Category Archives: tim lott
Two of my favorite novels, Anthem and Brave New World, depict dystopian worlds. Based on this, I approached Tim Lott’s Fearless eagerly. Lott’s debut teen novel reveals a futuristic world where girls labeled dangerous for society are “put away” in the sinister “City Community Faith School,” where they’re robbed off any traces of identity. Lott, a Whitbread First Novel Award winner, for White Blue City(1999). However, the novel suffers what I deem “the Lost-effect,” meaning it becomes so wrapped up in its own mythology, it tries to explain everything, and becomes so convoluted that a reader is easily lost, and at times even distanced from the book.
The novel’s prologue depicts a nameless girl who witnesses her mother being taken in the middle of the night. This is a tightly written scene and prompts you to eagerly read on.
Next we’re introduced to four girls, Beauty, Little Fearless, Soapdish, and Tattle. We learn they’ve bestowed these names upon themselves, based on distinguishing features. The girls’ identities have been taken from them, robbing them of a true identity. We soon meet other girls, also with nicknames.
Perhaps because he’s primarily an author intended for an adult audience, Mr. Lott favors adjectives. Metaphor and simile run rampant. The end result is a book laden with passages such as the following:
“She turned her head toward Tattle, causing a ripple in straight perfect hair, black and blue like midnight.”
“Her eyes were red and scrunched up, like meat from a butcher shop.”
Throughout the course of reading the novel, I honestly felt no sympathy and emotion for the characters. as Little Fearless tries to inform the city dwellers of the cruelty within the “school,” I was slightly moved, but the end result of the novel left me angry and disconnected from the book completely.
Fearless is out in hardback now from Candlewick Press.
Review copy provided by the publisher