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Who Runs the World?

2.97  ·  Rating details ·  1,793 ratings  ·  334 reviews
From the author of H2O—In a society where women rule and men are almost extinct, River discovers a dark secret that will change her world as she knows it…

Sixty years ago, a virus wiped out almost all men on Earth. Now women run the world, and men are kept in repopulation facilties, safe from the deadly virus. At least, that's what everyone has been led to believe…until Ri
Paperback, 336 pages
Published June 1st 2017 by Macmillan Children's Books
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Peter Would women run the world the same way men do if they were in charge? Maybe, but this isn’t just a reversal, the men aren’t there. It’s not hard to im…moreWould women run the world the same way men do if they were in charge? Maybe, but this isn’t just a reversal, the men aren’t there. It’s not hard to imagine things could turn out very different to the old ways.(less)
Stella (stellasbookishworld) it's not feminism. and yes there are no men. If this really happened we would still have crime. anyway, if you're questioning reading this, just don't…moreit's not feminism. and yes there are no men. If this really happened we would still have crime. anyway, if you're questioning reading this, just don't read it. it's most definitely not for you.

Or anyone, that is.(less)

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Man hate is not feminism.

I am so very angry right now.

ARC recieved via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

I was so excited when I was approved for this on NetGalley and it's such a horrific letdown. This is pure man hate, it takes 78% for anyone to even dare to suggest that Mason might be a human and even then everybody other than our main character, River, disagrees. There is also talk that he belongs to a different species (and not in a jokey way- they are entirely serious when the
Trigger warnings: attempted rape, murder, some super weird discussions of gender.

There are a lot of terrible reviews of this book. A lot of reviews claiming it's man-hating bullshit. A lot of reviews claiming that it's TERF territory. A lot of reviews claiming that the idea that crime would completely disappear in a female-only society. And to some extent I agree. But I also feel like a lot of those reviews got so caught up in being SERIOUSLY PISSED OFF that they kind of missed the point a litt
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
So many of the reviews for this book seem to utterly misunderstand it, so I thought I would offer some balance. While it was flawed, certainly, I thought Bergin was incredibly ambitious in what she tried to achieve and what I would really like to do is travel to her future and have a good look around in all of the corners we only glimpse briefly through the novel.

As I read it, Bergin was holding a mirror up to the world we occupy today, reversing gender roles with some exaggeration to make a po
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Fans of dystopias where gender dynamics are flipped, fans of The Power, fans of Herland
I'm finding some of the reviews of this book slightly amusing - mainly the ones proclaiming that this book is 'man-hate' and the exact thing that men think feminism is. It's amusing because there are so, so many dystopian books where women barely exist except as love interest. Where women are total afterthought if even that. And these is popular, well-known dystopian fiction? Why are people not running around talking about how misogynistic it is that every time male writers re-imagine the world ...more
Sigh. I had SUCH high hopes for this book and when I first heard about it I immediately requested a copy to review which I was lucky to get. I’m glad I did because honestly I probably wouldn’t spend my money on this book. I’m sure that some other people will love it but it just wasn’t really for me and I got to the end and just felt like the whole book lacked what I had been hoping for.

I thought the idea of a society where the world is being run by women after men have been wiped out by a diseas
nemo the emo ☠️ (pagesandprozac)
my TERF radar is going off like a motherfucker.

that coupled with the unfavourable reviews, i don't think i'll be reading this.
Clare Carter
*tbh probably 1.5 stars but I had fun writing this review so I'll round up*

So I'm going to preface this review by saying that I only read this book because my boyfriend and I were in Barnes and Noble and we had this brilliant idea that he would pick me out a terrible sounding book to read, and then I would write a review on it. As a joke. So. I didn't go into this with amazing expectations and lo and behold, this book didn't even meet those lol hELLPPPP.

Here is the report I wrote my boyfriend h
Claire (Book Blog Bird)
This was an okay-ish book set about sixty years from now where, following a global virus that wiped out all the male humans, women now run the world. And the world is a nicer place.

I was really intrigued to read this and it had a lot of promise but ultimately there was a bit too much waffle from the MC and not enough exploration of some key gender concepts.

I've read reviews where people have found this quite a man-hatey, rad-fem book. I can see why, I guess. The author has set up a world where
Lucy Banks
Feb 26, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
 ••Camila Roy••

The XY is set in a futuristic village in the UK, during a time where society is almost exclusively formed by women. Men have become almost extinct due to a deadly virus that attacks the Y chromosomes in their DNA. They have not been seen outside of a sanctuary (a facility that keeps them isolated from the outside world) in over 60 years.

In the village, only the elders possess knowledge about the once-was (the time before the virus). Said knowledge gives them control and authority ove
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Maybe 1.5 stars? Atrociously written. Both muddled and rushed. If the thought experiment about gender and sex has any value, it's certainly not clear to me.

I can see where a lot of people feel their hackles rising while reading this. It relies on some pretty extreme stereotypes of men and women (men: violent dirty rapists to be feared; women: mothers who foster world peace) and doesn't do a good job of explaining how humans are more complex than that. It excludes trans people from any meaningful
Jul 10, 2017 rated it did not like it
Finally have the emotional strength to write a review, this book is god awful. I thought it would be a delightful post apocalyptic feminist story based on the synopsis but it was ridiculously trans exclusionary and it refers to lesbian/bi gals in a disgusting manner. Idk how anybody could read this and take anything positive from it at all. It simplified feminism down to hating and fearing men. It’s a poor woman’s version of The Power - Naomi Alderman.

I read this sometime last year and it’s s
Feb 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: review-copy
"They said that," he murmured. "They said you was lost without us."
"We are not lost," she said, calmly. "We are running the world."


Welcome to the Matriarchy - it's 60 years into the future, and women run the world.

From the Little Ones to the Teens, the Mummas and Grandmummas - there are only women. Men have been, for the most part, wiped out by a virus that women are immune to.

You can imagine 14 year old River's surprise, then, when she comes across a boy, Mason, in the woods. Who is he and ho
Nana Spark
May 18, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone wanting a good laugh
Recommended to Nana by: My sis


"For anyone who’s thinking about keeping a boy, my advice would be: don’t. Having a boy in your house is no fun at all. In fact, it’s the opposite of fun. Please note: I am saying “boy” instead of “XY” or “it” or “thing” or “creature.” I am even trying to think it. I am making an effort. It is not easy."

Thoughts 💭

Pffffffffffffft! This top tier "so bad it's good" material right here!

My sister originally picked this up at a Barnes & Noble sale and thought the premise was funny so I bo
Debbie Notkin
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is this year's Tiptree Award winner, and I was excited to read it.

In the end, I thought it was good enough. The main character's voice is excellent, and the post-apocalyptic worldbuilding is captivating. About two generations before the book begins, a virus kills almost all men and boys, and the remaining men and boys are put into "sanctuaries," where they can be protected from the virus and also produce sperm to keep the human race alive.

The world is, therefore, all female, and has c
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The XY
So for starters I would like to say that if men and women are separated their would be extinction. Men and men cant reproduce just as women and women cant reproduce. So that was the first thing i was a bit confused on going into it and starting it.

So I think that if all boys were extinct we should have seen more of just the women but instead right away found a boy in the road and found that there were more boys right away.

I read H2O a long time ago and remebered liking it so I thought th
Jan 11, 2018 rated it did not like it
You know, I'm not even mad at this book as much as I'm mad at myself for spending an entire morning reading it. It wasn't even bad enough to be entertaining, mostly just really boring and poorly written. There were some interesting ideas buried under all the dullness, which I honestly did not expect going in, but not enough to redeem it. It was slightly less offensive than I'd anticipated, which is the highest praise I can give to this book. Okay NOW I think I'll try to stop hate-reading things. ...more
Alyssa Nicole
Apr 16, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
I had about 40 pages left and I just skipped to read the end because I got so bored lol.

The story could've been so good but it was so bad.

The only thing I liked just a little was the conversations between Mason and River.
Nov 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The XY is a compelling and unique work of speculative fiction that asks the question, what if? What if a drastic illness reduced the population by half. What would the world look like? How would things have changed 60 years on? What if the half that was left to start over were all female? What if a young girl, who has only know life in this new era, met a boy, a strange creature she recognises only from history lessons? How would she treat him, how would it change her world?

River lives in a worl
Carmen Haselup
May 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love books for the way they can drop a question into your mind, light a spark and leave you to examine it. Who Runs the World? by Virginia Bergin (Macmillan) is a book that does just that. It's a book that makes you think and, above all, question. What would it be like? What would I do? What do I believe?

'Welcome to the matriarchy. Sixty years after a virus has wiped out almost all the men on the planet, things are pretty much just as you would imagine a world run by women might be: war has en
Wednesday  Redvers
Sep 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
To say this book was problematic is an understatement, although saying that I did enjoy it. As a trans man i was hesitant about the premise but i was surprised to find that the existence of ftm transgender individuals was acknowledged and mentioned a few times throughout the book. Despite this acknowledgment the existance of mtf individuals was completely ignored which is simply disgusting. I went into this book expecting no recognition for transgender people and it was almost worse the fact tha ...more
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
This has good foundations to be something good, in fact I thought the end may have been able to redeem itself a little, but it fell short. I feel like the story was building up to something great, I kept thinking that little bits of detail, that I thought were important, might come together, but the ending was very displeasing, I feel like there was no proper resolution to the story.
Honestly this book wasn't as bad as some reviews have made out and No, she doesn't find him naked in the woods then is suddenly in an airplane hanger, he's fully dressed and it's definitely over half way into the book before she even goes to the hanger and it's mentioned SEVERAL times WHY she goes and why it's there. ...more
May 06, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: young-adult, arc
This book is an atrocity for many different reasons, I can't believe it even got published... apart from being blatantly sexist and ill-conceived, it's also terribly written and poorly characterised. Just... don't bother with it. There's better books on the subject. ...more
Dec 28, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Didn’t finish and honestly barely started. From the get go the writing seemed overly simplified to the point it was childish and read more like fan fiction than an actual book.
Feb 22, 2019 added it
Shelves: owned-books, dnf
70 pages in and can't say I'm very intrigued to read more. DNF'ing for now, might pick it up again in the future. ...more
Natasha Hurwitch
I loved the concept, but the execution of this book was shoddy. The weird formatting, the occasionally unclear narration, and the confusing plot didn't cancel each other out to make a decent book. I would not recommend this book to somebody unless they had a notepad and a lot of time, in order to keep the story straight. ...more
I have too many thoughts on this book and most of them are not great, so I'll start with the positives.

The concept was interesting. It hooked me, made me want to read to see where the author would go with it. In The XY, a plague wiped out most of the people on Earth with an XY chromosome, which changes everything. A few generations later, a teen girl finds an XY, a boy, and doesn't understand what he is or how he's alive in the outside world. And nothing afterward happens the way you'd think it
Ashleigh (a frolic through fiction)
Originally posted on A Frolic Through Fiction

*Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

The concept of this book intrigued me right from the start. A world without men? What would that look like?

I genuinely wanted to know. I wanted to see how Virginia Bergin thought the world would look without men. By erasing a gender, people are claiming this book explores gender neutrality and whatnot, but really…I don’t get it? At all. This book is not fe
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a pleasant surprise! At first I was a little turned off by the style of the writing - it's told via first person protagonist narration, and at times you're overwhelmed by River's thoughts and fears. However, it quickly grew on me, possibly because it's so earnest and genuine.

The premise of this book was fascinating and original: 60 years ago a genetic virus wiped out most men on earth. The surviving men and any male children that are born are raised on reservations as a type of bubble
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Author of the H2O duology (H2O and The Storm) (UK titles: The Rain and The Storm), and The XY (UK title: Who Runs The World?).

Born 1966 in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, UK. I studied psychology and (briefly) fine art/film and video at university. I have had lots of different jobs – so many I’ve lost count – including writing tv documentaries and online education projects. I live on a council estate in Br

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