Only Ever Yours  by Louise O’Neill is a dystopian nightmare akin to The Handmaid’s Tale 

Only Ever Yours  by Louise O’Neill is a dystopian nightmare akin to The Handmaid’s Tale 

Only Ever Yours was a twisted mix of The Handmaid’s Tale, “Mean Girls,” and The Selection with a little “Black Swan” thrown in for kicks.  It will get in your head.  While this book isn’t for everyone and lots of folks will find it boring, if you have a thing for dystopian societies, this is a sophisticated take that exaggerates the image obsession of the modern woman to make an important statement about our current social norms.  It wasn’t exactly full of action or adventure, but it certainly gave me something to think about.

Set in a future where women are engineered and educated solely to please men, this is a compelling and disturbing look at a society where soulless beauty and mindless herd mentality reign.  Eve #360, freida (note the purposeful lowercase spelling), is sixteen and nearing the ceremony that will decide her future as a companion or a concubine.  Her beauty, style, and best friend status with the girl ranked #1, has always helped frieda stay in the top ten, guaranteeing her place as a companion.  But as the ceremony draws close, things begin to unravel, and frieda finds herself willing to do whatever it takes to maintain her status.  Frieda is a people pleaser, and readers will find it frustrating and fascinating to watch her spiral out of control in an effort to attain the future she is told she wants.  The story does have its tedious moments, not because the pacing is bad, but because of the repetitive and mindless fixations of the other eves.  I honestly wanted to run screaming from their endless, evil, inane chatter, so it wasn’t hard to imagine how badly frieda wanted to escape.  I was a little more optimistic about how the book would end, but upon reflection, it was really what I should have expected and I was ultimately satisfied.  As an adult reader, I found this very engaging and it exceeded my high expectations.  The statement about our own society’s obsession with weight, beauty and less than intelligent females comes through loud and clear, and it is a message I would like to share with my high school students and my own daughter.  I would, however, be hesitant to give this to just any reader.  The constant mantras and criticisms about weight, beauty, and self respect are essential, but they do get in your head.  Some sexuality, mature language, and the general premise are what I would consider appropriate at the earliest for mature juniors or seniors in high school.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


About queenbook

When the final bell rings, I stash those messy piles of essays and analysis assignments in a desk drawer and I head home to a pile of good books. My kids and dog eat too many chicken nuggets and the house could be neater, but as long as I get my daily read, I guess we are doing all right. When I was twelve and fifteen and eighteen and twenty, I believed I needed to get out there and do those things I had just been reading about, which ended in disaster, tears, a tattoo that scares me every time I catch a glimpse of it in the mirror, and the realization that some of us are meant for action, and some of us are meant to critique the pace of action in a book. I read primarily YA fiction as I have a rather hulking classroom library and a hundred high school readers to engage daily. Nothing makes me happier than coming to school and finding an impatient teenager waiting by my door to turn in a book and get another one just like it. I adore a good zombie, a medieval princess, or girl assassin (I would like them all in one book if you are a writer looking for some inspiration). I add historical mystery to my wish list a year in advance, and you should get out of my way when the next Outlander book comes out. I have an embarrassing fondness for rock star books, but only if they don’t get too trashy and embarrass me. My favorite book of all time is The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. My book boyfriends include Gilbert Blythe, Alonzo Wilder, and Jamie Fraser. They are mine and you can’t have them.

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