Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill #BookReview #YA #Dystopian

onlyeveryoursTitle: Only Ever Yours
Author: Louise O’Neill
Series: N/A
Format: paperback, 400 pages
Publication Details: July 3rd 2014 by Quercus
Genre(s): YA; Sci-Fi/Dystopian
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it.

Goodreads // Purchase

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. . .

Review

I’d heard so much about this book last year – nearly all of it good – so I was eager to make it a priority in 2016. But quite honestly, I’m not sure what I thought about it. 

Only Ever Yours is a novel that throws out A LOT of questions. I imagine that its aim is to make you question the world O’Neill has built and compare it to our own; to make you wonder if this horrifying vision of the future could ever come true… but for me, it was too unbelievable to get me asking these questions.

In O’Neill’s portrayal of the future, girls are bred rather than born, where they grow up in schools run by ‘chastities’ and are ‘trained’ how to be the perfect woman. They are all beautifully designed, they have a target weight they mustn’t lose sight of, and emotions or outbursts are seen as unattractive and are punishable.

Freida and her so-called friends are in their last year at school which means their whole manufactured lives have been building up to this moment. The Inheritants (the boys) have come to meet them and they will decide the girls’ futures. The three possible outcomes being companions, concubines, or chastities. Quite frankly, each option sounds pretty horrific to me, but of course, they know no different. Becoming a companion is what nearly all of the girls long for.

Argh! There’s too much I want to talk about with this book, but firtstly let me say that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. Lots of testimonials say something along the lines of  ‘a horrific vision of a future that could easily come true’, and I think the reason I didn’t love the book is because I don’t believe that for a second.

I mean, I know I’m coming at this book from the perspective of someone who has grown-up in freedom with very little amount of prejudice and inequality – but for me, as a vision of the future it just wasn’t believable. I feel like we’re moving further away from what this book is portraying than towards it. Women are no longer supposed to be perfect, to serve men, to solely be the child bearers…are they? Hasn’t society already come a long way in making that future implausible?

And the same goes for the gay rights – or lack of- in this book. ‘Aberrants’ (gays) have been extinguished by pinpointing the ‘gay gene’ and destroying it somehow. Again, I’m fortunate to come from somewhere where gay rights have come a long, long way in a short space of time, and yeah there’s still further to go before equality is at 100%, but I can’t imagine a future where this would happen, a past perhaps – that I would believe.

I was also really disappointed at how slowly the book moved along. It took so long for it to get to the ceremony and not much was happening in the mean time! And when the book finally did start to wrap-up it was an anti-climax.

I was hoping and praying that at some point Freida and Isabel would either discover that there is an outside world in which life is not like this. That they had somehow been imprisoned and fooled into believing that they were bred not born and there is nothing else but there is. OR that they would start some sort of rebellion…but no. Rage.

Maybe that’s just the Hunger Games generation in me. Maybe I’m completely missing the point? IDK. I am glad I read it, and if this rant makes it sound like I hated it, I didn’t! I just thought it would be…more. Or perhaps I was just victim to the hype-monster again. Who knows! 

unicorn rating 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Week in Books: 10.02.16 #TWIB

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Welcome to my weekly post, where I sum-up what I’ve been up to in bookland the past week. 

I hope you are all having a good week. Here’s what I’ve been up to:

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Now:  The Glass Castle ~ Trisha White Priebe & Jerry Jenkins

The Glass Castle has started off well…I’m really intrigued to see where it goes. And I’m obvs totally into the castle setting!

Then: Only Ever Yours ~ Louise O’Neill

I didn’t *love* this dark, twisted vision of the future, but I’m really glad I finally got round to reading it. My review will be up soon. If I ever figure out how to start it.

Next: ???

I’m mainly working on ARCs this month so next up will be Into the Dim or All Things Cease to Appear which I featured in last week’s post.

New on the Shelves

(Linking up with Stacking the Shelves)

From Netgalley:

The Madwoman Upstairs

madwomanIn this smart and enthralling debut in the spirit of The Weird Sisters and Special Topics in Calamity Physics, the only remaining descendant of the Brontë family embarks on a modern-day literary scavenger hunt to find the family’s long-rumored secret estate, using clues her eccentric father left behind.

Samantha Whipple is used to stirring up speculation wherever she goes. As the last remaining descendant of the Brontë family, she’s rumored to have inherited a vital, mysterious portion of the Brontë’s literary estate; diaries, paintings, letters, and early novel drafts; a hidden fortune that’s never been shown outside of the family.

But Samantha has never seen this rumored estate, and as far as she knows, it doesn’t exist. She has no interest in acknowledging what the rest of the world has come to find so irresistible; namely, the sudden and untimely death of her eccentric father, or the cryptic estate he has bequeathed to her.

But everything changes when Samantha enrolls at Oxford University and bits and pieces of her past start mysteriously arriving at her doorstep, beginning with an old novel annotated in her father’s handwriting. As more and more bizarre clues arrive, Samantha soon realizes that her father has left her an elaborate scavenger hunt using the world’s greatest literature. With the aid of a handsome and elusive Oxford professor, Samantha must plunge into a vast literary mystery and an untold family legacy, one that can only be solved by decoding the clues hidden within the Brontë’s own writing.

Expected publication: March 1st 2016 by Touchstone 

Bought:

ruizzafon
I found these in a charity shop. I’ve been wanting to try some of his books for a while now. 

 I’m Waiting On…

(Linking up with Breaking the Spine)

The Merciless II: The Exorcism of Sofia Flores

Definitely looking forward to this one after enjoying the first book last week.

Sofia is still procemerciless2ssing the horrific truth of what happened when she and three friends performed an exorcism that spiraled horribly out of control. Ever since that night, Sofia has been haunted by bloody and demonic vision
s. Her therapist says they’re all in her head, but to Sofia they feel chillingly real. She just wants to get out of town, start fresh someplace else . . . until her mother dies suddenly, and Sofia gets her wish.

Sofia is sent to St. Mary’s, a creepy Catholic boarding school in Mississippi. There, seemingly everyone is doing penance for something, most of all the mysterious Jude, for whom Sofia can’t help feeling an unshakeable attraction. But when Sofia and Jude confide in each other about their pasts, something flips in him. He becomes convinced that Sofia is possessed by the devil. . . . Is an exorcism the only way to save her eternal soul?

Readers won’t be able to look away from this terrifying read full of twists and turns that will leave them wondering, Is there evil in all of us?

Expected Publication: July 5th 2016 by Razorbill

So, that’s my week in books, now how about yours? If you’re joining in leave the link to your answers in the comments so everyone can take a look 🙂

This Week in Books #TWIB

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Welcome to my weekly post, where I sum-up what I’ve been up to in bookland the past week. 

As much as I enjoyed my time off from blogging, I must say, it’s nice to be back! 🙂

Here’s what I’ve been up to this past week.

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Now:  Only Ever Yours ~ Louise O’Neill

I didn’t get into this as quickly as I expected, but I’m about half way through now, and enjoying it.

Then: The Merciless ~ Danielle Vega

I really enjoyed this one. It was pretty trashy – in a good way – and I couldn’t put it down.

Next: ???

I went a bit Netgalley crazy and have three March ARCs to review so I guess I’ll make a start on those (see below).

New on the Shelves

(Linking up with Stacking the Shelves)

I was approved for these from Netgalley.

The Glass Castle

glasscastleThe Chronicles of Narnia meets Alice in Wonderland.

The king is growing old and is concerned about who will replace him. His new wife wants to produce an heir to the throne. The only problem? The king’s first wife gave birth to a son, and no one knows for sure what happened to him. Rumors swirl throughout the castle. The solution is simple: dispose of all orphans in the kingdom. Except, it isn’t that easy. Avery and her friends won’t go quietly. And what they’ve discovered could blow the kingdom apart.

 Released March 1st 2016

Into the Dim

2016debuts4Being “the homeschooled girl,” in a small town, Hope Walton’s crippling phobias and photographic memory don’t help her fit in with her adoptive dad’s perfectly blonde Southern family. But when her mother is killed in a natural disaster thousands of miles from home, Hope’s secluded world crumbles. After an aunt she’s never met invites her to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic. She’s a member of a secret society of time travelers, and is actually trapped in the twelfth century in the age of King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Now Hope must conquer her numerous fears and travel back in time to help rescue her mother before she’s lost for good. Along the way, she’ll discover more family secrets, and a mysterious boy who could be vital to setting her mother free… or the key to Hope’s undoing.


Addictive, romantic, and rich with historical detail, Into the Dim is an Outlander for teens.

Released March 1st

All Things Cease to Appear

allthings

New to Knopf–and now coming into her prime–this acclaimed writer combines noir and the gothic in a novel about two families entwined in their own unhappiness with, at the center, a gruesome and unsolved murder.

Late one winter afternoon in upstate New York, George Clare comes home to find his wife murdered and their three-year-old daughter alone–for how many hours?–in her room down the hall. He had recently, begrudgingly, taken a position at the private college nearby teaching art history, and moved his family into this tight-knit, impoverished town. And he is the immediate suspect–the question of his guilt echoing in a story shot through with secrets both personal and professional. While his parents rescue him from suspicion, a persistent cop is stymied at every turn in proving Clare a heartless murderer. The pall of death is ongoing, and relentless; behind one crime are others, and more than twenty years will pass before a hard kind of justice is finally served. At once a classic “who-dun-it” that morphs into a “why-and-how-dun-it,” this is also a rich and complex portrait of a psychopath and a marriage, and an astute study of the various taints that can scar very different families, and even an entire community.

Released March 8th

I’m Waiting On…

(Linking up with Breaking the Spine)

My Kind of Crazy ~ Robin Reul

I like the look of this one.

mykindofcrazy

 

Despite the best of intentions, seventeen-year old, wisecracking Hank Kirby can’t quite seem to catch a break. It’s not that he means to screw things up all the time, it just happens. A lot. Case in point: his attempt to ask out the girl he likes literally goes up in flames when he spells “Prom” in sparklers on her lawn…and nearly burns down her house.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Peyton Breedlove, a brooding loner and budding pyromaniac, witnesses the whole thing. Much to Hank’s dismay, Peyton takes an interest in him-and his “work.” The two are thrust into an unusual friendship, but their boundaries are tested when Hank learns that Peyton is hiding some dark secrets, secrets that may change everything he thought he knew about Peyton.

Expected Publication: April 5th 2016 by Source Books Fire

So, that’s my week in books, now how about yours?

If you’re joining in leave the link to your answers in the comments so everyone can take a look 🙂