"A feminist triumph of a scarily familiar dystopia, this is Holly Bourne at her absolute best. Read it, share it, talk about it"
Belle and Joni live in a society firmly controlled by the Doctrine; Belle is a loyal follower, Joni is not. Belle is the most successful Pretty in school, a Chosen One and soon to be crowned winner of The Ceremony – she Has It All. Joni is Objectionable, she is hated by everyone for her repulsive looks and opposition to the Doctrine.
The Doctrine insists that the Bad Times are over, that True Equality has been achieved and every woman has a choice how they live. But when a woman’s worth is judged solely on appearance, how much choice does she really have?
This is a scathing comment on modern image-obsessed society, which holds a mirror up to much of the ridiculous expectations and controls placed on women of all ages. With hugely impressive skill, Bourne has created a world that is undoubtedly familiar, but distant enough to allow objective consideration of the societal norms and illusion of choice that Belle and Joni exist under. Language is played with to present familiar objects and concepts in new lights, making the reader consider not only the story presented, but their own lives and society.
This is one of those rarest of reading experiences – a book that you consume rather than simply read, a book that will change the reader forever. It will make you both angry and tearful for what women and girls smilingly endure. It belongs in the hands of every teenager and everybody who cares about them.