Monday, June 9, 2014

Did Not Finish... A Girl Called Fearless by Catherine Linka

In the years since starting this blog I've learned a few things about books, the most important one being that certain books just aren't for everyone. This doesn't always mean they're bad, or that they're poorly written, or even that they're not entertaining. It just means that not everyone is going to enjoy the same story. Before blogging I think I didn't finish reading maybe one book. After blogging that number is quite a bit higher.

I don't post reviews for books I did not finish, because I feel that if I didn't finish it I shouldn't judge it. But readers do deserve to know that these books may not be the book for them. So I've decided I'm not going to judge these DNF'd books. Instead, I'm simply going to tell you why I DNF'd them. There will be no ratings on any DNF'd books. So here it goes...

Title: A Girl Called Fearless
Author: Catherine Linka
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publish Date: May 6th, 2014

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.

For me, there were just so many things that didn't work for me in A Girl Called Fearless by Catherine Linka. The book seems like an imaginative dystopian from the synopsis, something that might even be plausible to some extent. But once I started reading, the whole thing fell apart.

The idea of a society of men, after all of the women have died off, and how they deal with the girls who are left after they've grown, is bound to have some sort of feminist undertone. Women, girls really, being bought and sold as just another commodity, is appalling, but could present some very important feminist ideas. I was glad to see some of the characters, even some male characters, were very concerned with women's rights. Unfortunately, I didn't make it far enough through to find out if the heroine, Avie, becomes more concerned with her own rights. She didn't seem all that concerned, even when her own father sold her to a nearly middle aged man. Sure, she got angry, but not nearly as angry as I was expecting. For whatever reason, I just couldn't connect to Avie and that was a huge issue for me. In a story like this one, I need to love the main character, I need to feel for her so I can deal with all the bad stuff along side of her. If I don't then I might as well just stop reading.

But my biggest issue with A Girl Called Fearless, and the reason I ended up DNFing, was that the logic of the story seemed off to me. Even if a chemical added to meat killed so many women, where are all the vegetarians? We're told they survived, but there should be enough to, I don't know, keep a little bit of order in country. And where are the women from outside the US? Why would any man bother building a Paternalist Movement when they could just move to a place with women? Or invite women to move into the country? And why, oh why, would men only want girls who are virgins? I mean, I get it, but if there are only so many women I'm pretty sure guys would take what they can get. And how many men living only ten or so years in the future would feel comfortable selling their teenagers to older men to breed? Ew. I just can't see things going that barbaric that quickly.

I didn't finish the book, and I want to emphasis that because there might be vital information at the end that I missed that makes everything make complete sense. But from what I gathered, really only women in countries that imported American meat were effected by the chemicals. If you are willing to go with the logic of the story, you'll enjoy it because it's a really interesting idea. But if you're like me, and you're going to wonder why American men haven't moved to a different country or people, including women, from other countries haven't moved into America, then the reasoning behind A Girl Called Fearless will bug you. Again, I didn't finish it, but no one seems to even think of the idea of leaving such a corrupt, despicable country, aside from teenage girls who are being forced to marry old men they've never met. If I was the father of a young girl in a place like that, the first thing I'd do, especially if I had money the way Avie's father did, was leave the freaking country! It wasn't like the men were being controlled by anyone, they could choose not to marry off their daughters, they were just greedy pigs.

If you can't tell from my ranting, this book just rubbed me the wrong way, and it's not really Catherine Linka's fault. Her writing is perfectly fine, the story itself is fine, intriguing even. I just couldn't get into it. From the moment I began to read Avie's story, I couldn't connect with her in way that made me care if she was forced to marry someone or not, though I'm hoping not, for her sake.

If you're a fan of dystopians and sci-fi, there's a good chance you'll enjoy A Girl Called Fearless, as long as you don't question it too much. And maybe Avie will have that it-factor that she was so lacking for me.

If you've read A Girl Called Fearless what did you think of it?
Am I missing out by DNFing?

For more about A Girl Called Fearless check out these sites!



  1. Bummer you didn't like this one! I had to DNF a book too. I hate doing that so much, but sometimes you just have to or else you'll be reading it FOREVER. Honestly, this book sounds to complicated for me. Especially if the logic is flawed. That is the worst and usually what makes me stop reading a book is when I can't connect with the main character. Even by like the 100 page mark and there is still no connecting I usually know then the book just isn't for me. Great review! :)

    1. That's so true. I hate DNFing, but I also have a lot of other books I can be reading so why waste so much time trying to get through one I don't like?

  2. I had a reviewer DNF me and I took it as a wake up call. Her points were valid and it gave me a kick in the tush to go back and clean up my mess. The review was not mean, it was instructive. Sometimes a reviewer has to do the dirty work of straightening out lazy writers {like me!}. Her complaint was that I did not always write in complete sentences and she was correct. Thanks to the bad review, I am now a better writer! Your review is not mean-spirited. I hope Miss Linka is able to handle your review and learn from it.

    1. That's nice that you were able to see a bad review and turn it into a positive like that! That's always an awesome attitude to have. Sometimes reviewers can be harsh, but I think more often than not they are just voicing their personal opinions about a story and it's writing. They don't do it to be cruel, just to say what they think could have been done better. Whether or not the author agrees is always up to them. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. This was a very well written post :) I really like to hear why other didn't finish a book. In theory I want to start writing posts like this but I'm just too lazy, haha. I started DNFing books a lot more once I started blogging as well. I just realized there's not enough time in the world to read all the books I want so why waste any reading something I'm not enjoying.

    1. Exactly! Sometimes it's just not worth finishing a book. That doesn't even always mean it's a bad book, just that it's not for you. Glad you liked the post!

  4. I was really wondering about the vegetarian thing! That was actually my first thought when I read the synopsis of this book (which isn't surprising since I happen to be a vegetarian).
    Anyway, It sucks that you didn't enjoy this book, but I do like it when people explain why they didn't like a book (or in your case, not finishing it), so even if you didn't finish the book, it's really nice to hear your thoughts.
    I'm probably still going to read this book since I'm kind of curious about it. I hope I'll enjoy it more, but I might have the same problem (since I tend to question things in books).

    1. I really hope you enjoy this book MUCH more than I did. It isn't necessarily a bad story, it just really wasn't for me. I couldn't forget myself and get lost in the story because I had too many questions about things!


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