We had such a good discussion in February, talking about Louise O’Neill’s Only Ever Yours. This book definitely wasn’t for everyone. It’s very dark, very depressing and it made many of us feel bad about ourselves. It’s a book that makes you think, whether you like it or not, and a book that can keep a debate going long after the store is closed. We’re recommending some other books you might want to try if you liked Only Ever Yours and will leave some discussion questions at the end for when you’re going to talk about this with your own book club.
If you like dystopian fiction, but would prefer a little more romance in your YA, then Delirium could be what you’re looking for
Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing.
They didn’t understand that once love — the deliria — blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.
But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.
Recommending The Handmaid’s Tale would be the easy thing to do and even though you should definitely read that novel, we’re going a different route here. In Only Ever Yours we saw a dystopia for young girls, but The Unit focuses on what happens after you’ve contributed to society.
One day in early spring, Dorrit Weger is checked into the Second Reserve Bank Unit for biological material. She is promised a nicely furnished apartment inside the Unit, where she will make new friends, enjoy the state of the art recreation facilities, and live the few remaining days of her life in comfort with people who are just like her. Here, women over the age of fifty and men over sixty-single, childless, and without jobs in progressive industries–are sequestered for their final few years; they are considered outsiders.
In the Unit they are expected to contribute themselves for drug and psychological testing, and ultimately donate their organs, little by little, until the final donation. Despite the ruthless nature of this practice, the ethos of this near-future society and the Unit is to take care of others, and Dorrit finds herself living under very pleasant conditions: well-housed, well-fed, and well-attended. She is resigned to her fate and discovers her days there to be rather consoling and peaceful.
But when she meets a man inside the Unit and falls in love, the extraordinary becomes a reality and life suddenly turns unbearable. Dorrit is faced with compliance or escape, and…well, then what?
– The book is very unflinching in the way it tells it’s story. Do you think this was helpful or useful to discuss the issues that are present in the book or did it turn you off?
– How convincing do you find the dystopia of Only Ever Yours?
– Would you read this book again?
– Would you recommend this book to men/boys, women/girls or both and why?