Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King



Glory O’Brien is graduating from high school and while her peers are excited for the future, she feels less than enthusiastic. She has no plans and no urge to leave the home she shares with her reclusive father. Although it has been years since her mother committed suicide, now more than ever Glory feels the pain of losing her and the questions still remain unanswered: Who was her mother? Why did she do it? Was she crazy? One night, Glory gets drunk with her best friend, Ellie, and they decide to drink a strange concoction, the contents of which I won’t disclose. As a result, Glory and Ellie gain the ability to “see” things when they look into people’s eyes. For Ellie, she can see snapshots of the present. For Glory, she can see their past and future, including the complete collapse of society as we know it. In the future, women are persecuted, cast out of society and forced to survive in the wild or enslaved to breed.

What starts out as an average story about a teenage girl dealing with change, loss and transition, rises to a whole other level with Glory’s extraordinary visions of the future and the signs that it will all come true. In as rational a manner as possible, Glory tries to make sense of what it all means and questions whether there is a point to today if there is no tomorrow. I was completely enraptured and frightened by Glory’s vision of the future for women. I put myself in her shoes and wondered what I would do in her situation.

I haven’t said this for awhile, but I was sad when the book ended. I don’t know if A.S. King is planning a sequel or trilogy, but I would love to see how Glory’s dystopian vision plays out. I want to know this world of civil war, extreme gender divide and the underground movement Glory leads against the new world order.

Although I have focused on the dystopian elements of the story, Glory O’Brien also explores themes of self-identity as it relates to physical beauty, genetics and relationships. Not unfamiliar territory for a teenager, but I appreciated Glory’s maturity and droll observations on the subjects. Overall, Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future is sharp and intelligent, sad but hopeful. I laughed because so many reviewers said, “This book is weird!” The book was very unique and unlike anything else I have read this year; so exactly my kind of weird.

4/5 Stars

I think I want to read more YA in the future. What do you suggest I read?


7 comments on “Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King

  1. janceewright
    November 19, 2014

    I LOVE A. S. King!!!! I haven’t read this one yet, but she hasn’t disappointed me thus far! I read a lot of YA…..I’ve been struggling to balance by adding in some more classics, literary fiction, and nonfiction. However, my first love is YA. So I suggest John Green, Gayle Forman, Stephanie Perkins, Rainbow Rowell, Leigh Bardugo, Ransom Riggs, Libba Bray (The Diviners), Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Cycle), Maureen Johnson. And probably a ton more that I can’t remember right now.


    • ebookclassics
      November 21, 2014

      A lot of the authors you mention I’ve heard so much about. I think I’m definitely going to try reading more YA next year.


  2. Naomi
    November 19, 2014

    This does sound good! Is it okay for a 13-year-old? I don’t read a lot of YA, but I would like to read more of John Green. I also hear David Levithan is good. There are a couple on my daughter’s shelf that look good to me- if I end up reading them, I will let you know what I think. Sometimes, I read a couple over Christmas when I don’t have a lot of time.

    I sometimes wonder what the point of things are, considering the state of the world (you know, after listening to the news or reading articles about the irreparable damage we have caused to the earth). I think: What difference does it make if I eat another piece of cake? Someday there might not be cake. Or, why bother teaching the kids their table manners? Someday we might be eating in the woods next to our make-shift lean-to. Etc…


    • ebookclassics
      November 21, 2014

      There is some violence and sexual stuff in the story, not overly graphic, so I guess it would depend on your comfort level with your daughter reading that kind of content. It’s so nice that you can read the same books. I can’t wait to do that with my boys. And I know what you mean about wondering what is the point when the world is so badly messed up. For me, I feel I have to at least teach my kids to be grateful for all the good things and, when they are a little older, give them resources for dealing with the bad.


      • Naomi
        November 21, 2014

        Good approach. Sometimes I feel like teaching them to be grateful for what they have is an uphill battle. I really hope the message is getting through!


  3. Brian Joseph
    November 20, 2014

    This sounds powerful and fascinating but perhaps a little disturbing. It sounds also sounds as if it takes on some interesting gender related issues.

    Perhaps there are some shades of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’sTale here?

    Indeed, it does sound as if this book is prime for sequels.


    • ebookclassics
      November 21, 2014

      I did think of The Handmaid’s Tale as well. It was disturbing to think of that kind of future society and I was filled with dread reading about it. I really hope the author explores the idea in another book.


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