Monday, 30 June 2014

Review: Only Ever Yours

Only Ever Yours

Publication Date:  July 3rd 2014    
Publisher: Quercus
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~



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 Freida 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 this sealed female environment, the boys arrive, eager to choose a bride.

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

Once upon a time, there was a happy book. This is not one of them. Once upon a time, there was a clever book. This is one of them. It's funny because of course before you go into a book you never know what to expect, especially with synopsis's lately that sound amazing but turn out disappointing, again, this is not that book.

The world in Only Ever Yours is based upon Men's idealism of women, and what a dark world that is. Women are no longer made, they are genetically made and modified and are perfected to that ideal, but, there is always room for improvement. These new women are called eves, they were made for one purpose only. To please men. And while this will probably want to make you hit the book in various places, keep with it. It's worth it. The eves are trained in a strict boarding school, to squash all emotion, to stay at a target weight, to be everything a man would want in a companion- which brings me to the 3 sections. At their final year, 10 get chosen as Companions to the men, become Concubines (which are basically prostitutes), or become a Chastity, eve's that teach the future eve's in the school.

I'm not going to lie, Only Ever Yours isn't a light book, it's surprisingly heavy than I thought it would be. It's quite disturbing in a way that not even some religions and other countries portrayal and treatment of women know. It also brings up a lot of issues, and in a way, it would sound like a perfect dream, wouldn't it? You're made to be genetically perfect, they have tablets and medication to keep you healthy, to help you to not gain weight, calorie blockers. But even here, we have the same issues we do today, bulimia, anorexia, body dysmorphia and how we view ourselves. Even here, the pressure to be perfect is still there. eve's compare themselves to each other, how we compare ourselves to each other, an all consuming jealously and hate that are not to be shown are shoved down their throats with feelings they can't and won't express until it simmers and simmers, and with our main lead, freida, and downward spiral of her own destruction.
I loved how it was written, it's pretty clever when you think about it, with the names and capitulation. The eves are made, not born, so they have no names, it's like they're not human. They're not treated like humans. They are called and talked at by numbers by others, but talk to each other by names.

There's also two on-going mysteries in Only Ever Yours, both including isabel, one that starts making sense at a certain page over halfway through, but is only confirmed and realised towards the end, and the latter that'll creep up on you literally within the last five pages. Usually I'd hate that, having to wait all that time and wondering if it's worth it, but trust me. It is. While it's heavily based on perfection through a man perception, Only Ever Yours also holds a blurred lines card. Between friendship and love, and a fine line between a homosexuality gene. We've all heard at some point that being gay is a 'life' choice. And then you've heard people are born gay, and that there's even a gene. Only Ever Yours explores that, that though these girls, these women have been genetically made to be these perfect specimens, to serve and love mean, can also love each other too. Female aberrations that had supposedly been wiped out might still exist, because love is love and you can't wipe that out.
Now, I don't know about you, but I'd rather live in another disastrous dystopian book than this one. Not that I would say Only Ever Yours was dystopian, because it's not. I wouldn't even say it's a new age/ new world type of novel either. It's more idealism at its chokehold.

With Only Ever Yours, it shows perfectly that the worst things we can hear about ourselves, can come from our own mouths.


Rating: 5/5

I also got the chance to do a little Q&A with Louise O'Neill, which will be posted on the release date Thursday, so check back then! :)