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4.3 out of 5 stars
Torn
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
When Alice and her best friend Cass get stuck sharing a cabin with the school queen bee Tara and social outcasts Polly and Rae they know they're not going to enjoy their school trip to Scotland. But after a plan to get revenge on Tara goes horribly wrong things take a devastating turn for the worse and nothing will ever be the same again.

I loved Cat Clarke's debut novel Entangled when I read it last year so I couldn't wait to get my hands on her latest book Torn. I'm happy to say that this book was just as gripping as I expected it to be. Cat manages to write such realistic teenagers that it takes you straight back to your school days. I remember going on a similar school trip and having the same feelings of horror about the activities that Alice did which instantly helped me to connect with her. Luckily for me all of my classmates made it back to school in one piece which is more than can be said for Alice and her friends.

Alice is the kind of girl that most of us are able to relate to, she isn't one of the most popular crowd but she isn't quite at the bottom of the social pecking order either. Instead she hovers somewhere in the middle of the two groups and although she would desperately like to be more popular she isn't blind to the faults of the mean girls who run the school social scene. I love the way you slowly unravel more of Alice's past and as you do you discover some things about her previous friendship with the school queen of mean Tara that will surprise you. Torn really does show you just how far teenagers will go to change their social standing and just how brutal school politics and relationships can be.

Alongside Alice you really get to know some of the other main characters and although the accident was horrific and their actions afterwards are unforgivable you can't help but feel sorry for the way they ended up in that situation. The scariest thing was how believable it all was - I was left thinking that I wouldn't be shocked to find that this was based on a true story (although hopefully it wasn't lol).

Torn is a book about grief, about bullying and the long term effects it can have, it is also about guilt and how that emotion can completely change a person. At times it is a dark and difficult book to read and it is one that leaves you with plenty to think about. At the same time there are also funny moments, there is an adorable romance that captures the excitement of first love perfectly and there are lessons to be learnt about the importance of friendships and not betraying those who have always been there for you. Torn is an engrossing read and one that I couldn't put down - definitely a book I'd recommend to fans of YA thrillers and mysteries.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 1 February 2012
This book is amazing! Cat Clarke creates a tale which is exciting and thought-provoking. It made me cry, it has a strong theme of grief throughout, but there are uplifting moments, and the whole book is relatable. It's one of those 'what would I do?' books. It's a tale of love, loss and guilt that will hook you instantly. Cat Clarke is a fantastic writer, and I recommend this book to anyone.
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on 2 March 2013
Four girls. One dead body. A whole lot of guilt.

Alice King isn't expecting the holiday of a lifetime when she sets off with her classmates on a trip to the Scottish wilderness, but she's not exactly prepared for an experience beyond her darkest nightmares.

Alice and her best friend Cass are stuck in a cabin with Polly, the social outcast, and Rae, the moody emo-girl.

Then there's Tara - queen of mean. Powerful, beautiful and cruel, she likes nothing better than putting people down.

Cass decides it's time to teach Tara a lesson she'll never forget. And so begins a series of events that will change the lives of these girls forever...

I've never read this type of book as I'm not into murder stories or stuff like that. But, I have to admit this book really gripped me!
I was constantly torn between whether the 4 girls were handling the situation properly. What would you do? knowing you took part in takig someones life...

The book starts off with a school trip to the Scottish wilderness. Alice King is your average nice high school girl, gets her work done and never done anything wrong. Then theres Polly the socially awkard reject who no-one really wnts to be seen with. Cass Alic's best friend who is outgoing and confident, Rae the moody emo girl and finally Tara - your typical mean, popular girl who all boys drool over. All of them have to share a cabin together and they all hate Tara.

Tara's mean, and all them hate her, so naturally they want somekind of revenge, payback if you will. So, they think of something that will really scare her.
One thing leads to another....
And the next thing they are dealing with how to dispose of Tara'a dead body...

This review probally doesn't give this book justice, acually scratch that it doesn't! No probally involved! Once you start reading this you feel like you're involved, like you're trying to get through the whole situating with them. So, please read it, it will really take you by suprise :P
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on 6 January 2013
This is definitely a YA book for 13+ as some parts might be unsettling for younger readers. It is sort of a coming of age book with a lot of twists, turns and death. It focuses on a lot of difficult topics for some teens like bullying, suicide and sex while hiding them effectively in the book.

I have to admit I have never read a Cat Clarke book before this one and I didn't know her writing style. But now I do, I wish others were like her. Edgy and not afraid to bring up sensitive things, making the characters more real than I have seen them in a long time.

When I was reading this I had to constantly remind myself that it wasn't happening to me. The way Alice King reacted to all of her situations is exactly how every other teenage girl would. Even I had to stop myself from falling head over heels in love with Jack, which to be honest, was the cause of her downfall. I wonder if she hadn't fallen for Jack, how long it would have then taken her to tell someone about it.

At the end I was really hoping that it would tell us what happens next but I do like where it ends. I shed a little tear when I read the book for what happened to Tara's 'ghost'. I was annoyed tat the build up was to nothing but in retrospect it was a good thing to leave it like that or where would she have ended it?

I loved how the characters progressed, eg, Alice learning popularity isn't everything and that she is fine the way she is. Or Polly Sutcliffe who turns from goody two shoes into a mental case. Or even Danni who was one of Tara's horrid BFFs and she ends up being the only one of Tara's friends to be really effected by her death.

Before I read it I thought it was going to be quite a quick read, so the actual length of the book surprised me. But I don't think Cat Clarke could have gotten all of the emotions and detail into the story had it been any shorter.

I could really sympathize with Alice, a sixteen year old girl who just wants to hang out with her friend and get a guy and make it through high school (plus she is English so I am quite happy because I'm English and I can't find many books about English girls, they are all American) but then when everything goes wrong... well, I won't spoil it for those that haven't read it. But plead do, this book is worth it.
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on 26 December 2012
It's far from being one of the best books I've ever read, but it was also far from being amongst the worst. Torn is the story of how four teenage girls cope after killing (and yes, they do actually kill her, the blurb isn't referring to a wrongly guilty conscience or anything) a girl after hearing just one too many of her taunts. It's told from the POV of Alice, one of the four culprits, and through her voice the story covers her fear, guilt and anger believably and pretty realistically, too.
I did think Alice was stupid, though. I don't want to spoil the book for anyone, so I won't list any of the stupid things she does or says, but I did shake my head and even audibly groan at a few points because, for a supposedly fairly bright 16-year-old protagonist, she did get (and act on) some pretty ridiculous ideas. Then again, if she hadn't acted on any of them, the plot wouldn't have been so gripping.
And gripping it was! If there's something positive I can say about this book, it's that I couldn't put it down (if you'll excuse the obvious cliche). Despite my annoyance at Alice, and even some of the other characters (although I was fond of Rae and Danni), I did want to find out what happened to them, and I could empathise with them well enough to actually care.
So, to finish up: Although this book is no masterpiece, it's certainly well worth your time and money, and if you're in doubt as to whether or not you should read it, I'd say go for it. You may or may not enjoy it, but it's certainly worth a try.
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on 6 July 2012
Cat Clarke is one of the those rare YA authors that actually write truthful books. Books that really hit at your emotions yet feel as though they were written purely for the teen market. You could easily compare her to the likes of Courtney Summers, Laurie Halse Anderson and Joanna Nadin all of whom write brilliantly written young adult fiction.

Torn is Cat's second novel after the wonderfully written Entangled. Torn tells us the story of Alice, a teenagers from London who is hiding a dark and terrible secret. Haunted by the ghost of her old friend Tara and seriously questioning those around her Alice struggles to come to terms with Tara's death and who really caused it.

The book is, simply put, a fantastic read. The character of Alice of the page and you feel so sympathetic to her even after what she involved in. The whole narrative captivates from the start and has you gripped to the book until you finally finish. I was so hooked by this book that I read the whole thing in just a few hours.

Cat's way of writing is simple but at the same time so full of emotions that really pulls at your heart. I found myself loving Alice's character and really wanting her to find closure over Tara's death. Secondary characters such as Alice's best friend Cass, the quiet Rae, more-than-she-seems-to-be Polly and Tara's borther Jack all have thier own voices. You find yourself laughing, crying or wanting to kill them because of their characteristics and voices.

The ending was well thought out and had me desperate for just one more chapter and you really do keep guessing over the whole truth of Tara's death right up until the end of the book.

I really enjoyed this book and actually cannot wait to read it again. Well done Cat, a truly brilliant book.

Original Review: [...]
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I loved Cat Clarke's first book Entangled which you can read my review on here. It really hit a spot with me and was a book that has never left me and one I continue to talk about how deep it affected me. So when she brought our her second stand alone book Torn I was excited to read it.

Torn is about a girl called Alice and her best friend who is called Cass. They share a cabin with Miss High School Popularity Tara, along with some misfits Polly and Rae. This is when they are on a school trip to bonnie Scotland. However, a plan to take Tara down a peg or two goes horribly wrong. Things won't ever be the same again.

Cat has a way with words and her novels take you right back to what it was like to be a teenager, how difficult and awkward it was. She writes it perfectly and makes you feel like everything you are reading really happened, that it was a true story. You can relate to every one of her characters in some way and I really like Alice and felt empathy for her from the start. She's not one of the popular girls in school but she's certainly not the least popular. You get little snippets of her past which unfold throughout the book.

The accident itself was horrific and what happened afterwards really was unforgivable, you feel for them you really do, the whole group of them. This book covers grief, bullying, guilt and all the things in between. It is a fantastic book one for adults to read and teenagers a like. It will leave you with a lot to think about and will keep you on the edge of your seat. Enjoy it.
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I just love the way Cat Clarke writes. Her characters just draw me in and I always feel like I know them personally. I really loved Alice, despite her reluctance to come forward at the beginning. I think it took her quite some time to grasp what had really happened on the night that Tara died.
I couldn't help but like Tara as the book progressed either. I felt sorry for her; what everyone saw was mainly an image portrayed to make her stand out as popular. She was no different from any other girl in secondary school trying to make her way.
I loved Jack! He was completely adorable; geeky but cool at the same time. A boy with a heart!
From the first chapter you are drawn into the story. The last line in the first chapter really blew me away and I was compelled to continue reading. It had touches of magical realism yet seemed completely realistic. It reminded me of a darker version of The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen with elements of the Mean Girls weaved into it.
The book had a brilliant plot which had me gripped all the way through. My only problem with Cat Clarke, is that she can't write faster - desperately in need of two Cat Clarke books a year! (No pressure)
Cat Clarke is seriously an awesome author and I would definitely recommend you read both of her books. I love the tone and the voice she writes with. You could easily lose a day of your life when you start reading one of her books. I can't wait to see what she writes next.
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on 18 January 2013
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It was one of the first I had bought for my kindle and was ready for a book full of clichés. And don't get me wrong, there are plenty in this book! From the "popular" clique to Alice's "feelings" for Jack, Tara's brother, I thought the author could have strayed a little more from things I see in every teen book going. However, I did actually really enjoy this book. One reviewer commented that it was fairly gory and I suppose I agree, but it also was warranted since this is a book for older teens, not younger; without those parts, this book would have been fairly standard. I like the writing style and the development of the relationship between Alice and her father and the manipulation by Polly of all the girls - she becomes quite a sinister character. I also wanted a little more closure at the end, but that is personal preference I suppose! One thing I would say is that the "murder" is almost identical to the horror film Sorority Row - but that doesn't stop Torn from being an enjoyable escapist read.
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Wow was pretty much the first thing that came to mind after finishing Torn. I was still thinking about it days later...

We start the story with a memorial service held for Tara, because while she has been declared dead her body has still not been found. Alice, Polly and Cass are there, Rae is not. All four girls shared a cabin with Tara in Scotland and they all know what happened. Or do they?

Alice is eaten up by guilt, by what happened that night, what happened before, by what is happening now. It's hard to feel sympathy with Alice when she starts going out with Tara's brother and the more I learned the less I wanted to like her I still ended up doing just that.

Cat Clark has outdone herself with this story, it's amazing. How all the girls deal with their involvement, the revelations, just everything about this story makes it impossible to put it down until the last page is turned.
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