Published: 3rd July 2014
Publisher: Quercus Books
This book will count towards my 2015 Reading Challenge.
Synopsis taken 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 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.
OMG! My poor, poor heart. I am so cut up about this book. It was utterly, utterly heart-wrenching. It is definitely my favourite book of 2015 so far, and has made it on to my favourites list for sure. I am not going to do a lengthy review because words are just not enough, you have to read this for yourself.
The concept of this novel is scary, really scary. Girls are created to become one of three things; companions, concubines or chastities. They compete to become the top ranking eve, bringing a flair of ‘mean girls’ to the mix. Men rule in this world, women are completely inferior – they even have uncapitalised names, mostly referred to as numbers. They are trained to be good, happy, submissive and controllable. Brainwashed and treated like dirt, beauty is everything. Their aim is to please.
The shocking thing about this novel for me was how close to home it felt. Being a secondary school teacher I see the effects of celebrities, media and the need to ‘fit in’ amongst young girls on a daily basis. This book is obviously an extreme case. It is dark, very dark and some of the underlying issues are so prevalent in teenage girls (and many women) today.
I was completely intrigued by isabel and her story, her story becomes rather obvious towards the end. I can honestly say that I didn’t ever expect to be as devastated as I was by frieda’s story, it completely broke me.
I am definitely going to re-read this, I applaud Louise O’Neill for her fantastic debut novel. A truly astonishing read that ripped my heart completely in two.