who runs the world? // book review

Who Runs the World? by Virginia Bergin

first published by My Kinda Book on June 1st 2017

  • young adult, dystopia
  • I read the 336 page paperback
  • who runs the world? girls.
  • find out more on goodreads

★★★★★ 4.5 STARS


Imagine a world where women rule. In fact, imagine a world where men are a dying breed, locked away in Sanctuaries across the globe to preserve them (and their sperm). When a virus breaks out and infects nearly all males, young and old, there is nothing for the women of our generation to do but hide them away in quarantined safe zones to save the future of the human race. Sixty years in the future, fourteen year old River has never laid eyes on a real boy. Until she stumbles across a dying one.

Who Runs the World? is a fantastically odd story inconceivable to most minds. The idea of one ruling gender, a global society of women who live in peace, harmony and Agreement is fascinating. Whilst it does seem a tad simplistic that, without men present, there would be no war or violence or rape or murder, the book explores some truly complex ideas about gender roles, normalisation, and how exactly we’d differ socially in a world without men. For instance, being naked is a non-issue, bras are a long forgotten pain-in-the-back of the past, women do traditionally masculine jobs without anybody batting an eyelash and communication is the key to diplomacy.

However, all this is set to change when critically ill Mason is brought back to the village by River. The world, still infected with the virus of the past, is set to poison him and his male chromosomes…. or is it? As River and Mason begin a wary friendship, sacrifices must be made to keep his identity a secret, both within the family home and wider afield. River must battle hard against the morals she’s grown up with, fighting to work out right from wrong, just from necessity, as a whole other side of humanity is opened up to her.

Whilst I wasn’t completely tuned into River’s voice (she certainly reads like a 14 year old, that’s for sure) I found the whole book completely engaging – I devoured it in a day, straight after purchase. I seriously couldn’t finish it fast enough! It sparked so many questions in my mind about the way we treat gender and the socialised differences between girls and boys in a really fun and unique way. As a YA book it perfectly straddles that line between being accessible for teens whilst still posing hard-hitting, philosophical ideas.

Be warned if you want all your questions answering, this book will not end happily for you. Frustrating, but glorious all the same! Sometimes things are better left to our own imagination.

you’ll love this if…

  • a contemporary, feminist twist on the traditional dystopia sounds intriguing
  • you like your books to get you thinking
  • politics, gender roles and philosophy are your thaaang
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