...more

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