Smart Chick Spotlight
Synonyms: agile, alert, bold, brainy, clever, crafty, fresh, good
ingenious, keen, knowing, quick, resourceful, sassy, sharp, wise
As a reader, I love books with female narrators / main-protagonists. I love when girls and women kick ass and takes names and don’t care whether or not the boys are watching to be impressed. (Though, it’s totally OK if the boys are watching and are impressed.) I’m kind of an obnoxious Girl Power, yea! reader when it comes to literature — and my friend & critique partner L. has started doing a Femme Fatale Friday post where she gives the spotlight over to her favorite leading ladies in contemporary YA and Adult fiction. I’m joining L. in her efforts to give tribute to some of the best girls and women in literature every other Friday.
This week the Smart Chick Spotlight shines on Gaia Moore from Francine Pascal’s Fearless series. Now I know when most people hear Francine Pascal’s name, they think of Sweet Valley High. I should probably just mention now, I never read SVH and while I’m sure it’s great because it is Francine Pascal, I fan-girl over Gaia Moore — the girl who can’t feel fear and who gallivants around New York City being a teenage vigilante. But let’s turn to Overview from Barnes & Noble, shall we?
Gaia is a brilliant, beautiful girl who is trained in three kinds of martial arts, has a reflex speed that’s off the charts, and can climb mountains, box, wrestle, and break codes in four languages. She has no trouble throwing a grown man over her shoulders. She doesn’t care what people think of her, and she’s never scared…
Because she is missing the fear gene.
In this action-packed bind-up, Gaia makes her way through the treacherous halls of high school and is forced to come to terms with herself, the boys in her life, and her completely MIA family.
But she can handle it.
There are 36 books in this series, and I cannot honestly tell you if I’ve read them all. But regardless, Gaia Moore deserves today’s Smart Chick Spotlight because, quite frankly, you have to be one smart chick in order to survive being fearless. What I love most about Gaia, though, is that she is all kinds of smart, and different levels of smart, and she just gets smarter as the series progresses. Sure, she can crack codes and knows all kinds of martial arts — those are just required when you (a) can’t feel fear and (b) your family is missing, but once was CIA.
She also spends a lot of time being a bit of a vigilante, which is decidedly not smart, and what’s most interesting about Gaia is that while she can’t feel fear, she can feel adrenaline, and when the latter comes without the former, it can be the ultimate high. For a while Gaia can’t help running after trouble, inviting it into her life, and it’s definitely stupid. But her early vigilante work is what makes her story, and her growth as a smart chick, so much more interesting.
And finally, Gaia begrudgingly learns quite a bit about family, friendship, love and loss, and that the terrorists are always going to kidnap the people who have the tightest emotional tie to you.
She’s one smart chick, and she can kick a boy’s butt, which is precisely how I prefer my heroines.