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Book Reviews

Asking For It by Louise O’Neill

Asking for it

Asking for it crop

An unflinching portrayal of human failure

Asking For It is a difficult read. A raw, honest, horrific read. But it begs for an audience, needs to be acknowledged. In the hope that its message is internalised and it’s courage shared.


Emma is a character you’re going to be conflicted about. She is not simple or easy to like. You are probably going to undergo an ongoing love/hate relationship with her. I did. At first, it’s easy to think she deserves what she gets. But no one deserves that. Ever. Shocked and angry, my emotions were all over the place while the words grated against my skin itching to climb inside. Emma is not alone. She is one of the most realistic characters I have read about. This book doesn’t sugarcoat or glaze over issues. It doesn’t allow that ‘it will never happen to me’ mantra.


No stranger to betrayal Emma finds herself on the receiving end again. Her small conservative town can’t accept the truth. Her unsupportive family just want to forget. Sweep it all under the rug and carry on as if nothing happened. She’s betrayed by those close to her. Sides are taken, battle-lines marked even if it’s to avoid conflict, to go back to status quo.

The writing

At first, I found the multitude of characters difficult to keep track of. This was not helped by the seemingly disjointed writing style. But this story did not need to be easy, it shouldn’t be simple. What happened to Emma will never be acceptable. 4 Star

Recommended age: 15+


Title: Asking For ItAsking for it
Author: Louise O’Neill
Publication Date:
3 September 2015
Publisher: Quercus
Source: Review copy

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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…— Abstract from Goodreads.com

The fact that I received a free advanced copy of this book does not influence my policy to write an honest review.

1 Comment

  1. Olivia @ The Candid Cover

    This does sound like a gripping story. I find that books with lots of characters can be that way as well, but it seems as though you’re right that it shouldn’t be a simple story. Thanks for sharing this one. 🙂

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