Paint Me Fearless by Hallie Lee

Robin is pretty unpopular at school, she’s a little over weight and her low self-confidence makes it hard to socialise. When Desiree (aka Desi) starts school she is instantly popular and when both girls try out for the cheerleading squad it is Desi who makes it. Pretty typical right? However, Desi isn’t the air headed cheerleader stereotype and throughout tryouts the girls become friends, and pretty soon they are inseparable.

Paint Me Fearless follow the two friends from Shady Gully, Louisiana, throughout their high school lives, love, heartbreak and diets. And when the girls get serious boyfriends who also become friends, we follow on them on to their adult lives. Although they come from very different worlds; Robin’s family appear financially comfortable, whilst Desi lives with her mother and boyfriend in a trailer after her Mom left her Dad in New Mexico, the socio-economics are never a big problem for them throughout their lives.

This book really wasn’t what I was expecting, I thought it was going to be a high school drama; I’m not even sure why I thought that. But actually I really enjoyed it. It felt real and honest. There were a lot of traumatic events throughout their lives but it felt like it was dealt with honestly in respect of most people experience these difficulties, but do have to still continue on with life.

There were a few questions I had through the book, only some of which were answered (some might be slight spoilers so feel free to jump ahead): what decade are they in high school because finding two piece suits seemed super old school? What is ‘oodling’ and why does Desi’s Mom encourage it? (This was answered but very late in the book, I definitely thought it was going to be worse than it was) Why is Robin depicted as being ‘fat’ when actually the weight she is seems pretty average? (It feels a bit like Bridget Jones all over again) What happened to make Desi pick Lenny over Adam at school? Did Lenny quit work? What actually happened between Dean and Desi???

Usually when I’m left with unanswered questions I feel unsatisfied but actually I’m okay. Be prepared that this book deals with a lot of tough topics: sexual abuse, drug abuse, alcohol misuse, cancer, money problems, fat shaming, cheating and violence. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed it and probably will pick up the next one when it is released!

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