I read a novel in my early teens (around 2000) in which the main character is a teenage girl who lives in a dystopian world where she lives with other girls of teen or younger age in somewhat boarding/communal style living. I remember they have numbers as their last names (Lucy 5, Amy 3, etc) and there's some kind of music or messages playing over speakers that keep them somehow controlled or complacent.

The memory of families has been extinguished. The main character sometimes wakes at night to silence and remembers things from the past that she puts on paper and hides in a bathroom wall. There is a queen or mother figure also used as part of the control, represented as a statue.

The girl somehow escapes or is ejected along with a boy (who was housed separately) and goes out into the real world and remembers the past more and more including her family and being taken from them. I remember she goes to her childhood home and all the food is rotten and she meets up with free people but that's about it.


1 Answer 1



I believe this is Keith Roberts' Molly Zero (1980). It is a bit older than you mention, but from what I remember (I read it 35+ years ago), it fits very well.

In the first chapter are mentioned Janet Nineteen, Mary Thirty Four, Elizabeth Six and other numbered girls in Dorm Twelve.

The back cover blurb reads:

Raised, tested, trained and indoctrinated in the Blocks, Molly Zero is being groomed for the governing Elite. Rebelling against her fate, she flees. An innocent searching for truth, Molly finds the world outside the Blocks alien and frightening. Her flight plunges ger firts into the heart of a small community. Next, attracted by theor eccentric gaiety, she joins a band of gypsies, roaming the country in Commercial Air Cushion vehicles. And then Molly gets caught up in urban terrorism...

I hope this fits with your memories.

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • @Rachel: If this is the right answer, please accept it by checking it as such. If not, tell us so that we can keep looking. Commented Nov 22, 2021 at 13:52

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.