The Year Of The Rat by Clare Furniss

“It’s almost a month since I was at school. With the Easter holidays coming straight after Mum’s funeral I haven’t been back since she died.”

Pearl actually doesn’t mind when Mum says she’s having another baby. I mean, Dad’s pretty excited, but how hard can it be? Pearl and her best friend Molly start buying baby clothes, they are so excited. But then when Mum gives birth nine months later she dies. Pearl doesn’t believe it when Dad tells her that day in the hospital, But it’s true. Pearl’s Mum is dead. Her life falls apart when she starts eating less and less, refuses to see the baby which she now calls ‘The Rat’ and detaches herself from the outside world. Her best friend Molly is no longer her best friend. Pearl’s life is no longer her life.

This book is so fabulous it brought tears to my eyes and at one time I shouted, “Help Pearl! Somebody!” which was the final straw for my friends: they now knew for certain I was a bookworm. Not many people can outshine millions of others who do the same job, but Clare Furniss has done it for me. The build-up to the climax was so intense that, as the book is in first person, I started believing that the main character was me and I was in her shoes, living her life (which sounds a bit weird but it feels amazing). Today, I was so distraught about leaving my book in my house while I had a whole day at school that I actually brought it in and read for an hour when I had a free period. This book is so gripping that I read for a whole hour with about a hundred decibels of noise bellowing in my ear: my class. I recommend this to anyone because anyone would love it. This publisher is Simon and Schuster, and I if I could give it a ten star, I would.

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