I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss
Published by Simon and Schuster UK on 24th April 2014
Genres: contemporary, young adult
Buy on Amazon, Buy on Hive
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…
The Year of the Rat is a poignant and thought-provoking novel that discusses themes of grief and dealing with the death of a parent and how one goes about leading a normal life after that.
After hearing Furniss talk at an event, and hearing part of The Year of the Rat being read, I couldn’t wait to start it. I didn’t know an awful lot about it, but I had an inkling that I would love it, and I really did.
Losing somebody close to you must be one of the worst feelings in the world. For Pearl there is the added factor of a baby sister to look after, a sister who reminds her of her mother who died in pregnancy with ‘The Rat.’
The Year of the Rat is going to be a book I recommend to a lot of people because of it’s emotional depth and ability to hook the reader into Pearl’s story. There are psychological themes within The Year of the Rat – the reader unsure whether Pearl is actually seeing her mother’s ghost or if she is fabricating her to deal with the grief she is going through. The emotional depth really makes the novel stand out because it all felt so real; it was as if Pearl was living inside me and voicing the thoughts I’ve had in the past.
I feel as if there isn’t anything quite like The Year of the Rat released at the moment so if you’re looking for originality this is definitely for you.
Pearl isn’t always a likeable character and I often found myself questioning why she did particular things, but this is what makes the book so magic and, if this even makes sense, makes Pearl even easier to like.
The Year of the Rat is such a good book, and Furniss an author you really need to watch out for. If her debut is this stunning, I can’t wait to read her future novels.