St. Martin's Press
Ages 13 - 18
Avie Reveare has the normal life of a privileged teen growing up in L.A., at least as normal as any girl’s life is these days. After a synthetic hormone in beef killed fifty million American women ten years ago, only young girls, old women, men, and boys are left to pick up the pieces. The death threat is past, but fathers still fear for their daughters’ safety, and the Paternalist Movement, begun to "protect" young women, is taking over the choices they make.
Like all her friends, Avie still mourns the loss of her mother, but she’s also dreaming about college and love and what she’ll make of her life. When her dad "contracts" her to marry a rich, older man to raise money to save his struggling company, her life suddenly narrows to two choices: Be trapped in a marriage with a controlling politician, or run. Her lifelong friend, student revolutionary Yates, urges her to run to freedom across the border to Canada. As their friendship turns to passion, the decision to leave becomes harder and harder. Running away is incredibly dangerous, and it’s possible Avie will never see Yates again. But staying could mean death.
From Catherine Linka comes this romantic, thought-provoking, and frighteningly real story, A Girl Called Fearless, about fighting for the most important things in life—freedom and love.
Linka's story explores the harrowing possibilities of our society returning to a time when men rule over women, controlling every aspect of their lives and using them for barter in struggles of power. The scenario she paints, how most women die of cancer caused by a chemical in beef, is too realistic for comfort.
The main character, Avie, is a flawed teenage girl, often selfish and naive, but what 17-year-old girl isn't? These flaws are what make Avie ring true for me. The other characters are not quite as developed but Linka gives us enough of them to either appreciate or hate them. My favorite characters are probably Helen, the transvestite hair dresser, and Maggie, the fierce socialite turned freedom fighter.
While I wish the ending hadn't wrapped up quite so neatly, I will say that the story never dragged. The plot whisks the reader from location to location, never slowing down. I was constantly turning pages to see what would happen next.
A Girl Called Fearless is an impressive debut by an obviously skilled writer. I hope to see more from Linka in the near future.