Classic Search  |  Browse  |  Combination  |  Help  |  My Account

Asking for it

by Louise O Neill

Publishers Weekly O'Neill (Only Ever Yours) again examines the ways in which society devalues the bodies and lives of girls, this time taking on the subject of sexual assault. Emma O'Donovan, 18, has always been praised for her beauty, and she walks a line between cruelty and kindness to bend everyone to her whims. One night Emma parties too hard, drinking and taking drugs until she passes out. The next day she learns that she was the victim of a Steubenville-like gang rape, and the boys involved have plastered horrific and explicit photos of the assault online. Soon everyone in Emma's tightknit Irish community has taken sides-mostly against her-and as a trial nears and the world watches, even Emma's family abandons her. O'Neill's treatment of how communities mishandle sexual assault and victimize its victims is unforgiving, and readers will despair to see Emma helpless in the face of injustice. It's a brutal, hard-to-forget portrait of human cruelty that makes disturbingly clear the way women and girls internalize sexist societal attitudes and unwarranted guilt. Ages 12-up. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 10 Up-Proud, gorgeous, vain-at 18, Emma O'Donovan is the "It" girl of her small Irish town. She dreams of passing her leaving exams in a year, going to college, marrying a rich man who can finally buy her what she deserves, and living happily ever after. Then she takes a pill from a boy at a party. Emma wakes up the next afternoon, dumped on her parents' doorstep with her dress on backward, no underwear, and no recollection of what happened after she kissed her best friend's boyfriend, but the pictures posted on Facebook and SnapChat tell the full story in lurid, shockingly graphic detail. Overnight, she is renamed "Easy Emma" and slut-shamed as the rumors circulate about what happened that night: Was she really drugged and raped by four boys, or was she asking for it? O'Neill's powerful novel digs into deep questions about rape culture that are difficult to read but essential to consider. Sensitive teens may have a hard time reading about the protagonist's downward spiral. Her shame and self-loathing are contradicted by what the rape counselor tells her ("It's not your fault") and are confirmed by what she hears from the town ("You are destroying those poor boys' lives"). VERDICT More graphic and grim than Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak, this UK import nonetheless is an important read for mature teen audiences.-Leighanne Law, Scriber Lake High School, WA © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list Thanks to a surfeit of alcohol and drugs, gorgeous, 18-year-old Emma can't remember what happened that Saturday night, but everyone else knows when photographs start appearing on the Internet showing her being sexually abused and humiliated by a group of her male friends. Yet try though she might, Emma still can't remember that evening. Nevertheless, the boys are charged with rape, and, as a result, Emma becomes a pariah in her small Irish hometown, her Facebook page filled with hate messages calling her slut, bitch, whore, and worse. Meanwhile, her case has become an international cause célèbre when it is made the subject of a popular radio program. As her family begins to break apart, Emma becomes ever more self-hating and self-blaming. The words my fault become a mantra for her. But is it her fault? Emma seems never to consider that question, insisting to herself, instead, that she has ruined the boys' lives. As her own life becomes increasingly bleak, the novel veers dangerously close to melodrama. Nevertheless, it is a powerful cautionary tale that will appeal to older teens as well as to adult readers.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2016 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 10 Up-Emma O'Donovan is an 18-year-old living in a small Irish town. She's beautiful but all too aware of it and loves but is in constant competition with her best friends. But when she is raped by four popular "good" guys at a party, Emma becomes an object of rumor, hatred, and resistance. O'Neill's writing is ruthless in its exploration of rape culture but full of subtlety and understanding. A complex and essential look at how society so often treats and views survivors of rape. © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.