Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neil | Review

      Title: Only Ever Yours

      Author: Louise O’Neil

      Release Date: July 3rd, 2014

Description from Goodreads:
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 frieda 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 the sealed female environment, the boys arrive, eager to choose a bride.

frieda must fight for her future – even if it means betraying the only friend, the only love, she has ever known…

Well, I don’t think a book’s left me feeling this way in quite a long time (not since The Winner’s Crime, to be precise). I’ve been blown away by Louise O’Neil’s dystopian masterpiece. I’m in awe of the story telling and world building, the plot decisions she made. I spent most of my time reading Only Ever Yours with my jaw hanging slack, forming an o of astonishment and wonder. There are so many different elements I loved I don’t know where to begin. 
Part of the reason I loved this book so much is that it was so abundantly clear just how thought out everything was, just how much time and consideration had gone into the book. From the female’s names being in lowercase, to the ‘rainbow’ gene. It was these small details that really took Only Ever Yours from a pretty damn good dystopian novel to something else entirely. 
In this world, ruled by the Father, women are created purely for men, for marriage, enjoyment or education of the younger females. They have no real valueless society, and they certainly have no say or importance. It was such a scary alternative I would never whish to encounter, I felt exceedingly sorry for these girls, whose lives are determined by a group of young boys. The girls, or eves as they are called, have always been taught that the men are superior, that they must follow man’s command and do whatever he wishes. Ultimately, they have no control over their lives or bodies, they are terminated at forty, and adultery is punishable by death (and something else which is just unimaginable). Although that adultery rule? Yeah doesn’t apply to the men, not when they have a multitude of concubines to choose from. I suppose you could say I was outraged at this world, where women are subhuman, have no rights and ultimate purpose in life is to please man. I will not be signing up, thank you very much. But that outrage, the wonder and utter shock, that’s part of why I loved the book oh so much, because it conjured up a world I would before have never fathomed to imagine. O’Neil made it seem so real, especially towards the latter third of the book, I was very vocal in my reactions to what went down, there was more than ‘WHAT?!’ and ‘NO!!’  

I love that throughout the novel females were not distinguished with an upper case letter at the beginning of their names, it was a small little thing that really illustrated the vast difference between the males and females, they even have design numbers for crying out loud!
I suppose I should discuss the plot, which in my opinion took more than a few twists and turns. freida is our protagonist, but whether or not she’s likeable is a different matter entirely. All freida wants is to marry a man and have his sons. She strives to fit in and please others. Meanwhile her best friend is slowly self-destructing, she’s jeopardising her future, and we all know what happens to girls who break the rules, they get sent Underground. freida works so hard to fit in with the other girls to get megan (ugh) to like her and accept her as a friend. She’s actually pretty desperate for her friendship and it got the point I had to put the book down and walk away before I threw the book across the room in frustration. She’s self absorbed, selfish, shallow and we see her slowly unravel. isabel flitted in and out of the story, not a constant presence but always within speculation. I found her so intriguing, I would read a book from her perspective happily, she’s aloof and mysterious. And ultimately she is lovely and lovable. 
One character who certainly isn’t lovable is chastity-ruth. Excuse my French, but what a bitch. I didn’t like her from the get go, and when she let rip she showed her true nasty. But what I did gain from chastity-ruth was a new perspective on freida, she revealed another side which was always there, lurking behind the pity and hope and longing for it all to turn out rosie. 
During their last year at the School, the eves meet the Inheritants, the boys who will choose the wives, and who shall become concubines. I felt the stirring of a ship when Darwin met freida, and honestly I loved how it all planned out. Maybe I didn’t expect everything that happened along the way, but ultimately I am happy with how it ended. 
I am still as I write this review undecided with how I feel about freida, I think that I will be mulling this one over for a long time to come. Only Ever Yours stood out to me as brilliant, I loved and now I’m on the look for more Louise O’Neil. 
Have you read Only Ever Yours? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
‘Only Ever Yours’ by Louise O’Neil
5 Stars

Liebster Award | Response and Nominees

Slightly late but I was nominated for the Liebster award by Nicola Reads YA, so thank you very much!

The Liebster Award is a chain reward that was created to welcome and introduce new bloggers into the community!

The Rules

Link back to the person that nominated you
Give 10 random facts about yourself
Answer 10 questions from your nominator
Nominate 10 new and obscure bloggers
Come up with 10 questions for them to answer
Inform your nominees

Random Facts About Me

I hate spicy food
My brother and I insist we’re super tasters
I wish I could play guitar but my musical abilities suck
I played a mermaid in Peter Pan at the Edinburgh Fringe
Sticky Toffee Pudding is the best pudding out there
I’m slightly obsessed with the Kim K game
I think milk tastes funny
I could eat chocolate covered raisins like there’s no tomorrow
Same goes for milk chocolate digestive biscuits, I can eat a packet in one sitting
I am terrified of spiders

Questions From Nominator

1. Did you have a favourite book growing up?
I absolutely adored the Worst Witch series, I had all of the books, I wanted to be Mildred and I even liked the TV series. I’m sad to say I don’t have the newest book that came out recently, but maybe some day.
2. What was the last book you bought?
Ahhhh, I do not know. I think I bought a couple from Waterstones during one of their promotions, and if my memory serves me well they were Elanor and Park and Only Ever Yours.
3. Are you a morning person or an evening person?
I’m definitely a morning person. I wake up stupid early most mornings and I’m usually good to go. I’m the kind of girl that needs her sleep, early to bed early to rise.
4. Who is your favourite book character?
Kestrel from The Winner’s Trilogy, purely because she’s incredible and I want to be her in a movie adaptation.
5. What is the one book (or series) that you would recommend everyone to read?
It took me a while to answer this one, because I have favourites in specific genres that may not be someone’s cup of tea. I suppose I’d tell everyone to read an Austen because she’s a genius, try out Wuthering Heights for Heathcliff, give The Winner’s Curse a go because I’m in love, and go and grab Gone Girl because oh holy smokes that book.
6. Are you a member of a book group?
I’m not a member of a book group, although I think it would be so fun to be part of one!
7. How long have you been blogging?
I started blogging last September so it’s been a good ten months.
8. If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be?
I’d love to go to Mexico and Hawaii. My sister, cousin and I want to do a food road trip of America which would be incredible.
9.What book are you currently reading?
I’m currently reading Only Ever Yours and I’m loving it!
10. Do you have a special routine or favourite place for reading?
I can pretty much anywhere, except the car because then I feel sick, which sucks. I don’t have a routine, I just grab a book and go.
11.Do you like to watch movie adaptations of books?
Part of me hates watching movie adaptations because they’re normally never as good as the book, but then the other part of me loves sitting and pointing out every little detail that has changed or suddenly vanished.

I Nominate

My Questions for Nominees

What is the worst book you’ve ever read?
What book would you love to see as a film?
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
What’s your biggest fear?
Who would be your fictional boyfriend?
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Are you savoury or sweet? What’s your favourite from your chosen category?
Do you have or wish to have any pets?
What is your go to I just want to laugh film?
Where is the best place you’ve ever visited?
If you’ve been nominated then I apologise, but link your post in the comments so I can check it out!

Monthly Wrap Up | June 2015

I’m going to start off by saying sorry, sorry for the lack of a Monthly Wrap Up post for May, and sorry for the slight lack of posts recently. As this is a wrap up I feel like I should get you up to date with what’s been happening with me!

You may remember from a Feature and Follow Friday post (read here) that I have a dog, and that we sadly lost her brother in December. It took a lot for me to write about it in that post, it hit me extremely hard and it still brings to tears to my eyes now. Cleo (our dog) struggled extremely with loosing her litter mate, she grieved and we saw her become a different dog. I replaced the constant companionship that her brother gave her, and we knew that we needed to do something. Before loosing Titus we’d met some breeders and and exchanged contact information. I suppose it was fate because as I write this I have little boy on my lap. 
We picked up our lil guy on the 23rd May, and he’s now 14 weeks old.

So spending all day every day looking after a puppy and Cleo our resident eleven and a half year old, I’ve been busy. That’s meant that I haven’t had a whole lot of time to do the blog. I’ve tried to squeeze in as many blog posts and reviews as possible, and hopefully the blog content will be picking up as my lil guy is getting older.
Now, onto what you’re all probably here for, the books. As the May wrap up didn’t happen I’ll include the books I read in both May and June. Turns out I read quite a lot in May, and I loved most of the books that I read, which is always nice. Special shout out to A School for Unusual Girls, Confessions of a Virgin Sex Columnist, Love, Rosie, the Confessions series and Only Ever Yours because I LOVED (and am loving) them all. As always click the picture for the link to my review!

What I’ve Read | May

Love, Rosie by Cecelia Ahern

Fake Boobs by Ryan Ringbloom

The List by Kate L. Mary

A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin
A Kiss by the Book by Christy Hayes

Faking Perfect by Rebecca Phillips

What I’ve Read | June

Reaching Rose by J. P. Grider

Game of Love by Ara Grigorian

No More Confessions by Louise Rozett

Currently Reading

Books, Blogs & Reality by Ryan Ringbloom
Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neil
I am absolutely LOVING Only Ever Yours right now, for me dystopian books are very much a hit or miss kind of thing, and for me Only Ever Yours is a HUGE hit! Book, Blogs & Reality? Not so much. It’s not been too long so I’ll save for my judgement for when I’ve finished, but I’m not too sure about it.
I’ve recently really got into my Instagram and I’ve started putting book stuff on there, so I’d love to communicate with you guys over there! So head on over and hit that follow button
What’s happened with you in the months of May and June? Let me know in the comments below!

Only Ever Yours | Book Blitz and Giveaway

Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neil
Released May 12th 2015
389 Pages

Description from Goodreads:

Where women are created for the pleasure of men, beauty is the first duty of every girl. In Louise O’Neil’s world of Only Ever Yours women are no longer born naturally, girls (called “eves”) are raised in Schools and trained in the arts of pleasing men until they come of age. Freida and Isabel are best friends.
Now, aged sixteen and in their final year, they expect to be selected as companions – wives to powerful men. All they have to do is ensure they stay in the top ten beautiful girls in their year. The alternatives, life as a concubine, or a chastity (teaching endless generations of girls),  are too horrible to contemplate. But as the intensity of final year takes hold, the pressure to be perfect mounts. Isabel starts to self-destruct, putting her beauty, her only asset, in peril. And then into this sealed female environment, the boys arrive, eager to choose a bride. Freida must fight for her future, even it means betraying the only friend, the only love, she has ever known.

Advanced Praise for Only Ever Yours

“Terrifying and heartbreaking, O’Neil’s story reads like and heir to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and M. T. Anderson’s Feed, and, like those books, it’s sure to be discussed for years to come.” — Publisher’s Weekly (Starred Review)
“A dark dream. A vivid nightmare. The world O’Neil imagines is frightening because it could come true. She writes with a scalpel.” — Jeanette Winterson 
“An ingenious exploration of gender roles, female identity, and female competition.” — Buzzfeed
“Unbelievably believable, compelling, utterly riveting… Whilst it is dark, uncompromising and utterly daunting to read as a woman, it is and should be a classic in the making.” — Liz Loves Books

About the Author

Loise O’Neil is from Clonakilty, in west Cork. After graduating with a BA in English Studies at Trinity College Dublin, she went on to complete a post-grad in Fashion Buying at DIT. Having spent a year in New York working for Kate Lanphear, the senior Style Director of ELLE magazine, she returned home to Ireland to write her first novel.
She went from hanging out on set with A-list celebrities to spending most of her days in pyjamas while she writes, and has never been happier.


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