Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Asking For It by Louise O'Neill

When a popular, sexy 18 year old gets wild at a party, even the national news media agree that whatever happened later, she was definitely asking for it.

The book doesn't really require any more plot synopsis than that, and it's certainly not a unique topic for a teen book. There are the usual parental recriminations, the viral internet pictures, the self-doubt and shame, the high school social gauntlet.

But two things set this book apart: it takes place in Ireland, and its ambiguous ending.

The legal process in Ireland is different than in the US, and that's an interesting twist to the story. Plus, of course, they try to blame this burgeoning problem on Americanization of kids.

Additionally, our main character Emma doesn't really know how she feels about everything. She's humiliated and embarrassed, but she's not sure it's worth wrecking the boys' reputations over. She doesn't remember anything from later at the party, but she did certainly go (and dress) for a hookup that night.

The book doesn't tie everything up in a bow. it ends with a decision by Emma, but before any action is taken upon the decision. A lot of readers will howl at Emma's thoughts and actions, but I think it's a fair look at the confusion and twisted logic of the teen mind.

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