Keller and some of the other girls in Foundland break the strict rules that govern their female society and are severely punished for their rebelliousness. Keller is a young girl who is training to be a Tracker, a warrior that guards the borders of Foundland. Foundland is a land ruled and populated only by women. Apparently, the men have died after a devastating incident called the Tribulation and since then, no man or mutant is allowed to enter Foundland for fear of contaminating their society. Such undesirables are called the Enemy. In this world, the girls are told that they must resist the seven pitfalls of Reflection, Decoration, Coquetry, Triviality, Vivacity, Compliance and Sensuality. One of Keller's friends, Laing, is prone to breaking the rules of Foundland, somehow getting her hands on illegal things like nail polish and makeup. The other girls either despise or are wary of Laing because of her rebellious ways but Keller admires her daring.
One day some Committee members arrive in the training camps and they seem to be searching for something. Laing tells everyone she knows what they're looking for. That night, she shows the other girls to an underground building from the time before the Tribulation. It is illegal for anyone in Foundland to harbor artifacts from the Time Before as such items must be destroyed. The underground building is full of these items and there are even magazines with men in them, something which is intriguing to the girls who have never seen men before.
One day, one of the Committee members named Ms. Windsor, does something unusual – she rides a horse side-saddle while wearing a fancy hat and dress. Later, Keller observes that her office is absurdly decorated with things from the time before the tribulation and she reads illegal materials from the Library She seems to be breaking all the rules of Foundland by indulging in such trivialities however no one utters any protest because she is their leader. Ms. Windsor seems to be very interested in Keller because, unlike most of the girls, Keller shows she has a curious mind yet she is still law-abiding, characteristics of a good potential future leader. Later on, Keller goes on a walkabout around Foundland and she sees two boats docking on the beach and she thinks it is the Enemy. She spies on the Enemy and find out that there are traitors in Foundland who are fraternizing with the Enemy.
A few days later, the girls return to the underground building. This time, they delve further into the passageways of the underground building and they see things that break all seven pitfalls. The girls return many times, using the underground building as their midnight clubhouse. They do things like put makeup on and play with toys and admire their own reflections. One day, the girls are discovered and brought to be cleansed and punished. Keller is not found at the scene of the crime because she happened to have left the hideout before the Committee discovered the illegal activities. The captured girls are humiliated and punished so that they may be cleansed from their "sins". From the captured girls, only Laing and another girl are missing. One girl is later found to have drowned herself and Laing is capture soon after. The Committee think that Laing is the ringleader of the whole affair so they give her the harshest punishment. They starve her and keep her locked up and hidden away until she dies.
Ms. Windsor tells Keller that she will officially train her to become the next Committee Head. Keller doesn't want the job because she is devastated over the cruelty of the Committee. One day, she speaks to some older Trackers and discovers that Foundland actually trades with the Enemy in secret. Ms. Windsor doesn't like citizens to know the truth because it is important that a clear Enemy exists so there can be peace and unity in the settlement. Keller is angered that her whole life has been a lie. The story ends with Keller running away, hopefully to forge a new life for herself outside of Foundland.
Best part of story, including ending:
It was interesting that the author chose the seven pitfalls of Reflection, Decoration, Coquetry, Triviality, Vivacity, Compliance and Sensuality to represent the pitfalls of womankind. It was interesting to see how each of Keller's friends and even her mentors broke at least one of the pitfalls by the end of the story.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene was when Keller and the other girls discover the makeup and dresses in the underground building and hold a fashion and beauty contest. It was a moment of genuine fun where the girls were able to let loose and be themselves for a few hours.
Opinion about the main character:
I like that Keller was such an interesting foil for Laing. Both Keller and Laing show leadership qualities but Laing is uncontrollable and disobedient while Keller is cautious and compliant. I also like that Keller had the courage to discover the truth about Foundland. By the end of the story, she was daring enough to try to venture out into a world that has always been described to her as a scary and violent place.