Author Francine Pascal
City and Publisher New York: Pocket Pulse
Teaser/Reader Annotation Gaia is just like any other teenage girl, with one exception: she was born without the fear gene.
Plot Summary Gaia is a seventeen-year-old girl who has literally no fear. Due to a genetic anomaly she was born without the fear gene, which creates a whole new set of problems on top of the difficult trials of being a teenager. While her father was still alive he trained her to use this gift and transformed her into the ultimate fighter; though, he never told her why. She is strong, fast, intelligent, and without the hesitation holding her back that a normal human is handicapped with. Now, however, she is an orphan living in foster-care in New York City and is trying to forget that past in favor of a more normal life. She has a crush on the boyfriend of the girl she hates most. There is a paraplegic boy named Ed following her around like a puppy. Then there is the sneaking suspicion creeping into her mind that someone is trying to kill her.
Critical Evaluation Fearless was definitely a book series directed at a female reader base. While it has elements of danger and adventure, these are far between compared to the every day teenage girl events that mark most of this novel. It could be, however, that this volume is being used mainly as set-up for the greater part of the series and more action-packed novels are to follow. This book does do well in beginning to touch on serious teen issues such as drugs, abuse, alcohol, and sex which promise further development later in the series. The situation itself – being born without the fear gene – is relatively unbelievable but the characters themselves are very realistic and easy to relate to. It is especially interesting to explore the character of Gaia and see how her life has been affected by her condition. The book could have been improved, however, by keeping to either first or third person narrative instead of shifting between them.
About the Author Francine Pascal (May 13, 1938) is an American author best known for young adult series collections aimed towards female readers. She is best-known for creating the Sweet Valley series that ran for twenty years, though the writing was taken over by ghostwriters and only under her supervision for a majority of the one-hundred and fifty-two books.
Francine graduated from New York University in 1958 where she met her husband, John. This is the second marriage for both of them but lasted until John's death. While they had lived in New York with their children, after John's death Francine began splitting her time between New York and France and is still working as a professional writer.
Primary Genre Realistic Fiction
Curriculum Ties None
Explore situations – both bad and good – throughout your life and how they would have been different were you not able to experience fear.
Reading Level/Interest Age 15+
Challenge Issues None. Though there is mention of questionable content such as drugs and violence, it is not detailed enough to draw challenges.
Why is it included? I had read this series when I was a young adult and found it buried in my bookshelf this past summer.