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The Year of the Rat [Hardcover]

Clare Furniss
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.99
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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: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 27,135 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

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars THE NEED TO LET GO 4 Jun 2014
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Narrator Pearl is sixteen and has attitude. One suspects she was probably a handful even before mother Stella died giving birth to premature Rose. Now she is very abrasive, unable to come to terms. Her attitude adds greatly to her father's grief, he heard quietly crying at night.

What will happen when Rose is at long last released from hospital and father is back at work? Will Pearl face up to her responsibilities or forever resent her little sister, continuing to label her "The Rat"?

The circumstances are tragic. Treatment could have been mawkish, but for the most part is not. Much will ring true for readers who have struggled to adjust to heartfelt loss.

Some may feel impact would be greater if Pearl were more likeable. I confess I preferred everybody else in the book: dad; gran; old neighbour Dulcie, her grandson Finn; friend Molly, her boyfriend Ravi; mum's first boyfriend James, who is Pearl's real dad. Several of these have serious problems too, but strive to cope without self-centred wallowing.

Readers may wonder what to make of those visitations from dead Stella. Mystical? Psychological? Or could these and the rest of Pearl's behaviour suggest she has inherited her mother's mental problems? If the latter, it causes the novel to be looked at in a completely new light, it far more significant than first thought.

I cannot claim "The Year of the Rat" was particularly enjoyed, but it certainly provided much to think about.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An emotive read 24 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
I heard this book being discussed on BBC Radio 2's book club last week & thought it would be just right for my next book to read. It didn't disappoint. I was moved to tears by it & liked all the characters. It spoke to me on many levels & I managed to devour it in just a few short days. It felt quite quick & easy to read & I find myself sad that I now have to leave Pearl' s journey!
This was my first ever e-book purchase/read & I was really pleased to have purchased it when it was on offer too!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars New author, thought-provoking subject 24 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A moving story about loss and pain - sometimes want to scream at various characters - "enjoyable" not quite the correct word,but worth a read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent read 14 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great story, with strong characters, easy to relate too, would recommend. May need some tissues to help up get through to the endl
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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 new baby and her stepfather. I never felt that way. The grief was complicated and so so sad to read, but I always on her side willing her to get through this without losing the ones she loved.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Lovely story.
Published 1 day 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 2 days ago by Kirsty Booth
3.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed reading
A well written and thought out book. I really enjoyed reading it
Published 6 days ago by Ms K Hyndes
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Very interesting read.
Published 12 days ago by Jan
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Well written and felt for the grieving
Published 16 days ago by Mary-Ann Hammersley
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
enjoyed this book very much
Published 17 days ago by julie watkin
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Nice read, reminded me of being a teenager and Also of loss,I too lost my mum, the pain is horrendous
Published 22 days ago by J. Norton
5.0 out of 5 stars Great YA debut novel
Beautifully written young adult debut novel, heartbreaking, honest, moving, very much a page turner. More thoughts to follow.
Published 22 days ago by L. H. Healy
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent from beginning to end
Brilliant from beginning to end, a short read but couldn't put it down it had humour tinged with sadness in parts well worth a read
Published 27 days ago by MrsJackie Marcroft
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, but a little unbelievable in parts
I purchased this book to read on holiday, having heard it reviewed on Radio 2. I did enjoy the story - about a girl whose mother dies in pregnancy leaving a baby sister who she is... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Turnoppics
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