Who Runs the World?

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 ended; greed is not tolerated; the ecological needs of the planet are always put first. In two generations, the female population has grieved, pulled together and moved on, and life really is pretty good – if you’re a girl. It’s not so great if you’re a boy, but fourteen-year-old River wouldn’t know that. Until she met Mason, she thought they were basically extinct.

UK publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Publication date: June 1, 2017
ISBN: 9781509834037

Reviews for Who Runs the World?

‘. . . a post-apocalyptic puzzlebox that raises important questions about gender, sexuality, and toxic masculinity. A provocative thought experiment in the same vein as classic feminist science fiction like Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness . . . ‘

Elizabeth Galewski at Black Gate

‘This is a beautiful and sad story with some amazing feminist messages.’

Hello Jenny Reviews

“. . . the plot is compelling . . . An enjoyable quick read for those who love dystopian fiction.”

Jessica Perovich at School Library Journal

” . . . an interesting counterpart to DeStefano’s Wither (BCCB 3/11) or as a primer for Margaret Atwood’s adult works.”

The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Bergin uses a clever premise and vividly sketched characters to illustrate the importance of compassion and inclusion.”

Publishers Weekly

‘Bergin’s matriarchal world building is fascinating . . . Hand to teens thirsting for an original tale.’

Carolyn Kelly at Booklist

‘Disasters that wipe out much of mankind don’t happen simply for revenge, or at least they should not do. They happen because that allows us to imagine significant changes to human society that could perhaps not occur in any other way. And they allow us to interrogate the results of such changes.’ (WARNING: the full review contains spoilers!)

Cheryl Morgan

‘Vigorous, energetic and exhilarating, this is a novel that has heart and courage, just as its protagonist River does.’

Judy Darley at SkyLightRain

‘Entertaining, thought-provoking and a little bit heart-breaking, I loved it.’

Paisley Piranhas

‘(Who Runs the World? is) provoking all manner of strong feelings. That’s not a bad thing for a story. For me, I’m strongly on the positive side. Highly recommended!’

Katy Haye

‘In a nutshell: rollicking, thought-provoking dystopian adventure . . . The book examines not just our attitudes to gender but poses wider questions about politics, power and the way we operate as a society . . . Read it and think!’


‘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.’

Jessica Mellor

‘ . . . this is a book that will make people want to have a voice and stand up to make their future better.’

Rhino Reads