Bookshots: 'A Girl Undone' by Catherine Linka
Bookshots: Pumping new life into the corpse of the book review
A Girl Undone
Who wrote it:
Catherine Linka, nominated for three awards for Undone's predecessor, A Girl Called Fearless
Plot in a box:
Forced on the run after a deadly government attack, Avie must find a way to escape her dangerous arranged marriage and shut the Paternalists down for good.
Invent a new title for this book:
A Child-Bride Sold
Read this if you liked:
The Hunger Games or basically any other YA dystopian
Meet the book's lead:
Avie, a rich girl sold to a man twice her age with a penchant for politics
Said lead would be portrayed in a movie by:
Bella Thorne. She's just the right mix of sweet and dangerous.
Setting: would you want to live there?
Um, hell no! A world where women and little girls are routinely kidnapped and sold as sex slaves or sold by "loving" fathers and brothers into loveless arranged marriages? No thanks.
What was your favorite sentence?
I am not for sale. A few weeks ago, I'd have worn this [apron] proudly, but that was before I learned I could be bought.
Dystopian YAs are always compared to The Hunger Games, but this one actually shares a startling amount of marked similarities. Greed, diabolical politicians, a love triangle, a society that marginalizes specific groups lawfully and purposefully, even a sassy image specialist with an inexplicable love for the protagonist. Said protagonist, Avie, is no Katniss Everdeen, but she lives in the more believable world of alternate-history America, where nearly all women of marrying age have died out from chemically altered beef, leaving a small population of little girls to be auctioned off as baby-making machines to the highest bidder before they even graduate high school. And that's what happens to the lucky ones, those with money or connections.
Avie is one of those lucky few, if you can call it lucky to be sold off to a leader in the Paternalist party, the very men who are deep in bed with the Feds to keep women down. In the first book, A Girl Called Fearless (spoiler alert), Avie escapes her contracted husband and unwittingly becomes a symbol for girls everywhere who are tired of being enslaved to strangers, tired of employing bodyguards to avoid being kidnapped. In A Girl Undone, she's on the run after surviving a government attack and now faces political plots and colorful characters, all while making time to juggle a love triangle. The book is exciting, so fast-paced there's no time for breath between scenes, despite some actions seeming nonsensical and others spurred from muddled motives. Character development falls prey to plot, but there's lots of plot, and the pages fly by.
I found myself intrigued by the world itself. Mentions of the backgrounds to Avie's adventures are sparse and thinly fleshed, but those mentions piqued my interest. What happens to the poor girls in this world? To female newborns? To the girls who fall in line and marry their father's choice? The ills of this world we do explore, we explore through characters rather than being told, which is most of the magic of the story. And if a spinoff were in the works to explore those background mentions, I'd be first to read it.
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