Grappling with grief is hard enough without repeat visits from the deceased. Pearl deals with death, life, and family in this haunting, humorous, and poignant debut.
The world can tip at any moment…a fact that fifteen-year-old Pearl is all too aware of when her mom dies after giving birth to her baby sister, Rose.
Rose, who looks exactly like a baby rat, all pink, wrinkled, and writhing. This little Rat has destroyed everything, even ruined the wonderful relationship that Pearl had with her stepfather, the Rat’s biological father.
Mom, though…Mom’s dead but she can’t seem to leave. She keeps visiting Pearl. Smoking, cursing, guiding.
Told across the year following her mother’s death, Pearl’s story is full of bittersweet humor 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 mother, but also the fact that her sister—The Rat—is a constant reminder of why her mom is no longer around
Publisher: Simon & Schuster | Release Date: April 24th 2014 | Pages: 320 | Source: The Library! | Purchase: The Book Depository | Read it in: 2 hours | Word Rating: Okaaaay...
Death books and I don't normally get on. I don't really get them. Yes, yes, it's very sad, but I feel books about death/people dying are never written very well (or I've just never read any that have pulled my heartstrings). The Year of the Rat, however, wasn't as bad as it could've been, but it wasn't as good as it could've been either. I also felt there were big similarities to Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott.
This book suffered heavy missing family syndrome. I get that her Dad had to work long hours to support Pearl and Rose (the rat) in their new home, but he always seemed conveniently at work when Pearl was going to do something stupid. He also didn't seem to get that Peal acting horrible was her way of saying that she was upset about Mother's death, and there were many moments where I was silently shouting, "OPEN YOUR EYES!"
The romance was so forced it made me cringe. There was nothing between Finn and Pearl that hinted at a relationship. Introducing a love interest is never very well done in a death book, as the main character always seems to full of grief to contribute to a relationship and ends up lashing out and basically making the other person's life hell. This is EXACTLY what happened in The Year of the Rat. *pulls out hair*
I think my BIGGEST problem with The Year of the Rat, is Molly, Pearl's best friend. Molly is one of the WORST best friends I read in along time. She's blonde, tall and beautiful and is supposedly really nice, but I didn't see ANY NICENESS from Molly in the book. She was SO self obsessed and cared only for herself. She got really angry at Pearl for being to quiet and said that she never did anything any more. I could understand this if it was six months to a year after her Mother's death, but this was ONE month after her mum's death. I mean, really? Then there was the bit later in the book when Molly's parents were getting a divorce and Molly thinks this is MORE IMPORTANT THEN PEARL'S GRIEF AND TELLING HER TO GET OVER IT. THIS IS NOT WHAT A 'BEST FRIEND' DOES.
The way Pearl imagined her Mother as a ghost and how she 'visited' Pearl, was silly and just went on to show how annoying self-centered and immature her mother really was.
3 stars out of 5
Altogether, The Year of the Rat was an okay novel. It had bad and it had good (although I know I just kind of ranted about the bad) so it's one of those books that are stuck right in the middle.
Have YOU read The Year of the Rat? What did you think of it? What do you think about 'bad' best friends?