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The Year of the Rat [Hardcover]

Clare Furniss
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.99
Price: 9.09 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

24 April 2014
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…

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Childrens Books (24 April 2014)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 1471120279
  • ISBN-13: 978-1471120275
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.2 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 67,139 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Clare Furniss studied at Cambridge University and worked for several years in political media relations. She now lives in Bath and is completing an MA in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much better than I expected! 9 April 2014
By DaisyDaisy VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I am pleased to say that this book is not chick lit for teens, which I was dreading. As soon as Finn arrived on the scene I groaned and assumed the "handsome boy" was going to make it all better for her, but this is so not the case.

We experience a year in Pearl's life after the death of her mother in childbirth. Pearl is obviously devastated and blames her younger sister. This book is beautifully written in some places, even I nearly shed a tear, which says a lot for the emotive writing by the author.

This book, as a whole, is well rounded, addressing issues that other authors would have glossed over. Pearl has lost her mother and occasionally is a dislikable brat, even if it is for good reason. She does have many redeeming qualities as well as some hard challenges to face.

This is a very engaging read, with a tough subject matter that is handled well. This book makes a welcome change to the dystopian YA novels that are saturating the market at the moment.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Year of the Rat 24 April 2014
By Jenny, Wondrous Reads TOP 500 REVIEWER
The Year of the Rat is already a strong contender for best YA debut of 2014: I laughed, I cried and I never wanted it to end. It's beautifully written and very hard to put down, so much so that I stayed up well into the night to finish it. There was no way I was sleeping until I knew what happened!

Sixteen-year-old Pearl's mum died the day she gave birth to her new baby, Rose. There were complications with the pregnancy, and nothing could be done. Pearl is devastated, she hates Rose (The Rat, as she calls her) and feels like she's all alone in the world. Her dad is pre-occupied with the baby, she's distancing herself from her friends and all she wants is for her mum to walk through the front door.

This is a truly heartbreaking story, but one told with humour and hope. Clare Furniss writes as if she's really experienced everything Pearl is thinking and feeling; whether she has or not I don't know, though I hope she hasn't. I laughed out loud more than once while reading certain lines of dialogue, so snappy and sarcastic that I couldn't help it. I don't make a habit of laughing at sad books, but this one almost demands it - Furniss has a brilliant voice, and her knowledge and understanding of teenagers shines through in her writing.

The Year of the Rat is about a lot of things. It's about grief in its many forms: how if affects people, how to deal with it, how to overcome it and find a way to live with it. It's about family and how they'll always be the people we turn to when we need them, and it's about the power of love.

For me, this is an unforgettable novel. It's sad and poignant and will easily reduce you to tears on more than one occasion. Already I've told everyone about it and I can't get it out of my head.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best Debut YA Novel of 2014 1 Aug 2014
Pearl is 16 and her life is at tipping point, after the tragic death of her mother, she can't eat, sleep, battle through her GCSE's or let alone begin to think about it. It being the baby sister her mother left behind. The Year of The Rat is a spellbinding tale of a grief stricken family, the challenges they face, and the lengths they will go to keep above water.

With her mum gone, Pearl has no-one to turn to. Her dad preoccupied with the premature baby who she nicknames 'The Rat', best friend Molly off sunning abroad with new boyfriend, all she yearns for is for one person to listen when she is unable to speak, however deep down she knows that person is never coming back, or is she?

Pearl is a beautifully crafted three-dimensional character, the way she deals with love and loss is remarkably told through the narrative of the book, you not only feel sympathy for her devastating predicament, but anguish for her cold and bitter nature towards her new sibling. When baby Rose is finally released from hospital, Pearl can barely bring herself to look at her sibling, as the memories of her late mother come flooding back, how on earth can Pearl be expected to care for her whilst her dad desperately tries to keep the family afloat by going back to work? Furniss explores a whole rainbow of emotions throughout the novel, especially in one particularly pivotal scene where Pearl decides she can no longer cope within the first few hours of looking after Rose and runs away, with potentially devastating consequences? You'll have to read and find out.
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By I Read, Therefore I Blog VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
When 16-year-old Pearl's mother dies giving birth to Pearl's baby sister Rose, her life goes into a tailspin. Rose was premature so Pearl's step-dad is spending all his time in hospital and his interfering mother (who never got on with Pearl's mother) has moved in to look after her. Although her best friend, Molly, is keen to offer a sympathetic ear, Pearl feels unable to confide in her because she hates the new baby - as far as Pearl's concerned, she's The Rat. But then a miracle happens - somehow her mother comes back ...

Clare Furniss's debut YA novel is a well written, moving tale about grief. Pearl's a well-drawn character who skirts the line between arousing sympathy and being someone you want to strangle with her sometimes bratty behaviour (there's a particularly shocking scene where she's supposed to look after Rose that is horrifying but also rings true emotionally). I particularly enjoyed the scenes with her mum, which is left open to interpretation but nonetheless allows her to learn things about their relationship and herself. The book covers some well-worn YA ground (notably Pearl's absent biological father, which is completely predictable) while the obligatory romance element really doesn't add anything to the story. That said, I thought this was a good debut that was emotionally true and as such I very much look forward to seeing what Furniss writes next.

I completely believed in Pearl as a character throughout this book. Her emotional tailspin, which swings between self-pity, brattishness and genuine loss, is utterly credible and I particularly liked the fact that her grandmother (who is nicely portrayed) is the only person really prepared to call her on it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars So brilliant!! Buy this now!!!
This story is just beautiful. I highly recommend it to teenage girls, as reading it from the point of view of a teenager really does help you to feel the main characters emotions. Read more
Published 7 days ago by ZombieKillinEz
4.0 out of 5 stars Although the synopsis of this story sounds sad and upsetting
Pearl's mother has recently died, which is hard enough for Pearl to live with, but Pearl has a new sister, Rose, and it was during Rose's birth, that her mum died. Read more
Published 10 days ago by S. A. Broadhurst
4.0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming and heartbreaking
I was not expecting this book to have as much of an impact on me as it did. I found the subject matter a little hard to deal with as I have an incredibly close relationship with my... Read more
Published 12 days ago by Jennifer May
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Read it within a few days and really enjoyed the sad/happy story.
Published 17 days ago by Mrs P Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book about love and loss
This is a terrific book - it expresses so well the anger that is part of bereavement, and Pearl's resulting pushing away of anyone who tries to help her. Read more
Published 20 days ago by M. Thexton
1.0 out of 5 stars poor read
Very poor. May have some resonance if you have been in same circumstances
Published 22 days ago by mrs c j jacobson
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read!
Beautifully written novel, moving story
Published 29 days ago by Penny Lynch
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Lovely story.
Published 1 month ago by vickyvictoria
5.0 out of 5 stars Emotional and life re-evaluating.
Such a fantastic read. Truly emotional though as its thought provoking writing puts you right there and makes you think about your own family and losing someone special.
Published 1 month ago by Kirsty Booth
5.0 out of 5 stars I had heard a review on the radio where someone said they really began...
Very engaging read, had me crying from first chapter. I had heard a review on the radio where someone said they really began to hate the main protagonist for her attitude to the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Nicola Hall
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