Actual rating: 4.5
To Pearl, there is nothing sweet about her baby sister Rose who caused her mother’s premature death and turned her world upside down. To Pearl? Rose is an imposter. Rose is The Rat.
Well. This was a book I did not expect.
It was a lovely, coming-of-age story dealing with the death of a loved one and going through the grieving process. This book is one that will break you. I was in tears by the end of it (which was a tad embarrassing in a public café but I don’t think anyone noticed), both happy and sad.
Because, yes, this book is also ridiculously funny. It’s not exactly to be expected – a book about death that’s funny? Yes, believe it not. The writing style was just fabulous and I honestly did not want to put it down.
The Year of The Rat isn’t just about death and grief, though. It’s also got beautiful family relationships like between Pearl’s dad(s) and her grandmother, and, yes, her sister Rose. And friendship! Although Pearl has “a thing” for the grandson next door, that’s almost brushed over in this book and it focusses on Pearl’s friendship with Molly. Molly didn’t appear in the book that much, which saddened me, although she was almost constantly referenced. She seemed really fun.
This lost a measly half a star (but it was rounded up for the rating so all is good) because I felt Pearl was a little too harsh. Like, I get that she was grieving, I really do (I’ve lost people too) but she was just too icy and I felt like I really didn’t like her at some points. I also thought she was actually going to kill Rose at one point too and that genuinely scared me. And I don’t like scary books. But nevertheless, Pearl was okay. I just didn’t particularly like her.
This book, though, is honestly brilliant and I would highly recommend it. I was also so so pleased when I discovered my copy had EXTRA CONTENT! – an interview with the author, reading group questions and an extra short story to mention a few! 😀
TITLE: The Year of The Rat
AUTHOR: Clare Furniss
PUBLISHER//YEAR OF PUBLICATION: Simon & Schuster // 2015 (orig. 2014)
NUMBER OF PAGES: 306 (on GoodReads it says 352 because EXTRA CONTENT AS HAS BEEN ALREADY EXCITEDLY DISCUSSED)
PERSONAL SOURCE: Present for Christmas- thanks Santa