It's not surprising that it's an extremely dark book; it is surprising, however, that it's one of the funniest novels in recent years ... It takes a special kind of audacity to write a comic novel about teenagers with eating disorders, but Thomas executes it brilliantly. She doesn't use the girls as punchlines; it's the adults, clueless and casually cruel, who she sets in her sights ... By contrast, Thomas describes the girls' bruised psyches with a real gentleness that never turns patronizing ... understated, deeply sad moments, contrasted with the novel's bizarre plot and gleefully dark humor, turn the book into something special, multi-faceted; it certainly feels like something that hasn't really been attempted before ... And it's Thomas' boldness, as well as her writing — every sentence seems painstakingly constructed — that make Oligarchy such a remarkable novel. It's brash, bizarre and original, an unflinching look at a group of young women who have become 'hungry ghosts, flickering on the edge of this world.'
... a fast, fizzy read ... Thomas is satirically attuned to the intricate frustration of teen life, the ignoble obsessions of puerile minds and the speed at which hygiene, decorum and false pretences vanish in a single-sex boarding institution. This makes for an entertaining, irreverent and wrong-hilarious read ... The novel is full of brilliant lines and I’m deliberately not quoting the best ones, to save them for buying readers ... [Thomas] is on a red-hot streak of invention right now and these narratives succeed because of the novelist’s deep understanding of the cracks and quirks of such communities ... When Thomas slows down for a moment I am reminded how excellent her dialogue is ... Despite the occasional spangles of darkness, this is hugely enjoyable. It’s about as menacing as a cool girl’s black glitter nail polish – and just as much fun.
Thomas’s humor has a sharp, rhythmic perfection. Her prose is fast-thinking, entertaining and punchy, her dialogue fully authentic without sinking into the tedium of real-life conversation ... Oligarchy is a study in obsessiveness pinned to a vague, whodunit structure we don’t really need, with a couple of barely felt deaths thrown in. But in Thomas’s hands we don’t care ... Intriguing, fluid and frequently funny interior monologues are what Thomas does best.