Monday, 17 March 2014

The Year Of The Rat by Clare Furniss

My thanks go to Simon and Schuster as well as Netgally for providing me with this e-ARC.

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Pages: 320
Publisher: Simon and Schuster 
Released: 24th of April 2014

I always thought you'd know, somehow, if something terrible was going to happen. I thought you'd sense it, like when the air goes damp and heavy before a storm and you know you'd better hide yourself away somewhere safe until it all blows over. But it turns out it's not like that at all. There's no scary music playing in the background like in films. No warning signs. Not even a lonely magpie. One for sorrow, Mum used to say. Quick, look for another.

The world can tip at any moment … a fact that fifteen-year-old Pearl is all too aware of when her mum dies after giving birth to her baby sister. Told across the year following her mother's death, Pearl's story is full of bittersweet humour and heartbreaking honesty about how you deal with grief that cuts you to the bone, as she tries not only to come to terms with losing her mum, but also the fact that her sister - The Rat - is a constant reminder of why her mum is no longer around…

What I Have To Say

I think the thing that struck me most about this book was how realistic the emotion was. Although it felt a bit overwhelming at first because there was little other than sadness, especially in the first hundred pages. But it's a really accurate picture of how someone can be torn apart by the death of a parent. Add in a new baby sister and Pearl's fears that her best friend's new boyfriend may pull her away from her and it makes for a very intense ride. 

It was incredibly easy to get in touch with Pearl's emotions, there was no effort needed to understand her feelings of resentment towards her baby sister, who her mum died giving birth to, or the fear that her dad will love the new baby more than her. 

I also felt that the adults' reactions were very accurate as well. Pearl's dad being completely oblivious to just how much she's suffering and her teacher's concern for her grades rather than her well-being may seem harsh, but it is a very honest picture of what many struggling teenagers have to face. 

You will definitely need tissues when reading this book, but it's worth the tears. 

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