Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill
Girls are designed - not born, then raised in schools to value their looks over everything and trained in the art of pleasing men. Once they graduate, the girls are selected by the richest, most eligible bachelors to either be companions (wives), concubines (prostitutes) or chastities (teachers), but the only result that's worth fighting for is being a companion.
This book was awful and wonderful at the same time. From the beginning, I was gripped and I didn't want to let go. On the surface, the book seems like a light chick flick high-school read, but the content is so much darker than that - it delivers a delicious punch that left me thinking about this book for days. The layers and messages within this book are endless and I'll definitely be rereading Only Ever Yours for years to come.
Throughout their time in School, the girls go through several torturous tests such as comparison studies - where one girl's looks are compared to another until all girls are given rankings. They are fed drugs and brainwashed by recordings reminding them to "be good" and "fat girls are obsolete."
There are so many awful events and ideas within this book that I wouldn't be able to explain them all. I could feel myself getting sicker and sicker at the world in which these characters live in, but it was fascinating to read about at the same time. The world is built upon man's ideal of what women should be and the women (or eve's as they're referred to in the book) are made purely to please men.
One fascinating aspect of the way the book was written is the de capitalisation of all the eve's names. They're referred to by everyone else as numbers and names are only used amongst the girls themselves - even then, they're just not important enough in this world to be capitalised. It was an interesting aspect to the book that added another subtle message.
There are so many things I wish I could say about this book, but I'm overwhelmed with how much there is to comment on and I wouldn't want to spoil anything. All I'll say is, go and read this book. There's a reason it won the YA Book Prize; Only Ever Yours is a masterpiece.