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Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss

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.

Why this book is worth a look ... 

I received a copy of this book almost a year ago and didn't get very far with it at all. The print in the proof was particularly small and I must admit I got fed up with it but had always intended on picking it up again because I had heard so many good things about it. I finally got round to reading it over the Christmas holidays and was so glad I did

For me this book sums up what loss feels like. It looks at the story of a teenage girl who has just lost her mother and you follow her story as she comes to terms with it in the months that follows. What really got me was the way in which she transferred anger onto her new tiny sister and almost how she became so shut off from the rest of the world as a result of all those things she was feeling since losing her mother. For me it felt so real and I can see why it has had the rave reviews it has had.

A really sweet and heartbreaking read which packs a real emotional punch.