Cover image for Asking for it
Asking for it
O'Neill, Louise, 1985-
Personal Author:
Physical Description:
324 pages ; 21 cm.
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....
Geographic Term:


Call Number
Material Type
Alfred Box of Books Library 1 YA O Juvenile Fiction Book
Cuba Circulating Library Association 1 YA O'NE Juvenile Fiction Book
Wellsville - David A. Howe Public Library 1 YA O Juvenile Fiction Book

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Emma O'Donovan is eighteen, beautiful, and fearless. It's the beginning of summer in a quiet Irish town and tonight she and her friends have dressed to impress. Everyone is at the party, and all eyes are on Emma.
The next morning Emma's parents discover her collapsed on the doorstop of their home, unconscious. She is disheveled, bleeding, and disoriented, looking as if she had been dumped there.
To her distress, Emma can't remember what happened the night before. All she knows is that none of her friends will respond to her texts. At school, people turn away from her and whisper under their breath. Her mind may be a blank as far as the events of the previous evening, but someone has posted photos of it on Facebook under a fake account, "Easy Emma"--photos she will never be able to forget.
As the photos go viral and a criminal investigation is launched, the community is thrown into tumult. The media descends, neighbors chose sides, and people from all over the world want to talk about her story. Everyone has something to say about Emma.
Asking For It is a powerful story about the devastating effects of rape and public shaming, told through the awful experience of a young woman whose life is changed forever by an act of violence.

Author Notes

Louise O' Neill was born in West Cork in 1985. She studied English at Trinity College Dublin and has worked for the senior style director of American Elle magazine. She is currently working as a freelance journalist for a variety of Irish national newspapers and magazines. Her debut novel Only Ever Yours won the inaugural YA Book Prize. He second novel is entitled Asking for It.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Thanks to a surfeit of alcohol and drugs, gorgeous, 18-year-old Emma can't remember what happened that Saturday night, but everyone else knows when photographs start appearing on the Internet showing her being sexually abused and humiliated by a group of her male friends. Yet try though she might, Emma still can't remember that evening. Nevertheless, the boys are charged with rape, and, as a result, Emma becomes a pariah in her small Irish hometown, her Facebook page filled with hate messages calling her slut, bitch, whore, and worse. Meanwhile, her case has become an international cause célèbre when it is made the subject of a popular radio program. As her family begins to break apart, Emma becomes ever more self-hating and self-blaming. The words my fault become a mantra for her. But is it her fault? Emma seems never to consider that question, insisting to herself, instead, that she has ruined the boys' lives. As her own life becomes increasingly bleak, the novel veers dangerously close to melodrama. Nevertheless, it is a powerful cautionary tale that will appeal to older teens as well as to adult readers.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2016 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

O'Neill (Only Ever Yours) again examines the ways in which society devalues the bodies and lives of girls, this time taking on the subject of sexual assault. Emma O'Donovan, 18, has always been praised for her beauty, and she walks a line between cruelty and kindness to bend everyone to her whims. One night Emma parties too hard, drinking and taking drugs until she passes out. The next day she learns that she was the victim of a Steubenville-like gang rape, and the boys involved have plastered horrific and explicit photos of the assault online. Soon everyone in Emma's tightknit Irish community has taken sides-mostly against her-and as a trial nears and the world watches, even Emma's family abandons her. O'Neill's treatment of how communities mishandle sexual assault and victimize its victims is unforgiving, and readers will despair to see Emma helpless in the face of injustice. It's a brutal, hard-to-forget portrait of human cruelty that makes disturbingly clear the way women and girls internalize sexist societal attitudes and unwarranted guilt. Ages 12-up. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 10 Up-Emma O'Donovan is an 18-year-old living in a small Irish town. She's beautiful but all too aware of it and loves but is in constant competition with her best friends. But when she is raped by four popular "good" guys at a party, Emma becomes an object of rumor, hatred, and resistance. O'Neill's writing is ruthless in its exploration of rape culture but full of subtlety and understanding. A complex and essential look at how society so often treats and views survivors of rape. © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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