book review :: the year of the rat by clare furniss

11 April 2014

Title: The Year of the Rat
Author: Clare Furniss
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: April 24th 2014
Pages: 320
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 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 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 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: 
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."
*thank you so much to Maura over at Riot Communications for sending me this free of charge. This in no way affected my opinion of this book.


  1. I'm so glad that you enjoyed this one so much. I loved it too. Really beautiful book...

  2. ahhhh such a beautifully written review, Hawwa!<3 I'm so glad you enjoyed The Year of the Rat. It looks amazing and I have only heard good things. I have a copy of this on Netgalley, but I won't be able to read it, until next month, because I've given up pixels in the #papervspixels challenge from hot key ;_; haha!
    -Gee :)

  3. I heard great reviews of this book. I think I'll give it a try!

    Ivana @ BookishTeens

  4. Gorgeous review, Hawwa! You always come up with such different styles to write these in; and those metaphors blew me away! I definitely have to read this; sounds amazing!

    -Sophie :)


+ thank you so much for commenting, I really appreciate it
+ recheck, I always try to reply