I read the first few chapters of this book around late 2014 to early 2015. I found it during my senior year in my English teacher's personal book collection for our class. I distinctly remember the cover being lines of gray paper dolls with one being bright orange to represent the protagonist. I don't recall the title but I believe it had the word 'number' in it.

It was about a young girl, around 12 to 13 I believe, who lived in a factory with a bunch of other girls who are all marked with numbers to identify them. The only way they can improve their lives is to suck up to the older girls and staff to hope for a fraction of a power. However, the girls that do this are often then mean and cruel to the younger ones.

The protagonist, through a series of events I can't quite recall, escapes the factory and makes it to a nearby city.

The last part I recall before I stopped reading, she's standing in the town square, amazed by the city; then I subsequently graduated so I never finished the book. I've been curious about what happened after I stopped reading for a long time but numerous Google searches have been ineffective.

  • Were these the type of paper doll that's largely realistic which you then lay paper outfits over? Were the the folded-paper cut-out dolls that kids often do with linked arms?
    – FuzzyBoots
    Jan 17, 2020 at 21:24
  • Hi Rose. If you know a word or words from the title then it's worth searching isfdb.org. For example this is the results for novels with the word number in the title. However I went through all these looking at the covers and none match your description. Jan 18, 2020 at 9:37

2 Answers 2


Maybe Fearless (2007), by Tim Lott?

I have not read it myself; I found it by searching "dystopia girls factory".

Someone else asked about it and was answered here -- she asks about girls in a school, divided into older, middle, and younger age groups. Nicknames or numbers are used, not the girls real names, and they actually labor there; they don't learn (the answerer said they do laundry). The main girl has three possessions of her own; one is a locket with a picture of her mother.

Here is a cover which is similar to your description (from Amazon):

several rows of identical girl grey shadows, a distinct yellow one

The book description on Amazon:

In the not-too-distant future, the world is safe from terrorists, the streets are clean, and girls labeled "juvies" or "mindcrips" have been hidden away behind the smartly painted exterior of the City Community Faith School. Their birth names are forgotten and replaced with a letter and number, but they give each other nicknames like Tattle or Stench or Little Fearless. As they slave away at chores, Little Fearless, who is actually the bravest girl in the school, tells the other girls stories, stories about the day their families will return for them. Little Fearless’s own hope and conviction spur her on a dangerous adventure — a bold and unthinkable plan that will either save the imprisoned girls or mean the end of Little Fearless herself, or both.


Could it be one of the books from the Project Paper Doll series (2013-2015) by Stacey Kade?

The books are "The Rules", "The Hunt", and "The Trials".

The Rules cover, faceless female body shapes in blue dresses except for one The Hunt cover, same idea with purple dresses and two girls The Trials cover, red dresses, a single girl among the faceless shapes

Here's a synopsis of the first book "The Rules":

  1. Never trust anyone.

  2. Remember they are always searching.

  3. Don't get involved.

  4. Keep your head down.

  5. Don't fall in love.

Five simple rules. Ariane Tucker has followed them since the night she escaped from the genetics lab where she was created, the result of combining human and extraterrestrial DNA. Ariane's survival-and that of her adoptive father-depends on her ability to blend in among the full-blooded humans, to hide in plain sight from those who seek to recover their lost (and expensive) "project."

But when a cruel prank at school goes awry, it puts Adriane in the path of Zane Bradshaw, the police chief's son and someone who sees too much. Someone who really sees her. After years of trying to be invisible, Ariane finds the attention frightening-and utterly intoxicating. Suddenly, nothing is simple anymore, especially not the rules.

It's not a perfect match. There is no word "number" in the title, and from the plot synopsis I can't tell if there is anything about the young girl being in a factory.


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