Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Book Review: Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill

You should read this book.

freida and isabel have been best friends their whole lives. Now, aged sixteen and in their final year at the School, they expect to be selected as companions – wives to wealthy and powerful men.

The alternative – life as a concubine – is too horrible to contemplate.

But as the intensity of the final year takes hold, the pressure to be perfect mounts. isabel starts to self-destruct, putting her beauty – her only asset – in peril.

And then into this sealed female environment, the boys arrive, eager to choose a bride.

freida must fight for her future – even if it means betraying the only friend, the only love, she has ever known . . .

This book made me slam my laptop scene shut in frustration. I felt so uncomfortable, but uncomfortable in a good way which is why it has took me so long to do this review. I started reading this book before it came out. I had to stop for a while.

This is a dystopia with no happy ending. Is that spoiler? I don't know. Reading this book it becomes clear that there is not going to be some big rebellion that the main character starts or becomes part of. This is a sad, clever book that reflects today's society with it being escalated.

The girls are completely dehumanised, especially with their names not being treated as proper nouns. This book was so hard to read because the problems in the book are just extremes we have now, in modern society and it scary because it possible that it could get this extreme, it has been this extreme. In Victorian times women were basically property and reliant on getting a good husband that could just abandoned her. And there whole thing that for some men this book's world would be a Utopia. Not completely possibly setup, lies are clearly happened about reproducing, but how this world got here isn't the real point of this book (though there is some interesting conspiracies going on).

 O'Neill has mirrored today's problems of body imagine, reality TV and girls being raised against each other into this terrifying dystopia. Also I like how O'Neil has used the only roles that women are often focused into the media and society. The mother/wife, the whore and the sexless which are in the books the teachers which is a rare option in this world. She also touches well on race with ideas of beauty and homosexuality.

 In the end, it's sad but it about these two girls relationship with each other, which is done so well and believable. In this hopeless situation, these characters carry you through. All the characters were done so well. The title of this book is really good and meaningful.

Overall, I gave this book 5 out of five stars for tunnel down below. This book made me uncomfortable, it forced me to think. I was already aware these problems, but it made me really confront the consequences of these issues within this society. This is a strong YA book and nice to see one so cleaver and well thought out.

On a side note, this book has been Nominated for the Waterstones's Children's book prize 2015 which is actually quite strong in the teenager category this year -often is- with another favourite of mine of last year Smart being in it. These are my two favourites, (yes I'm basically saying you should go to a Waterstones store and buy these on 1 and half deal), though I'm planning read the ones I haven't read yet and do some sort of joint review.

I got this book off Netgalley for Review. It was published by Quercus Children's on the 3rd July 2014.

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