Book Review: Fearless by Devon Hartford

FearlessFearless (The Story of Samantha Smith #1) by Devon Hartford

Book Description (from Amazon): FEARLESS is the first in a series of full length novels. At the age of sixteen, Samantha Smith’s innocence was shattered in the blink of an eye. She kept the pain to herself for three years, burying her terrible secret beneath black clothes and black makeup, afraid to tell anyone. The price for her silence was the loss of her happiness and all of her friends. After moving from stuffy Washington D.C. to laid back San Diego, where Samantha is now a freshman at San Diego University, she is determined to find new friends and reclaim her optimistic spirit. Having thrown away her goth exterior, she hopes that her new sunny look will heal her wounds.  Dreaming of adventure, she wishes to escape the humdrum middle-class existence that has repressed her fiery nature for as long as she can remember. But her parents are pressuring her to major in Accounting because it’s the safe thing to do. Samantha secretly considers ditching the business major to study Art, a choice that would horrify her parents if they ever found out. When Samantha crosses paths with a troubled, handsome, tattoo-clad bad boy, her life spins into overdrive, and Samantha finds herself with more adventure than she ever dreamed possible.

My Review: What attracted me to this book? Uh, did you see the hot guy on the cover? {Take heed new authors: the cover is one of the most significant ways to get noticed} That got my attention, but that’s not what had me intrigued. It was the main character, Samantha Smith.

After reading the book description, I immediately related to her. No, I never went through a goth phase, but I was that girl who majored in Accounting because it was the safe thing to do. I also took Art classes because I loved it. I’m a creative being. I even switched my major to Art for a semester, but the doubts crept in. I was certain I would end up being a starving artist, so I switched back to the safe and boring world of Accounting.

Unlike the main character, my parents never forced me into that decision, at least not directly. They were both artistic people. I remember being amazed when my father drew a picture of Buddy, our pet owl. I didn’t even know he could draw, and his rendering resembled a photograph.

My parents unintentionally sent the message that art was something you did “on the side,” by choosing other careers. So I stayed with Accounting and did that for the next twenty years. But what if I had chosen another path? Would my life have been similar to that of Samantha Smith?

I was curious enough to read the book and find out. Like Samantha, I took Life Drawing and the model that posed nude in our class bore no resemblance to the “tattoo-clad bad boy” on the cover. In fact, the model wasn’t even male. Here’s a drawing I did of her from one of those classes:

LifeDrawingIf the handsome bad-boy had made an appearance, maybe I would’ve stuck with it. 🙂

All this to say Devon Hartford described a character I could relate to. I understood that yearning, the desire to be true to myself. That is what initially had me reading the story, but that’s where the similarities ended.

There were times when I couldn’t understand Samantha’s actions. I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and shake her. The bad boy was such a narcissistic, male chauvinist pig that I was sure he had chosen the name Adonis himself. He really turned me off at first, and I couldn’t understand why Samantha was still attracted to him. A handsome face and nice body can only get you so far. There were times when the character’s actions just didn’t seem to fit.

But, as the story progressed, more was revealed about them. A person isn’t always what they appear to be on the surface. A tortured past wreaks havoc on the human psyche. Thankfully, Adonis became known as Christos, a name and character that was more palatable to me (that’s what’s known as character arc). I was intrigued enough to keep reading, and enjoyed the story overall.

4 out of 5 stars


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