Title: Only Ever Yours
Author: Louise O’Neill
Number of Pages: 392
frieda and isabel have been best friends their whole lives.
Now, aged sixteen and in their final year at the School, they expect to be selected as companions – wives to wealthy and powerful men. The alternative – life as a concubine – is too horrible to contemplate.
But as the intensity of the final year takes hold, the pressure to remain perfect becomes almost unbearable. isabel starts to self-destruct, putting her beauty – her only asset – in peril.
And then, the boy 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 ver known…
all spoilers are hidden
It took me a while to define my rating for this book. While I think it’s an eye-opening book and that a lot of people should read it, it’s also a hard book to get through and so I couldn’t rate it 5 or 2 stars, but 3 stars also seemed wrong, because I liked more things that what I disliked. Hence the 4 trembling stars.
This is a disturbing story, and there were times when I couldn’t keep reading. I marked a lot of things in here, also things that made me uncomfortable (I even felt slightly sick reading about some behaviors), and that’s what I got:
I loved this book! If I can even say that, because you know, I didn’t exactly love it for being all fluff and cuteness. The way mental and eating disorders were handled here, as well as objectification of women, body-shaming, and brain-washing caught me completely off guard – I wasn’t excepting something so cruel. And when you thought things couldn’t get worse – yup. The other girls were total fakes (also literally), smiling and pretending to be friends with you and then stabbing you in the back. I couldn’t understand why would freida want to keep hanging out with them, when she already previously had an example of a good friendship with isabel, but maybe the pressure of being accepted was too strong? And some aspects of how this world works … ugh. But things were explained calmly, I was never confused, it was a fast read also because their routines were pretty much the same, and even some paragraphs were the same so you could easily skip them. I didn’t find those repetitions boring, though, I understand it was meant to highlight their lifestyles. There was a lot of attention given to detail too, such as the lack of capitalization letters on the girls’ names, making them immediately inferior, and the social media they use; but I think I could have used some more information about the world around them – freida as our main character was very limiting (I believe isabel would have been more interesting to read about, but reading from her point of view only would give us many things away too soon), so I didn’t find out anything about the things I was most curious about. The book could have a few more pages that I wouldn’t mind, if that was necessary. <spoiler> But the lack of a happy ending was really strong here. </spoiler>
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Have you read Only Ever Yours? 🙂