Only Ever Yours
by Louise O’Neill
published May 12th 2015 by Quercus
young adult | dystopia
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Only Ever Yours contains one of the most eerily plausible dystopian setups I have read, with some grim reminders that apply all too well to the teenagers of today’s society.
Only Ever Yours is set in a futuristic society where girls spend their entire lives with the sole purpose of learning to please men. At their 16th year graduation, boys come and select their wife, living the rest of their lives in comfortable peace. Those not chosen are left to a grim fate.
Isabel and Freida have been best friends their entire lives, and, as two of the prettiest girls at the school, they are sure they have a chance at being chosen as wives. But the final year comes with more emotional and physical hardships than they could have ever imagined.
Our protagonist Freida is a character I enjoyed, but I never felt that I truly knew her as a person. Her whole life is consumed, understandably, by the prospect of graduating, looking pretty, and getting the best husband. There weren’t any other characteristics about her that truly distinguished her in my mind.
The secondary characters were similar. They all felt a bit one-dimensional to me. Most of Freida’s classmates felt as if they were characterized as stereotypical “mean girls” rather than actually being developed to their full potential.
Nonetheless, though, the message of this story is one that will stick with you for a long time. It’s about how critically teenage girls in our society view their bodies, and the drastic measures some girls will go to in order to appear “perfect.” A moving and thought-provoking debut.
Zoe is a critical reviewer. When she’s not reviewing, you can find her performing in plays / musicals, doing gymnastics, or designing websites.