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.