There are some books that you just know are going to break your heart before you've even opened the first page to read a single word - The Year Of The Rat by Clare Furniss was definitely one of those books for me. I've pushed it down and pushed it down for the last few weeks, further into my to read list but, eventually, I had to bite the bullet and pick this one up to read it. I have to say, as much as I was right - I definitely wasn't sorry that I'd chosen to read it. It was one of those books that you want everyone around you to read just so you can talk to everybody about it - and it once again proves how well Katy knows me when it comes to buying books (and when it comes to just about everything else, if I'm honest.)
This was, as I'm coming to expect from Young Adult fiction, very well written - charming, romantic and heartbreaking in equal amounts. It follows the story of Pearl, a teenager whose mother has died in childbirth with her younger sister - as she comes to cope with the year that follows, she can't help but blame the baby that she sees as responsible. Everything about the book is heartbreaking, and yet it's so real and beautiful that it's hard not to fall in love with it - in fact, I literally sat and read it in one sitting. You go on an emotional rollercoaster alongside Pearl, you feel bitter towards her Dad the same way she does, you forget that her sister exists just like she is attempting to and it's clever - because you can see the bigger picture, but just like Pearl you're stuck in the smaller one with no way out until she gets out herself.
It's a typical story of teenage angst, with just the right amount of unusual laced in with the predictable teen drama novel type of writing. It's refreshing, dark in parts and more than anything - it doesn't stray too far from being relateable; particularly when I actually was the target audience for Young Adult (although it remains my favourite genre to this day) that was a deal breaker for me. I need to get it, to imagine myself in her shoes and - despite the complex situations she is in - I really did relate to Pearl.
So did I like it? Yes, I did. I mean it's not going to knock any of my favourites out of their spots but it made me want to talk to my friends about it and it's the kind of book I'm likely to recommend. I' enjoyed reading it although it wasn't especially taxing - so depending on what you want it just might be the perfect next read for you!
What have you been reading lately?