Asking for It

Asking for It

Book - 2016
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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....
Publisher: New York : Quercus, 2016.
ISBN: 9781681445373
Characteristics: 324 pages ; 21 cm


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Mar 18, 2019

I will be giving this book to teenage girls. It raises all the issues.

KHCPL_Wagner Sep 30, 2018

For teenagers grappling with the significance of the Kavanaugh Hearing, and this story addresses teen-on-teen sexual violence in a way that is accessible to young people.

Jun 13, 2018

Emma has just turned 18, and she's the most beautiful, popular girl in town (we know because Emma herself thoughtfully reminds us every 2 pages). She goes to a party where she drinks a bit, flirts a lot, and then takes some unknown drugs. The next thing she knows, she's waking up sunburnt and bruised near her family's door, she's become the school pariah, and pictures of her naked body are plastered all over Facebook. And that's just the first couple of days.
Nobody's better at writing despair than Louise O'Neill, and she writes beautifully here. However, I doubt many YA readers are going to be patient enough to read through the first 100 pages of Emma's "It's tiring to be so popular."
Reader: "OK."
Emma: "I'm the prettiest girl in town."
Reader: "We KNOW."
Emma: "My friend's mom says that I should be a professional model."
Reader; "Jeez, just stop already!"
Yes, I understand what O'Neill is doing here. Yes, nobody deserves to be assaulted no matter how obnoxious s/he may be. Yet I'm uncomfortable with the underlying assumption that only young, physically beautiful women are raped, and the implication that this would somehow be less of a tragedy if the outcast Josephine or one of the other plainer, nerdier girls had been assaulted. This novel has a couple of graphic scenes, so it's probably better reserved for older teens.

JCLJackieS Mar 28, 2018

Emma O'Donovan has spent her entire life thriving on the attention of others. One night, she goes to a party, and the attention she seeks turns into a nightmare. In the current climate of people coming forward with allegations of sexual abuse, harassment, and assault, Asking For It shows an assault that is documented on social media, but which many appear to condone. Emma herself does not believe what has happened, and wants to put it behind her, and act as though everything is the same, so that she doesn't have to deal with the reality of what has happened. She also analyzes how her relationships with friends and family have changed. She blames herself for ruining the lives of the boys involved, and for causing problems for her parents and brother. Readers should know there are some graphic descriptions in this book.

Jun 21, 2017

I hated the ending, but the overall message is very powerful. This is the sort of book that is an easy read and still leaves you with something to ruminate on. I loved the narrative, tone, and style of writing.

ArapahoeKati May 08, 2017

This book is brutal, intense and eye-opening. I read this in one afternoon, utterly absorbed by the writing (great), the characters (believable and reprehensible), and the plot (fast-paced). A great read because it focuses on consent and bullying.

Cynthia_N Apr 26, 2017

Such a difficult read! Throughout the book characters keep stating Emmie was asking for it but when the pictures are described it's clear that no one would be asking for that type of treatment! I am not happy with the ending but it was a powerful one!

ArapahoeJennieB Apr 20, 2017

This is a good book (I gave it 4 stars), but did I enjoy it? No! Is it an important book that everyone should read? Yes! Is it well written? Yes! What made it made it difficult for me to enjoy this book is the unlike ability of most of the characters, and their reactions to the rape. Sadly, what also made it infuriating, was that the town (and people within this town) reacted in very believable ways to what, to me, was a reprehensible act.

-This is a Young Adult book, but I would only recommend this book for more mature teenagers and adults, as there are some graphic descriptions in this novel.

Oct 13, 2016

Having read and enjoyed O'Neill's "Only Ever Yours" I was expecting a good read and I surely got one.

Emma O'Donovan is 18, beautiful and fearless. At least that's what it says on the blurb. Other adjectives to describe her would be shallow, cruel, envious, phony and a bitch. But do all those negatives equal her deserving to be gang raped? If she were a nicer girl who never made any mistakes would it alter your perceptions of what she did and didn't ask for? She was drunk, she was high, so doesn't she deserve what happened to her? The boys were just having fun after all.

The novel opens up a can of worms as its brings to light the treatment of rape victims by society. A woman has to prove that she is innocent, the young men get a 'get out of jail' card far too easily because they are 'nice boys' and she has a reputation anyway don't you know?

This is not for the faint of heart. There is a great deal of cussing in the story, buts its not because O'Neill is uncreative and didn't know what else to put into the mouth of her character. The swearing is not there merely for decoration; its a very real glimpse into the mindset of the victim. There is no gratuitous sex scenes, but everything done to Emma is revealed in detail in the description of photos that were posted on Facebook where Emma is confronted by what has been done to her.

We are privy to the gradual breakdown of Emma and all her relationships around her. Even within her own family there is little support of her trauma and there is a lingering sense of blame. Emotionally raw, the ending is brutally realistic. "They are all innocent until proven guilty. Not me, I am a liar until I am proven honest."

A great documentary to watch on the rape culture we are dealing with is "Audrie and Daisy" which is on release on Netflix. Go watch it and then go talk to others.

Aug 12, 2016

This novel was disturbing and I read a number of chapters through tears. From the very beginning, the reader is introduced to the culture that Emma is being raised in, a culture that encourages her to be desirable while chastising her to be pious. Emma characterizes herself as a guilty seductress because she has been taught to value her beauty above all else her entire life. She is an unreliable character witness because all of her insecurity and anxiety is masked as bitchiness . She feels pressured by her peer group and her role models to be a cool girl that boys feel comfortable around. She maintains this persona at the expense of her own comfort and desires before things ultimately escalate out of her control. It is awful. It is, unfortunately, realistic. I feel like this should be required reading for high school seniors to better understand concepts like rape culture and victim blaming.


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Aug 12, 2016

ljtheartist thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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