The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss
Published in 2015 by Simon & Schuster Childrens Books
My copy: Kindle
Pearl’s baby sister is The Rat. She’s the reason Pearl’s mum died, the reason everything changed forever, and Pearl can’t forgive her for that. Because losing her mum is the hardest thing that has happened to Pearl and no one, not her dad, her interfering granny, her best friend – and especially not her new little sister – can break down the barriers she’s putting up. But what if Pearl’s mum isn’t completely gone? What if, somehow, she’s still here? The world may tip at any moment, Pearl knows that now. The trick is finding something to hold on to…
Like all teenagers, Pearl thinks no one understands her. Just like any normal teenager… Except Pearl’s mum had just died. Not only that, she died giving birth to Pearl’s new baby sister, who Pearl now resents and christens The Rat. Her dad is blinded by grief and devotion to the new baby, while Pearl finds herself completely lost and alone – except for the fact that she has the occasional ghostly visit…
This is a sweet, sad and touching read and even though Pearl isn’t always the most sympathetic of characters you can’t help but feel for her and her awful predicament. Not only had she lost her mum, but she can no longer speak to her dad or best friend either – and she has a new baby to deal with. It’s quick novel to read, and I easily got through this in just a day, and the story moves along at a good pace, taking in a whole year as Pearl comes to terms with what has happened.
The novel is similar to other Young Adult literature I’ve read. It is simple to read but it deals with difficult issues in a way that teens will relate to. It’s a good example of the genre and is well written with interesting characters.
I also like the fact that we slowly discover that Pearl’s mum wasn’t perfect, and the ending doesn’t tie everything together too perfectly either.
Overall a good book that will appeal to 13-16 year olds, and fans of YA literature alike!