The Year of the Rat is the debut novel by Clare Furniss, a look at grief through the eyes of a bereaved sixteen year old.
I knew that I would like The Year of the Rat when I cried a few pages in. Nothing particularly sad or bad had happened (apart from the death of Pearl’s mother, but that was a predetermined event just before the book takes place) but all the emotional that the characters were feeling came over me like a wave. Everything Pearl and her family goes through and feels is raw and real and carries you through the story.
Throughout the book Pearl talks to her mother, who occasionally appears to her. In these appearances Pearl’s mum has gone back to everything she was before she had Rose – before everything so dramatically changed: she no longer has a baby bump, she smokes again, she’s annoying and she’s normal. In the beginning, while Pearl’s grief is so new she screams and shouts for her mother to appear to her. As the book reaches its conclusion her mother appears less and less until Pearl is finally able to let go. This is such a unique illustration of grief and really touched me.
So much admiration has to go to Clare for writing so well, and this is honestly fantastic for a debut novel. I have a feeling big things are coming for her. I have so little to fault this book on, and as soon as it’s out I’m going to be recommending it to everyone I know, teenagers and adults alike.
Without any doubt it’s 5/5 stars from me.
The Year of the Rat is published on the 24th April.
*I received a copy of this book through Netgalley. A big thank you to Simon & Schuster for the ARC.
Follow me on: