Author: Clare Furniss
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: April 24th 2014
Book: For Review*
Format: Cover ARC
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Family, Loss
Find: amazon || goodreads || the book depository
Summary: 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 Year of the Rat was a perfect read. Brimming with un-shed tears, hope and the need for normality that you know will never come, and that you need to learn to live without. It is about life and love and the changes that take place after loss. It is about one girl's journey to re-create her world into the 'normal' she wishes she still had but has evaded her grasp so deftly - like a handful of sand that never stays, grains running through fingers faster than you can re-collect.
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…-goodreads
The writing was simple, yet stunning. Pearl was exactly as her name suggests: a hard shell on the outside but radiant at the same time. At times i wanted to shake her for being so selfish and stubborn: refusing to see things calmly and rationally, with acceptance. However the author always managed to show me exactly why she wasn't being like that. Pearl was refreshingly real and flawed and the honest, humorous writing reflects that wholly.
Clare Furniss creates such heart-stopping, vivid characters in her debut that it was like i was sitting next to them the entire way through the book. She easily conveys the complex emotions people go through after a loss like Pearl's, and evoked such strong feelings that i was a mess by the end of this book. The book never becomes depressing though. The sensitive issues explored never become too overpowering as there is always that thread of hope weaving itself through the story.
It will make you laugh, it will make you cry; and cry some more. The Year of the Rat is a stunning debut that no-one should miss. Love, loss and family relationships are tossed around inside the pages of this book creating a beautiful story that is guaranteed to have tears tricking down your face by the end. I can't wait to see what Clare Furniss produces next. My rating: ★★★★★
IN A WORD?
The Year of the Rat is a poignant book that will captivate you utterly and completely: you will fall in love with it; you will cry over it - it will linger in your mind for a long long time after you have turned the last page and absorbed the last words.
"..Maybe sometimes, When people lose someone they love, it's like they die too. It's like perhaps that's the only way they can stay close to the person who's gone. They stop living."