Asking For It by Louise O'Neill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It's the beginning of the summer in a small town in Ireland. Emma O'Donovan is eighteen years old, beautiful, happy, confident.
One night, there's a party. Everyone is there. All eyes are on Emma.
The next morning, she wakes on the front porch of her house. She can't remember what happened, she doesn't know how she got there.
She doesn't know why she's in pain.
But everyone else does. Photographs taken at the party show, in explicit detail, what happened to Emma that night.
But sometimes people don't want to believe what is right in front of them, especially when the truth concerns the town's heroes . . .
This book is very tricky for me to review; I read it in two sittings and finished it a few days ago, but it has taken me that long to try and process what I have read and even now I'm still finding it difficult. This is not an easy read for anyone I would say and although a YA I would suggest it is aimed at older YA.
Emma O'Donovan is 18, she is your average fun loving teenager, likes to party and socialise. One night she goes to a party at one of her friends houses and something dreadful happens to her. The following morning Emma is found outside her front door at her house, totally out of it and not remembering a thing from the night before. She continues her life as normally as possible, until she goes to school and people begin to call her names and a series of explicit photographs pop up on facebook. Suddenly her friends are no longer her friends, they feel she has betrayed them with their boyfriends. Thing is Emma still can't remember a thing about that night.
This story questions everything, is it right to dress in a certain way? Is it because of this these things happen? How one girl can go from confident and outgoing to depressed and withdrawn after one night? Was it Emma's fault?
Emma to begin with is not a nice character, I found it hard to warm to her and there are times when you wonder was she asking for it as the title of the book suggests. As you read further and further into the book, you begin to see people turning against her, her aunt who is just too busy to come and visit, (but sends her presents in the post to cheer her up!) neighbours and other people with authority.
My favourite character was Emma's brother, I really felt for him and at times I felt he was the only one looking out for Emma, he has a sweet nature and one that should not go un-noted. I also felt that his reactions to things were real and there were times where I could not believe what I was hearing from Emma's parents towards the end. Where he continued to have faith in her.
This is a book that stays with the reader for a long time after it has ended. It will make you feel uncomfortable, you will question your thoughts and emotions will run high through it. For me I hated the ending - I really wanted some sort justice either way and I felt like I didn't get that.
This is a book to look out for in September, whether you want to read it or not, it is a very strong novel and will certainly question your views on things. I have found this review very hard to write as I am still unsure of how the book has made me feel completely. You will understand if you decide to give it a go yourself. This is a very quick read, which you will be able to devour in a few hours.
I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.