Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill

I got this book after I saw it sponsoring a Book Riot post a long time ago. I actually started reading it right away and got about 25% through before I went and read the ending (I do this a lot with books that are too overwhelming) but then forgot about it. Probably because I already read the ending. LOL. Anyway, I decided to continue on and I’m glad I did.

Now what do I say about this book? First of all it is still haunting me. Even though freida (the main character/pov) is quite annoying at some point(s), but it’s an understandable kind of annoying given her circumstances, which makes you feel truly sorry for her. Also, it makes you wish society will never become like the dystopian future this book takes place in. Except that you realize it is already happening, in a way.

This book has been described as The Handmaid’s Tale meets 1984 meets Mean Girls and that description couldn’t be more true. That doesn’t make it a bad book though, in fact I think it’s brilliant. Creepy brilliant. I suppose some people might find some elements annoying, but I find them to be such attention to details, *possible spoiler alert* like how the girls (eves, as in Eve in the Bible, created to bear children) have their names written in lower case or sometimes simply by number to show that they are deemed less than human, not worthy of a capitalized name; or how they have weird genetically modified food like Chickchick (chicken, obviously) and Eggies (eggs, duh) to show simply that things are different now than it was before; and also meds that have obvious contracted names like SleepSound. Oh, and the zones! I loved how there’s Chindia (China-India) which is described as being the most powerful zone because how true is that? Very.

Further on, *possible spoiler alert* I like how there’s the mystery about isabel which doesn’t get explained until the end and then suddenly it all makes sense, and also there’s mystery about Darwin that doesn’t get properly explained but you can understand if you’re perceptive (or know a thing or two about child psychology). I have to say I did hate parts of the book, like I loathed isabel and Darwin at times and I hated freida for her choices but looking back I think that just shows how well written this book is, really. But yes, it’s frustrating. Because it’s supposed to be, because freida is frustrated and we’re inside her head. Also, I wonder if the author actually thought through the names she gave her characters — actually, I’m sure she did — because freida means free, and isabel means “my God is an oath” and is a name used by many queens and well if you read the book you’d understand.

Gosh this book is brilliant! 4.5 stars but I marked it down for it’s annoyingness, although I suppose now that I think about it I should really give it 5 stars. 5 stars it is then.

Only Ever Yours Book Cover Only Ever Yours
Louise O'Neill

Where women are created for the pleasure of men, beauty is the first duty of every girl. In Louise O'Neill's world of Only Every Yours women are no longer born naturally, girls (called "eves") are raised in Schools and trained in the arts of pleasing men until they come of age. freida and isabel are best friends. Now, aged sixteen and in their final year, they expect to be selected as companions--wives to powerful men. All they have to do is ensure they stay in the top ten beautiful girls in their year. The alternatives--life as a concubine, or a chastity (teaching endless generations of girls)--are too horrible to contemplate.

But as the intensity of 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.

If I had my way, I'd spend the rest of my days at the corner of a coffee shop, reading, writing, and talking to the one I love.

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