Book Review: Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill

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Title: Only Ever Yours
Author: Louise O'Neill 
Release Date: July 3rd 2014 
Publisher: Quercus
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★
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In a world in which baby girls are no longer born naturally, women are bred in schools, trained in the arts of pleasing men until they are ready for the outside world. At graduation, the most highly rated girls become “companions”, permitted to live with their husbands and breed sons until they are no longer useful.

For the girls left behind, the future – as a concubine or a teacher – is grim.

Best friends Freida and Isabel are sure they’ll be chosen as companions – they are among the most highly rated girls in their year.

But as the intensity of final year takes hold, Isabel does the unthinkable and starts to put on weight. ..

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. . .

My Review: 

Only Ever Yours is a powerhouse of a novel, and definitely one of my favorite reads this year. It's a dystopia that reminds me a lot of The Handmaid's Tale and Wither, yet stands on its own. I finished reading it a couple of days ago, and I still find myself thinking about it. 

On to the review! 

What's good about it:

Atmospheric: Reading about the school where the eves are housed in, to the classrooms and the living quarters, there was a creepy and unsettling feeling about it all, yet it felt vaguely familiar since it was all that Freida, the main character, knew about the world. 

Thoughtful: Only Ever Yours deals with themes of genetic engineering, racism, feminism, and a woman's place in the world, yet the author wasn't preachy about these topics. She unfolded the world slowly, and allowed the reader to linger at certain scenes, at small quips made by the other characters in the story that left a deep impression. 

World Building: This relates to the second point above. The eves in this story are in a self contained institution, and the world building was done through the characters, both in the school, and those from the outside coming in, and the information wasn't just dumped on you. 

What's bad about it:

Nothing: Literally, nothing. Nothing at all. 

Final Thoughts: 

Only Ever Yours is a creepy, thoughtful, amazing novel. The ending is brutal, and it works for this story, which is a brutal and close examination on how society treats women and vice versa.

Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill is available here.

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