Only Ever Yours - Louise O'Neill


People who live in the UK might have heard about the YA Book Prize: it's an award for the best UK young adult book and the winner will be announced in March. However, there is already a shortlist with 10 of the best UK YA books of 2014. Up until March, I will read each of these books (one a week) and post a review - I'm reading the books in the same order as the YA Book Prize twitter account is. 

Only Ever Yours is not a fun read. It's not going to leave you warm and fuzzy. You're honestly not really going to like any of the characters. You'll relate to them though. And you'll hate that you do.

Only Ever Yours is a book unlike any I've read before and I think most people haven't read a book like this. It's painfully confrontational about society and about being a girl in our society and that makes it the most important book I've read in the last few years.



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. . .

Freida and Isabel

Only Ever Yours is is the story of Freida, Isabel and their last year in high school. Freida is the main narrator and I most admit that I honestly hated her at the beginning. She says and does things that are completely typically teenager-y and she's the most unloyal friend you could have. If you share those sentiments at the beginning of the book, I just want to tell you to stick with it. She doesn't change, but you change when reading about her world. 

Only Ever Yours is Impossible to Review

The trouble with reviewing this book is that it's hard to pinpoint one thing that makes it so powerful to read. It's a combination of amazing writing, great world-building and a female character cast that represents every teenage girl out there. It just ticks all the boxes and this review is so short, because I think it's a book you need to read without too much knowledge about it. The ending also leaves you feeling all type of ways and any small spoiler of that would take away the shock effect you will feel. I threw this book on the floor after I finished it because I was just so "NOW WHAT? WHY? WHAT?" and that makes the reading experience so perfect. Don't ruin it for yourself by reading too much about the plot, just start - it's a quick read.


Yes, this is already the end of my shortest, and yet hardest to write, review ever. I really REALLY want to discuss some things with readers, but I can only do that with people who have read the book. If you have, please find me on social media and rant / rave with me about all the different elements in the book. This is a five star book for me and I promise that if you pick it up you'll understand why and why I didn't want to spoil even the tiniest thing for any reader. Be surprised by the book and yourself and let it change the way you look at things.

Liked this review? Find the other YA Book Prize reviews!