Author: Tim Lott
The City Community Faith School is where girls labeled “juvies” or “mindcrips” are sent. Locked away, their birth names taken, they are identified only by a letter and number – so they give each other nicknames, like Tattle or Stargazer or Little Fearless. Little Fearless tells stories to the other girls, stories about when their parents will learn the truth about the “school” and rescue them. And, determined to turn story into reality, Little Fearless sets off on a journey that will either save the girls being held prisoner or be the end of Little Fearless herself.
I’d never heard of the book or the author when I saw it on store shelves. But I like dystopian, and besides, I figured for three bucks, I really couldn’t go wrong.
This was my workout book – I propped it open on the elliptical machine and read it while I worked out every morning. And every day, I looked forward to working out just because I wanted to find out what happened next.
The setting was one very chilling dystopian world, where the government took away freedom in the name of safety from terrorists, and prisons for kids masquerade as reform schools with ivy growing over their walls. I think the scariest part of that was that it didn’t seem really implausible at all.
The characters were all kind of flat. Little Fearless was brave and liked to tell stories. Tattle was talkative. Stargazer was dreamy. Stench wasn’t very smart. Soapdish liked to be clean. And that’s really about it. It was like the author gave the characters names and one personality trait and called it good.
I really didn’t mind the flat characters, though, in light of the plot. Little Fearless’s escape had me hoping she would succeed, and wanting to beat up everybody who didn’t listen to her. And I hated the Controller (the guy in charge of the “school”) – even though I guessed one of the big reveals about him. Only one, though – the other one caught me entirely by surprise.
I enjoyed this book right up until the ending, when I wanted to yell at Tim Lott. It’s one thing to kill off a character when it furthers the plot. It’s a totally different thing to kill a character when it would have turned out the same if they’d have lived! I’m going to avoid spoilers and not tell you who died, but suffice it to say it was a character I really liked.
I really did like the story, despite the flat characters, but I wish that character hadn’t died.