So I stayed up half the night reading this. A Girl Called Fearless by Catherine Linka has that post-apocalyptic semi survival feel without the end of the world. Well maybe "Teotwawki": The End of the World as We Know It.
Hormones feed to cattle and ingested by humans lead to a type of cancer that women in their child-bearing years had no chance to survive. There wasn't enough medicine to go around and only children, older women and long term vegetarian/vegans survived.
While families were mourning their loved ones, a new political power: the paternalists took control of the government. Girls and women are now a highly sought after commodity and the majority of teenage girls have bodyguards. They go to special schools, can only shop in gated stores and are forced into arranged marriages when prospective (and often much older) men purchase them from the fathers.
Avie is one of these girls. Her father treats her well and she can remember happier years when her family was still intact and she was allowed to be friends with boys. Her rushed marriage contract comes as quite a surprise to her as does her future husbands extremely controlling ways. One thing is for sure, once she signs the contract and has her wedding, she will be trapped for life. Some have tried to flee to Canada (they never allowed the beef feed the disastrous hormones) but many fail as well. And Avie certainly can't get there without help.
Haunting and suspenseful, Avie is relatable and likable and undergoes a perfectly paces, realistic transformation. Supporting characters met the same standards. I can't wait to start recommending this book. Readers will be clamoring for future installments (even though I think this will be a stand-alone).
If you liked this book try these: Wither by Lauren DeStephano and Epitaph Road by David Patneaude.
*ARC provided by publisher through Netgalley for an honest review.