Asking For It by Louise O’Neill is the new Irish Times Book Club choice

A searing account of a rape and its aftermath in a close-knit Irish community, Asking For It looks set to enjoy the crossover success of O’Neill’s YA debut, Only Ever Yours

Asking For It by Louise O’Neill: “Provocation is at once a central theme and a governing force behind the book. This is an important novel that tackles the complex topic of sexual consent fearlessly, at times relentlessly”

Asking For It by Louise O’Neill: “Provocation is at once a central theme and a governing force behind the book. This is an important novel that tackles the complex topic of sexual consent fearlessly, at times relentlessly”

 

Asking For It by Louise O’Neill, a searing account of a rape and its aftermath in a close-knit Irish community, is the new Irish Times Book Club choice.

It’s the beginning of the summer in a small town in Ireland. Emma O’Donovan is 18 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 . . .

Reviewing the novel for The Irish Times last month, Sarah Gilmartin called it brave, clever and relentless, writing: “Everything about Louise O’Neill’s second novel, Asking for It, is provocative. The title, the unlikable heroine, her unlikable friends, the goldfish social-media world in which they live, the horrific assault at the story’s centre, and, particularly, the treatment of the victim by her community in the aftermath.

“Provocation is at once a central theme and a governing force behind the book. This is an important novel that tackles the complex topic of sexual consent fearlessly, at times relentlessly. Published under Quercus’s children’s literature imprint, its crossover potential falls firmly at the older end of young adult fiction. O’Neill presents a dark world where traditional Irish values clash with modern morals and media.”

Louise O’Neill’s debut novel, Only Ever Yours, the chilling story of a group of girls who are schooled to become model wives in viciously competitive circumstances. won the best-newcomer prize at the Irish Book Awards last year. Last week, the film and TV rights to it were acquired by the US production company Killer Content.

Asking For It is published by Quercus Children’s Books, priced £12.99.

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