Tuesday, 6 January 2015

REVIEW || Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill

Book Title: Only Ever Yours
Author: Louise O'Neill
Publisher: Quercus, July 3rd, 2014
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback, 392 pages
LinksGoodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository
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 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...
Let me just get this out; Only Ever Yours was scarily good.  

Like hold the phone, shut the door, tell all your friends good.

Only Ever Yours was brutally brilliant (my alliteration is proof of that!) not just on the basis of the excellent plot which was pretty eye-opening because it was just so possible, it really made you take a step back and have a look at what was happening not only in the future but now. Funnily enough it reminded me a bit of a dark land of Oz - something that's supposed to be good twisted into this horrible parallel nightmare. O’Neill wrote in such a cutting way, literally holding nothing back. It was so fascinating, and honestly there so many inventive elements that attributed to making us engrossed within the story that you can't not praise the author.

Having said all that there were negative points to the book as well, one of these being that I didn't like any character, not even freida. Everyone was just so vile; I could shudder when I think about them. Even the ones who were supposed to be nice (chastity-magdalena for example) made my skin itch. It was a bit hard to remain invested in the book due to that fact, but that’s not to say I hated them, on the contrary I think they were all perfectly formed to fit the story. I appreciate and respect that, but I still would have liked at least one person I was okay with.

Secondly, I do think the book got a bit repetitive and it caused that type of repetitive boredom where you’re still reading (and interested in what happens) but at the same time you can’t help but scratch your eyeball. Not to mention that Darwin was the epitome of good-looking-rich-boy-with-no-substance who became an absolute ass at the end, which just made me dislike him even more, but once again props to O’Neill for not taking the easy path. The ending was a punch in the face, and I am so so happy with it, you have no idea. About two thirds of the way through the book I was beginning to get slightly irritated because it seemed that the book was going in the “happy ending” direction but then O’Neill just comes along, laughs in your face, and makes you feel guilty for wanting an un-happy ending for freida.

Due to all these contrasting points I was quite conflicted on how to rate Only Ever Yours, on one hand the negative points seemed to outweigh the good, making it a two star read – and yet the positive elements left me slack-jawed and wowed, making it a four star read. Even coming to the end of this review I’m still not sure what to give this book, but I do and will recommend it to everyone I come across. I cannot wait to see what else O’Neill comes up with, and whether she brings out a contemporary, or a fantasy, I hope her writing style stays as brilliant and honest as it is in Only Ever Yours.

Rating = 4 Bookish Birds
(Note: I was unsure about mentioning this last bit but it annoyed me so much that I couldn’t not include it in my review of the book. Basically there were quite a few mistakes in the book, from a characters name being misspelled half way through and various other spelling mistakes, to simple grammatical issues. I just found that it drew my attention away from the story quite a bit, but it isn’t that big of an issue…)

1 comment:

  1. I think the best ends are the ones that you don't expect. That's a big fact that makes a 'good' book different from a 'bad' one.

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