Author: Louise O'Neill
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Published: July 3rd, 2014
This ebook was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Synopsis: 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. . .
WARNING: This book and it's review may contain triggers including bulimia, various other body image issues, bullying, and suicide. Reader discretion is advised.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
"This is not my fault. I'm just doing what we have been trained to do. This is who we are, frieda. This is who we were designed to be."
It took me forever to actually finish this review, but here it is! Sorry it takes me so long to publish these.
So this book was hard to rate. I did not enjoy this book. This does not mean it was not well-written. It was a very well-written book. The book was just so heavy and a couple of plot points made me frustrated, so I couldn't like it. It was, however, really addicting. No matter how much I wasn't enjoying the book, I had to know what would happen. This book sucked me in to it's world and it's story, and I rated it two stars, which by my standards means I didn't like it but I could totally see why other people would love it. And I can totally see why people like this book! The characters are all frilly and peppy, but under the surface it is dark and twisted and terrible. It just wasn't really for me.
I liked the world-building quite a bit. The story takes place in a very dark dystopian future where all girls are test-tube babies who are trained their whole lives to become good wives. They are little more than objects, and are brought up thinking that the most important thing for them is to be beautiful. They never learn to read or do math, and their skill sets do not venture beyond keeping a good house and making themselves look pretty. In the book, the first letter of the girls' names are not even capitalized. There is extreme body-shaming if a girl is not considered skinny or pretty enough, and it gets really intense. Yet, even though these girls are put through this, their lives have some aspects of normality in them. Their school, other than what it teaches, acts like a normal boarding school would. The girls have internet access and social media accounts, which they use to watch their favorite television programs. There's the normal drama that sometimes forms between teenage girls (although, granted, ramped up a notch or two). The girls have their moments where, instead of just being an object, are teenage girls, rebelling in the little ways they can inside their society. Overall-the world-building was pretty good.
My main issue with the book was the main character, frieda. And to be honest, if I don't like your main character, it really doesn't matter how good your set-up is. frieda (and yes, they don't capitalize her name in the book) was just so insufferable. Every single thing she did just made me so frustrated. The book said she was some kind of weird defect girl who couldn't be as easily controlled as some of the other girls, but if anything she was more controlled. She was more desperate than the other girls to get people to love her, and she betrayed everyone who actually liked her in order to try and be liked by everyone. She would say that she valued friendship, then ditch her best friends. She's say the most important thing was to get married and have kids, then she'd throw away her only chance of being with a boy who had actual feelings for her. She gave into peer pressure and society's demands in a way that just sabatoged everything for her. She was an idiot! I wanted her to find a husband, her singular goal in the book, but she kept botching it up! She made stupid choices and botched everything up!
If frieda hadn't been such an idiot, I may have enjoyed this book. If she just made one or two better choices, I would of liked this book much better. Final statement: I thought the world was interesting, but the character was horrible. Maybe you'll like it, but I'd prefer never to deal with frieda again. (Also, this book has a lot of intense scenes that could be triggers, so don't read it if that's a problem)
Some other reviews for "Only Ever Yours" (may contain spoilers):
Dee's Ultimate Reviews
Once Upon A Bookcase