I always thought you'd know, somehow, if something terrible was going to happen. I thought you'd sense it, like when the air goes damp and heavy before a storm and you know you'd better hide yourself away somewhere safe until it all blows over. But it turns out it's not like that at all. There's no scary music playing in the background like in films. No warning signs. Not even a lonely magpie. One for sorrow, Mum used to say. Quick, look for another. The world can tip at any moment … a fact that fifteen-year-old Pearl is all too aware of when her mum dies after giving birth to her baby sister. Told across the year following her mother's death, Pearl's story is full of bittersweet humour 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 mum, but also the fact that her sister - The Rat - is a constant reminder of why her mum is no longer around…
I was lucky enough to win a copy of this book. I don't review for Simon Schuster, so it was great having a chance to read this around publication day!
Pearl is facing the toughest year of her life, her mum has died during childbirth and suddenly she is left feeling alone in the world.
As she watches life carry on without her, Pearl finds herself overwhelmed with grief and anger.
Within this gorgeous cover is a heartfelt poignant debut, a story that is told with such empathy and honesty that at times you forget Pearl is 16 years old, although there are also times when the bratty teenager appears.
But who can blame Pearl for her flare ups, in an instant she lost a family member but gained another, how is that right?
What's unique in the telling, is the fact that Pearl has moments where she communicates with her mum.
I loved these moments, it was at these times that we discovered the essence of her character.
There were many times when I wanted to jump in and hug Pearl and her dad, their grief was heartbreaking. At a time when they should've been starting a new exciting chapter in their lives, they were made to say goodbye to someone they had never envisioned life without.
Within every page of this incredible story you are pulled into a world of characters who you will instantly open your heart to, people who will take you on a journey of emotions and entangle you within their, family, friendships and romance!
'The Year of The Rat' is a debut that no amount of words will do justice to, it is a story that sheds light on grief and the mixture of emotions that come with it, all whilst leaving you sharing in hope and the message that, even when gone, your loved ones live on!