41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on 3 January 2011
Initially, Entangled seems to be a story within a story. In the immediate present there's the mystery surrounding seventeen-year-old protagonist Grace's current predicament: confined to a white room by the strange but seemingly gentle Ethan, she has no idea what he wants from her or what he might be planning to do. Will she ever see the outside world again? With only pens and paper to occupy her, she guesses that he wants her to write. So she does the only thing she can; she writes down the story of the recent events that led to her suicide attempt - a story of love and loss and a pain so deep she can't bear to feel it. And as she writes, we realise that these two seemingly separate strands are actually part of the same story, itself drawing upon threads of other characters' lives too. Entangled isn't a tidily plotted tale unfolding in a vacuum; it's knotty and it's messy, and that's what makes it such compulsive reading.
Narrator Grace is the kind of character who, at first, will probably divide readers' opinion. On the surface, she's caustic and irreverent, recounting the story of her attempted suicide and abduction with an unnverving matter-of-factness. Even as a hostage, she's checking out the physical charms of her captor and sniping about the mother who'll barely notice she's gone. While this does mean she's perhaps not the most obviously sympathetic protagonist, her voice is real and authentic and arresting from the very first page. She might say things that make you uncomfortable, but you'll want to hear them. She'll definitely make you laugh. And as her story unfolds, you'll see that all her spikiness is actually armor. She needs it. Underneath, she's fragile and broken and lost.
However, the beauty of Entangled is that author Cat Clarke doesn't cast her main character as a victim. Yes, Grace has been abandoned and deceived, but she's not the only person in the story who has been hurt - and she's not entirely blameless herself. Her story is about control as much as betrayal; she refuses to see what the reader soon does, and makes it impossible for other characters to speak the truth. Yet there's still a huge twist in this tale, as we finally realise the truth about Grace's captor. It's the best kind of twist, too; the kind that clicks perfectly into place, even though you never saw it coming. The kind that, if you reread the book, will suddenly give a whole new context to what you previously thought were incidental little details.
Entangled is one of the most powerful novels I've read in a long time. I suspect that readers' interpretations of Grace's story will differ greatly, not just because of the complexity of Cat Clarke's storytelling, but also because when you come to care about a character deeply you can't help but mull over their motivations long after you've read the last page. Layered and haunting and heartbreaking, this is one remarkable debut.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 15 August 2011
I don't usually write introductions to my reviews, or at least not long ones anyway. But I just found this book so different and almost difficult, difficult to read and difficult to put down. I don't really know what I think about this book,if I could I'd probably write two reviews one good and one bad, but I can't do that so this is a good review because this books isn't a halfway book, I couldn't give it 3 stars, so it has to be 5.
You see when I started this book, I disliked it immensely, I actually put it aside and read another book, and all but forgot about it until it flashed up on my Kindle, and I started reading again. This time I still didn't know what to think, Grace the protagonist was horrible and vulnerable, mean yet also caring. Her best friend Sal, is probably the only normal aspect of her life, the person who keeps her grounded, has a loving caring family and is completely normal. That is until Sal gets pregnant and then Grace turns into the protector and the advice, which results in a huge argument between her and Sal. All this is told by Grace who is writing this from a white room where she is being held captive by loving Ethan. Confusing or what? So that was the bit I found difficult to read, not difficult as in challenging, I just had to force my self to read it. But then Grace meets Nathan who I loved, until the ending, which although I'd guessed it already still gave me a shock.
So I loved this book, I think.. I found it confusing, yet loveable. I'd highly recommend.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 20 November 2011
This book will haunt you long after you finsh the final page.
This story sucks you in from the first page and its not long before you can see whats coming (in a good way), I found myself both desperate to read on but dreading what was going to happen. Grace is telling the story and as a reader you can see all the signs she misses, this story truly is an emotional rollercoaster, stirring a stange combination of feelings in you as you read it I both loved and hated it, both wanted to give Grace a hug and sympathy one minute and a slap the next but somehow you find yourself drawn into Grace, happy when she is and crushed when she is. It was exhausting! The ending is perfect even though you will find youself wishing it was different ;)
I would only recommended it to older teens but a great read non the less.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 1 April 2012
We begin the story with Grace, she is locked in a room and she doesn't know where she is and/or if she'll ever get out. The first sentence propels us directly into the action wondering why Grace wanted to commit suicide in the first place and why has she now been kidnapped. In her room, there is only a bed and a table with paper and pens. The only thing she can do is write, thus giving the reader an insight into her head. We go back in time as she scribbles the words on the page about her past and as she tells us what happens with her mysterious kidnapper Ethan.
As she writes, we realise that Grace is not the easiest person to love or to care for. Even though she is bright and has good results at school, she is stuck into a very self-destructive spiral (alcohol, one-night stands, cutting...) and doesn't let others help nor see she is suffering. Grace has very bad relations with her (mostly absent) mother and her best friend Sal is there for her only up to a certain point. She meets Nat and he seems perfect (gentle, caring, interesting) but Grace is constantly thinking that she doesn't deserve someone that good.
I won't dwell on the kidnapping part, but the story is mainly about Grace and about all the events building up throughout the years leading her to want to put an end to her life. It is about how she has been consistently let down by everyone, including herself. She functions as a human being but she is very far from being happy, she has been cutting herself for years and getting drunk and going out with many boys/men regularly.
This is what I liked the most about the book, it is about someone you wouldn't want as the hero of a book. Someone you probably wouldn't care for, had you seen her in the street. But you realise that there is so much more to her than meets the eye. Grace is worth reading about and her voice is so unique and yet so universal that you will not want to forget her.
The book is written in Grace's point of view in the present tense, it is very haunting because we don't know how it might end. The dialogues and situations in the book are very real. If I go out on Saturday night I will probably see girls doing the same things Grace does in the book, the same if I listen to some high school girls talking on the bus. Cat Clarke creates characters very realistic in their personalities and actions. I could picture them talking in my mind the whole time, I didn't for one second read it as a moralistic tale written by an adult pretending to be a teenager. The story is very down-to-earth and realistic and yet it keeps the reader captivated the whole time. I couldn't put the book down before finishing it and I have been thinking about Grace ever since, wanting to hold her in my arms and simply listen to her. If you care enough to look, then you will see the scars, and not only the visible ones. It is a very profound story and as Grace is a very complex character we come to discover at the same time as she discovers herself, the different layers of the book unfold progressively.
I should probably add that the book is also hilarious! Grace's voice is very clear and distinctive and she has the funniest retorts. You will be surprised to laugh out loud regularly while reading this book. And even though the subject is quite dark, the book is not depressing, on the contrary, there is a positive note.
I really loved this book. Cat Clarke writes on such a sensitive subject with a very original approach and an endearing voice. You will not forget Grace. At times I was laughing out loud and at others I was moved to tears. Cat is a very promising new addition to the young adult genre.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 8 February 2012
Entangled is one of the most confusing yet gripping novels that I've read recently - and considering I run a bookshop, this isn't something I'd say lightly! Meet Grace, our 17 year old protagonist whose teenage life has had its fair shares of ups and downs, loss, temper tantrums, fear, pain, laughter and love. At this point in her story, though, we're hitting the nitty gritty of friendship (how deep can it run before you hit the final block?), first love (how do you know when you really love someone?) and the realisation that all those around you aren't necessarily how YOU see them ....
Grace wakes in a room that is white. All white. The walls, door, table and chair, bed, her clothes, the bathroom, the boards blocking the window, white white white and my first thought was, 'mental asylum surely?' especially as we've learnt from the back cover that she had tried to commit suicide.
But no, her story is far more complex than that - the gentle but eerie Ethan who cares for her, with food, fresh clean clothes, and a listening ear. Sal, the best friend with whom she fought so savagely. Her Dad, whom she misses terribly - but what happened to him? Nat, Devon, Sophie, her Mum - all inexplicably entangled in the sad, sad story of her life - but is she really remembering them correctly?
Faced with reams of white paper, and a stack of biro's, Grace sits to recall her life on paper, and as she does so, she realises that things aren't always what they seem, and in the heat of the moment, far easier to misunderstand ....
What can I say without revealing anything of the twists and turns in this novel. I'll admit I was confused by the ending in a way, but at the same time, it made sense. I certainly identified with many of the events, and emotions caught up here - and would challenge anyone 15+ (I'm 26) not to, either in what they're going through now - or in recollection of their teenage years. Take the chance. Read it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 21 December 2011
I knew very little about this book when I picked it up except for the fact it has a rocking cover, the blurb on the back and the girl has the same hair colour as me! This book was nothing like I was expecting and it took me on a journey I didn't expect.
Grace has decided to take her life. Before she goes through with it in a children's playground she speaks to a stranger on the swings and before she knows it she is being taken into a van and then she wakes up in a white room with a bed, a desk, pens and a stack of paper. After a while Grace starts to write her life story not knowing how long she is going to be in the room or if she will ever get out of it alive.
This whole book is a mystery from the start and the more we learn about Grace the more we realise that her life is troubled and more messed up than even she knew. I was unsure if I liked Grace. To me she seemed selfish, right from the start when she was considering suicide I took a disliking to her. After reading the book and hearing her story I am not sure if she is just selfish or incredibly damaged.
Grace also has a problem with self harming. To me there was no glamour involved in this and you could clearly see that after a while even grace knew she had a problem. This problem is one that Grace struggles to control and for us helps to see how she views herself. I used to know a girl who also struggled with this, to a much lesser extent as far as I knew. In a way this book helped me see that there was very little I could do for her besides be her friend.
For the whole book we are as clueless as Grace is about what is going on. Why is she locked in this room? Who is Ethan and is he helping her or keeping her captive. Information is trickled to us slowly so that we are kept as much in the dark as Grace is, however I personally felt there were lots of questions left unanswered that I really wanted to know the answer to. The writing felt raw, powerful and gritty and that was what kept me on the journey.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 7 August 2011
Grace Carlyle is damaged, scarred - and not just on the outside, where there are the criss-crossing scars from her cutting. She's not perfect and she knows it. But when she wakes up in a room, help captive by a boy she doesn't even know, she needs to find out WHY. With a pen and paper, she tells her story, her life. Her mistakes, her successes. Her friends, boyfriend, family. She needs to figure it out, unravel the mess that is her life. She needs to figure out WHY. Fast.
Wow. Just... wow. This story of kidnappers and flashbacks could have so easily gone wrong. Yet, everything was perfect; it was put together in a way that made me want to just sit and read and never put it down. I was instantly drawn in, hooked from the very first sentence: "I met Ethan on the night I was planning to kill myself. Pretty inconvenient, when you think about it". It was amazingly written, the characters all felt real and so did Grace's pain. She was amazing. This book was amazing. I adored it.
Grace was a wonderfully strong character, her voice so real. She was the driving force, the life, the power. She could easily have been `that girl'. The one who is pathetic and suicidal and clingy, but she wasn't. She was real. She was human. I loved her for her faults, loved that she wasn't perfect. And more than anything, I loved her strength. Grace was brilliant. Yes, she was damaged, broken, but I didn't pity her or look down on her: I hurt for her. I just loved that she could be sarcastic and almost light-hearted, considering the position she was in. She was just incredible! Warm, ironic, stubborn. She was refreshing and one of my favourite heroines, plus she reminded me what I loved most about fiction and writing.
Grace had issues with her mother, which I found particularly interesting. Ever since her dad died, Grace's mother couldn't be bothered. She didn't notice that Grace was cutting or drinking, nothing. I had a theory behind this sudden disinterest - one which proved to be accurate - but all Grace could see was a mother that didn't care. Which is why her friendship with BF Sal was so important to her. The two completely relied on one another. Their relationship was sweet, and meant everything to Grace. Which was one of the problems...
I can honestly say I couldn't guess where the plot was going. I couldn't guest the twists, the turns, nothing, nada. I just could not figure out - no matter how hard I tried - who Ethan was! It took me forever to get even an idea, and by then I couldn't be bothered to think, I was so absorbed in the story. I loved that Grace's life, her kidnapping aside, was so realistic, so relatable. Somehow, Cat Clarke took every day - for some of us, anyway - occurrences and changed them, made them surreal. I just could not stop reading. There was humour, happiness and love, fear, confusion and sadness - such bone crushing sadness that it made my eyes fill with tears. I felt absolutely everything Grace did, like they were my own feelings. It hurt. I cried.
One of the most amazing, unpredictable, incredible, beautiful books I've read in a long time. Cat Clarke is an author to look out for! I know I'll be on the lookout for all of her future books.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 April 2012
In Entangled, we meet up with Grace. Grace is in a white room with all white furniture and other stuff, with only paper and pens available to her. So what does she do? She writes. The whole book is based on her telling what happened that put her in the place she is in now.
It's really difficult to talk about this book without spoiling anything that happens in the story, because everything is tied together to form the plot. I didn't find the storyline to be particularly original, but I really liked the way Clarke has written the book and her way of showing Grace's story. She combines what the main character is experiencing now with the memories that she has that brought her to where she is now.
I found Grace to be really superficial on the outside. That's the way she was supposed to appear - only caring about herself and then mainly about booze, going to pubs and sex (yes, that's quite high up on her priority list). But on the inside, she is dealing with feelings that she doesn't know what to do with. Grace doesn't know how to talk about her feelings, or how to express them, so she cuts herself. Self mutilation is a taboo subject and I think Clarke did a good job on writing the feelings of our main character, as well as expressing her motives to do so.
The characters (Grace, Sal, Nat) were all on the shallow side. They are teenagers, so I suppose that's their way of thinking, but it bothered me that they only seemed to think about themselves. Having said that, I really liked the fact that a minor character got a bigger role towards the end. He was always looked over before that, but he ended up being really valuable for the ending of the story and I loved the way Clarke wrote the ending. It was emotional and heartbreaking, even though you might have expected this to happen. I found the ending especially well written.
This book talked about the issue of self mutilation which is a taboo subject and I'm glad that such an important matter was touched upon in this book. Another thing that I liked about the book is that Cat Clarke is a British author - which made a nice change in reading, in between all the books from the US I've been reading :)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 June 2011
I don't know what to say about this one. I read it in a night and couldn't put it down. I was desperately fixated by Grace's "tangled life" and wanted her to be able to wipe her slate clean. I empathised painfully with her. To an extent.
There was a lot about Grace that I didn't like. It seemed like in every scene she had a drink in her hand and she wasn't a pleasant drunk. Her recounted story about how she lost her virginity in a grotty park play-structure made me feel kind of sick with disgust. Her coldness towards her mother made me cringe. There were reasons for all of these things but I couldn't help but feel like Grace was exacerbating her "victim" status in a self-flagellating way. But then I suppose that was part of Grace's character. She lives wild and she lives painfully in order to be able to feel something, anything at all.
To say Grace was "rough-around-the-edges" would be an understatement. And yet, Cat Clarke weaves Grace's story in such a way that we can see how she has become such a fallen figure. We might not exactly like Grace to begin, but we learn to at least sympathise with her. The uncomfortable moments are there deliberately, and Grace's depression is dealt with as a serious, psychological condition. She makes herself hurt because without that pain, she feels she has nothing.
As the story progresses, I started to see Grace as the tragic figure she was. I figured out what I think was meant to be the plot twist quickly, but this added to the tension of the novel. It made me want to scream at certain characters and to punch others in the face. These characters will have you hyperventilating with rage, trust me. The allow Grace to get a taste of what it means to be at peace with herself and almost happy! Then...they take it away. Her fall is so much harder after she allows herself to be lifted up briefly by love and hope.
I am desperately hoping that there will be a follow-up to Entangled, but haven't seen any news of one. I want this follow up because the ending of this book made me feel sad and scared and hollow. Grace has her weaknesses, but she doesn't deserve the pain she and others put her through. Seriously, Ms. Clarke. Even a short story would do!
*Makes puppy dog eyes*
There has been a lot of discussion recently about what content belongs in YA fiction. I'm sure that many might view Entangled as one of those bad influences. I disagree. The idea of self-harm and suicide is not glamorised or made to sound like any kind of escape: Grace's actions disgust ever herself, let alone the reader. The sexual content is discussed with warnings of pregnancy on the one hand, and the idea that you can think you know someone without having a clue on the other. The audience will wish that Grace could have held onto her morals a little more tightly. Her promiscuity only exacerbates her self-esteem issues and makes her feel worse.
Overall, Entangled is a powerful read that I would recommend to older YA readers due to its content. There's a part of me that really wants to give this 5 stars, but I'm withholding one of them until I hear of a coming sequel! A hostage star...think it'll work?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I went into Entangled not really knowing all that much about it. I wasn't even sure what genre it was...contemporary or paranormal? I'd read a vague and intriguing synopsis and knew I really wanted to read it. This was completely the best way to go into this book as reading it was every bit a journey as its troubled protagonist's, 17 year old Grace. Cat Clarke's Entangled is one of the most haunting and stunning books I have read, provoking every possible emotion in me.
Told from a first person point of view from Grace, the author takes the brave step of making her unlikeable. Her behaviour as she tells us about the past which lead her to this point is the type that evokes disgust in many. She's self destructive in the extreme and at first some may find it difficult to feel much sympathy for her, but as we delve deeper into her broken life and we see how vulnerable she really is, she emerges as a victim of her circumstances. Everyone knows a Grace, has probably sneered and never considered why they behave the way they do, how much they may be hurting. For me it was a little closer to home, and I saw a tiny bit of myself as a teenager. In some ways reading from Grace was like going back in time, and Cat Clarke completely gets the neediness, paranoia, feelings of self-loathing and self-harm I remember experiencing. It sounds a cliché to say she was believable and real, but it's scarily true. Even those who can't directly relate to Grace will recognise some of her feelings or be able to experience them through Clarke's fantastic ability to convey them onto the page, and will certainly take away a greater understanding of people from this book.
The mystery of Ethan and the white room remain as such throughout the book. I came up with many different theories while reading, none of which ended up correct but along with Grace's voice kept me turning pages and unable to leave until I'd finished. The ending is somewhat ambiguous and definitely open to interpretation. I know what I think and I'm sure others have different ideas. I loved this, it wasn't annoyingly open and unresolved, and it allows you to really think. I went to bed last night thinking about it and woke up again this morning thinking about it. Whatever your interpretation though, one thing I can guarantee is that it will leave you with tears. It's tragic, but beautifully hopeful for the future.
I've read some amazing books this year, and Entangled is up there with the best of them. I couldn't put it down and read all 370 pages in one sitting, something I haven't done for a while. I won't forget this book and can't wait to see what Cat Clarke writes next. The only word of caution I have is that with some explicit and graphic scenes it probably isn't suited to a younger audience and I would hesitate to give it to under thirteen's. Apart from that I can't recommend this book enough.