What if women in the United States were suddenly denied the right to handle their own finances, drive without a male escort or go to college, all in the name of keeping them safe? With a deft hand, Catherine Linka explores this disturbingly plausible scenario in her debut novel, A GIRL CALLED FEARLESS, set in an alternative, dystopian present-day America.
A synthetic hormone given to cattle a decade ago has caused the deaths of virtually all women of childbearing age, resulting in a society where men unapologetically wield all power.
Now, instead of finishing their education and getting jobs, girls are forced into prearranged marriage contracts. Sixteen-year-old Avie Reveare learns she has been Signed to Jessop Hawkins, a businessman more than twice her age and a major donor to the Paternalist Movement, the group responsible for keeping females "home safe and sound in the kitchen." After paying $50 million for her, Hawkins plans to launch his campaign for governor with Avie by his side.
Avie's preparations begin with dress fittings and the verification of her virgin status, but she is warned that her marriage requirements will also include satisfying her husband's needs at any time and having as many babies as he wants.
Aided by longtime best friend and cute guy Yates, she plans her escape to Canada. But it's not long before Avie realizes her responsibilities may lie in bringing down the entire system. Escalating suspense, added onto the already intense premise, make this novel unforgettable.
--Lynn Becker, host of Book Talk, the monthly online discussion of children's books for the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators. This review first appeared in Shelf Awareness
Discover: In an alternative dystopian U.S., a young woman forced into marriage with a powerful man plans her escape.