Book Author: Tim Lott
Book Series: NA
Series Number: NA
Genre: Children’s Lit
First Published: June 2017
Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
It’s not often I give a book five stars, but I discovered this book when I was in that weird stage of being in Secondary School (High School) but also transferring to College—a form of
education that is needed to study a uni degree—and I fell in love with the book.
Why do I love it?
The characters are believable from the get-go, the small part of the world in which the characters live are vivid and the plot is just one full of emotion.
Little Fearless and her friends are imprisoned—but what is a prison to them looks like an all-girl boarding school to the rest of the world. The girls notice that those who reach a certain age never come back and odder still, never talk about the falseness of the City Community Faith School
Little Fearless gets herself into dangerous situations to free the other girls but is one danger just too much for her to handle?.
I love this plot. It makes me think of the Stanford prison experiment. The girls in this book are imprisoned due to being seen as a threat by the government—in Little Fearless’s case, it is because her parents were known terrorists.
All the girls in this story are given a letter, X, Y or Z and a string of numbers which display your rank—which usually goes with the age the girl is but can also show how well behaved they are. Many of the girls don’t remember their birth names while a few of them do.
Worried about what happens as the girls age as others have never came back, Little Fearless aims to put an end to their imprisonment.
The public believe that the girls attend an all-girl boarding school that has a representation of taking “bad kids” and turning them out to be model citizens, so when Little Fearless manages to escape and tries to find help, it is no wonder no one believes her.
However, while Little Fearless tries to save the girls, she makes enemies amongst her fellow prisoners and her friends. Each time she escapes, the whole ‘school’ is punished by The Commander and have a little part of their identity taken away each time. All the girls’ hairs are shaven off, their clothes become a grey prison suit and more. This makes the girls feel more vulnerable and more likely to turn against Little Fearless.
It is a story about identity, loyalty and courage. When Little Fearless fails the third time, she owns up and is punished by being locked in a cell. The Commander gives her enough food to survive but will not release her from the cell until she submits and her spirit is broken.
But it is clear that The Commander is hiding a secret of his own, tortured by his job and afraid for the one person he loves.
I think my favourite scene is when Little Fearless is placed in a cell and the Controller gets the X girls (the elder group of girls) to convince the Y and Z girls that there was never a girl called Little Fearless. It shows the power of suggestion and it also shows that there is always that one that does not fall into the same group. But one friend of Little Fearless remains loyal no matter what happens, Stargazer.
This plot runs on emotion. The friendships, the betrayals and the trauma that Little Fearless has to go through, not only to fight for her freedom but for all the others as well. The story is just a rollercoaster of emotion and is really well crafted.
I have read this book several times now and each time I am just glued to the pages. It also has a surprising twist at the end—after all, what good book doesn’t?
The characters are named by their traits so it is easy to tell what their personality is.
Little Fearless is meant to be the hero of the story, brave enough to risk her own safety for the others. There isn’t much that can stop her except maybe a couple of close friends. Alongside this, she has a distinctive feature, one brown eye and one blue eye which is part of one of the sub plots.
Her friend, Beauty is seen as beautiful and vain. She is very quick to turn against Little Fearless when her clothes have been reduced to grey jumpsuits and her head is hairless.
Stargazer is a dreamer but also claims to see the future, this causes her to faint quite a lot. However, she is very loyal. She reminds me a lot of Luna from the Harry Potter series as a lot of the other girls see her as crazy. She is the only main Z girl
Stench has the job of making sure none of the girls are sneaking away in the dustbins- hence why she is called Stench. She rummages in them looking for treasure and keeps whatever she can find. She is one of the X girls and so is seen as loyal by the commander.
Lady Luck flicks a coin whenever she is asked to make a decision, especially if it is to see how a Y or Z girl should be punished.
While the character’s personalities do seem to be very narrow, the book is full of emotion and you do feel for the characters.
I really love this book, it kept me emotional all the way through Little Fearless’s Journey, engaged with the danger each time she escaped, pity when she lost her friends and so much more.
I have read it several times and I still recommend this book to people. Particularly a good read for children between the ages of 11 and 14.
Let me know what you guys think.
If you like this book, feel free to also read my other book review Blame. Ant and Matthew’s journey is gripping from the first Paragraph.
Update on my Popsugar Reading Challenge, I read two books for the prompts – one is James and the Giant Peach, for the promt: A book with food in the title. The other was Erik German’s Dead Girls – for the prompt: True Crime Book. I have discovered that True Crime is not my cup of tea.