Louise O’Neill is a sensational fiction writer hailing from Ireland, whose books tackle hard hitting feminist topics and create discussions about the treatment of women in today’s society and the impact this has. Now that I’ve caught up with her bibliography and I’ve enjoyed all 4 books that she’s written, I wanted to spotlight what makes her books so brilliant.
Only Ever Yours
Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21805717-only-ever-yours
Hive link: https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Louise-ONeill/Only-Ever-Yours-YA-edition/15983389
Louise’s debut, Only Ever Yours is a powerful book about body image and the “purpose” of women in a dystopian society. This book is often compared to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale which I could definitely see. What really hooked me with this book was how detailed the writing was. Especially with the female characters. Not only are they named after models but their names are never capitalised, so instead of a name, it’s more like a label instead. A gripping book that is typically marketed at the young adult audience, but anyone older can read this too.
Asking For It
Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25255576-asking-for-it
Hive link: https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Louise-ONeill/Asking-For-It/19195872
Set in a small town in Ireland, Asking For It follows Emma who gets sexually assaulted by a group of boys from her town at a party. The book then explores how the news spreads and how her town (and further) respond. Louise’s writing in this book is brutal, hard hitting and brave. It is quite explicitly written so don’t read this if you’re easily triggered by themes about/similar to sexual assault.
Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35958295-almost-love
Hive link: https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Louise-ONeill/Almost-Love–the-addictive-story-of-obsessive-love-from-t/21756114
This is Louise’s first book that isn’t marketed towards a young adult audience. Almost Love is about a woman named Sarah and the passionate relationship she develops with the father of one of her students. The book tackles themes of emotional abuse and power dynamics in a relationship and between men/women in general. The writing in this book is absolutely addictive, I flew through it in two sittings.
The Surface Breaks
Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35842338-the-surface-breaks
Hive link: https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Louise-ONeill/The-Surface-Breaks-a-reimagining-of-The-Little-Mermaid/21234869
A feminist retelling of The Little Mermaid that is nothing like the Disney film. The Surface Breaks follows a young mermaid named Gaia, who falls for a human boy when she rises to the surface of the sea. Determined to leave her controlling father, her arranged engagement and her life at sea behind for this human boy, the book explores how much is Gaia really willing to sacrifice to be free? This was a truly beautiful yet very dark and a bit gory at times but still a very enjoyable read.
Have you read any of Louise O’Neill’s books? Let me know which one is your favourite. And if you haven’t picked any of her books up yet, which one appeals the most to you?
Until next time,