Book Review : Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill

September 17, 2014 Book review 10 ★★★★★

Without a shadow of a doubt, this is the best YA dystopia that I have read all year.  Actually I’ll go further than that, it is the best dystopia that I have read since The Hunger Games, the pinnacle of all dystopia books for me.  So when I say that I loved it, you will understand the context that I’m putting that it.

Book Review : Only Ever Yours by Louise O’NeillOnly Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill
Published by Quercus on 2015-04-07
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Pages: 300
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

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…

First Line of Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill:

“The chastities keep asking me why I can’t sleep.”

My Thoughts on Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill:

This book is scary, dark and a horrible prediction of where society could go.  OK, maybe we won’t end up exactly in the type of world that the world building depicts – where women are artificially designed and designated to be either companions, concubines or chastities.  However we are heading furiously towards a world where image is everything and this book showcases how disastrous this would be.

Quick warning; if you suffer from any type of eating disorders, I would recommend you avoid as it could be triggery for you.  A huge part of the book is about the constant pressure for the girls to be thin.

I thought the world was built up solidly which was a pleasant surprise as lots of YA dystopias are falling flat on their face on this aspect.  However, here we see how the world developed and how it works.  And I thought it was totally unpredictable.  I had no idea how it would all end.  My heart was thumping just as loud as it could as I read.

I loved that this book takes the old cliches like insta-love and just puts its own unique spin on them.  Believe me there is nothing tired and overdone about Only Ever Yours.  It is fresh, will pull you right in and make you shiver over and over again with fear and repulsion.  At times I was wondering how far the book would go and all I will say is that the author is fearless.

There is a romance of sorts in the book.  However for me a huge theme of the book was loyalty, wanting to be a good friend but also wanting to fit in with the pack.  freida is not the bravest of characters but very believable as she has never been given any positive reinforcement which would give her confidence.  When image is everything, all you want is to be seen to be popular and I really understood what motivated her even when she frustrated the hell out of me.

So many horrible things happen during this book but one that really disturbed me was when I realised the girls couldn’t read.  I didn’t even realise this was the case earlier in the book and had to flick back to realise that what I thought were written communications were actually video calls and video messages.  But this is only the tip of the iceberg, so many bad things happen.

Overall this is a brilliant debut from a teenage author.  More please ASAP!


Rating Report
Did I feel it?
Overall: five-stars


Who should read Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill?

If you like YA dystopia books, this is a must read.  I can’t recommend it highly enough.


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10 Responses to “Book Review : Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill”

    • trish

      I will check that out Rachel. I loved this one so I’d really enjoy reading more like it. Thanks for the rec. By the way if the blurb angered you, the book will destroy you! It’s infuriating but in a great way.

    • trish

      That was the really scary thing, we are so obsessed by image as a society that this book was like a taste of a horrible, horrible future.

  1. Leanna

    I’ve heard good things about this one – it’s been getting a lot of buzz in the Irish press! I’m very picky with dystopian fiction and actually rarely read it (apart from THG & Divergent) so I probably won’t get around to this one, but definitely sounds like an interesting read!
    Leanna recently posted…Discussion: Youtube Superstars & YA Book Deals.

    • trish

      I like dystopia but it’s also the genre that lets me down the most. Most are ok but far from great. This one is the exception and all the hype is well deserved.

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