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A Girl Called Fearless

Review

A Girl Called Fearless

In an alternate present where the majority of women have been wiped out by a cancer-causing hormone in beef, the surviving population of men and their young daughters have been left to grieve and pick up the pieces of the fractured world. Unfortunately, their sorrow has driven things to extremes. Desperation has forced these men to believe that the only way to protect their daughters is to shield them from any potential danger in the world, even if this calls for stripping their rights away in the process. Safety first, right?
 
This fascinating plot automatically drew me to A GIRL CALLED FEARLESS, my mind reeling with possibilities of how Catherine Linka would write about such a topic and how well it would actually be executed. I was ecstatic to discover what a page-turner this was! The entire novel was a fast-paced, intriguing and thought-provoking story that I believe will leave all readers on the edge of their seats, craving more.
The entire novel was a fast-paced, intriguing and thought-provoking story that I believe will leave all readers on the edge of their seats, craving more.
 
First off, the world-building in this book is incredible. Just plain beautiful. It’s not very often that a book explains the cause of the tragedy that drives the plot; readers are just expected to go with some inadequate reason and assume it could actually happen. In this story, it is thoroughly explained and makes sense. The events that led up to the antagonists’ --- the Patriarchs --- rise to power are also plausible. I could see how many grieving fathers overcome by emotions would feed into corrupted leaders promising to protect their daughters. After all, isn’t that how leaders like Hitler came into power? I thought it was interesting to see the fathers’ perspective and how they believe turning a blind eye on the blatant injustice surrounding them is acceptable. I really, really enjoyed this world and at times I just sat in my room reading and thinking, “Wow. Could this actually happen?”
 
Continuing on that note, I thought this book paralleled reality well. In our current society, women are looked down upon as the weaker sex and everyone is taught from a young age to believe that they are to be protected as they can’t defend themselves. Obviously, this stereotype is unhealthy to young girls; however, it is real. In Catherine Linka’s world, this stereotype is blown up and it is as if women are property instead of people, and the lengths men have gone to in order to ensure their safety are outrageous. At one point, a character tells another character that “[she] belongs to him” and then proceeds to argue with her about her freedom. I thought that a lot of the sections about the rights being revoked were powerful and, for some reason, I felt connected to them. Of course, the “war on women” controversies discussed in today’s society do not make females anywhere even close to property, but the effects still lead to making women feel limited to what they can do simply because of gender. These parallels lead readers to wonder how real this alternate universe could be. I personally thought it was obviously exaggerated, but still shone light on the darker parts of reality, which is something I love seeing in fiction.
 
Another positive aspect of Catherine Linka’s work was the character development. This book is a huge feminist statement and I adored watching Avie grow from a quiet, unsure girl into a completely different person! It was gradual, done beautifully and added to this book’s perfection. The minor characters change just as much; those who you thought would be good show darker colors as the story progresses and it was nice that they weren’t overlooked.
 
I also liked that all of the action was quick and at times unexpected. There were very, very few slow parts to this story, especially after the real action begins.
 
I have to say there were a handful of negative things about this book, like the cliffhanger ending. It’s as if all the standalones out this year end on a cliffhanger and leave you to only imagine what will happen next; that wasn’t much fun. Also, an issue I had with the world was that despite half the working population dying, there is practically no economic crash. Everything is the same except there are no rights for girls and all the characters’ mothers and wives are dead. That bit was definitely unrealistic.
 
Though my bias as a feminist enhanced my enjoyment of this story, I would recommend this to girls, boys, women and men because it makes you think about our current day and age and if patriarchy could rise back to power after years of fighting for equality. Not to mention that it is just a wonderful novel full of interesting characters. 

Reviewed by Sydney L., Teen Board Member on July 7, 2014

A Girl Called Fearless
by Catherine Linka

  • Publication Date: May 6, 2014
  • Genres: Youth Fiction
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
  • ISBN-10: 1250039290
  • ISBN-13: 9781250039293