Mr. Byrne has found another book that he would like to recommend heartily.
Where women are created for the pleasure of men, beauty is the first duty of every girl. In Louise O’Neill’s world of Only Ever Yours women are no longer born naturally, girls (called “eves”) are raised in Schools and trained in the arts of pleasing men until they come of age. Freida and Isabel are best friends. Now, aged sixteen and in their final year, they expect to be selected as companions–wives to powerful men. All they have to do is ensure they stay in the top ten beautiful girls in their year. The alternatives–life as a concubine, or a chastity (teaching endless generations of girls)–are too horrible to contemplate.
But as the intensity of final year takes hold, the pressure to be perfect mounts. Isabel starts to self-destruct, putting her beauty–her only asset–in peril. And then into this sealed female environment, the boys arrive, eager to choose a bride. Freida must fight for her future–even if it means betraying the only friend, the only love, she has ever known.
“Disturbing, provocative . . . I was utterly captivated from beginning to end.” Gabriel Byrne (“In Treatment,” “The Usual Suspects,” “Miller’s Crossing)
I think there may be more to this recommendation, but this is all I can find at the moment.
You can follow Ms. O’Neill on Twitter, where she is friendly and accessible, and also be sure to visit her website.