"An heir to Margaret Atwood" is one label even we feminists can get behind. And that's exactly how many critics and readers have referred to U.K. young adult lit author Louise O'Neill. Now, thanks to innovative production company Killer Content teaming up with non-profit activist group Two Brass Brads, Louise O'Neill's Only Ever Yours will be a TV show and a movie.
Only Ever Yours was published across the United Kingdom in 2014, and it hit bookshelves in the U.S. in May. Imagine if Atwood meshed her iconic speculative fiction novel The Handmaid's Tale with Kazuo Ishiguro's beautiful dystopian Never Let Me Go, and you'll have an idea of Only Ever Yours. In O'Neill's dystopia, women exist solely for men's pleasure. They are trained and bred in schools — like a warped kind of finishing school — where they learn only the art of pleasing the men of the world. The top 10 most traditionally conformed beautiful girls upon "graduation" at 16 are matched as companions to high-powered men. The rest are forced to live life as a concubine or remain "chaste" and teach another generation of young women.
If you're thinking that this sounds a little too real and not quite as "dystopian" as other YA hits, Killer Content's Adrienne Becker agrees. In a statement to Variety, Becker said:
Only Ever Yours, while dystopian in genre, may be closer to today’s reality than adults recognize. Today’s young people struggle to define themselves on their own terms under the harsh glare of the information age Klieg lights.
Killer Content is also working on two other novel adaptations for the screen: a Brian Selznick's Wonderstruck film adaptation and a Amazon pilot based on Therese Ann Fowler's Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald. What makes Only Ever Yours stand out is that it's co-financed with Two Brass Brads. The non-profit organization aims to create "socially relevant" content, according to Variety, that it releases alongside educational and activist campaigns.
Only Ever Yours won the premiere YA Book Prize from the U.K.'s The Bookseller magazine in March 2015. This week, O'Neill released her second book, also tackling feminist issues, called Asking For It.
Image: Louise O'Neill/Goodreads