The Year of the Rat

The-Year-of-the-Rat-Clare-FurnissPearl’s mother is dead because of Pearl’s little sister, who she calls “The Rat.” It’s already hard enough for Pearl to cope without frequent visions of her mother, who gives snarky advice and keeps up with old habits such as smoking and cursing. In this coming-of-age story, themes such as grief, guilt, blame and friendship play a prominent role as Pearl is forced to come to terms with the death of her mother and the birth of her sister.

Pearl’s journey to rediscover herself makes THE YEAR OF THE RAT a rewarding and profound read.
In a way, Pearl’s scenes with the dead are the most grounded and realistic conversations in the book. The author’s humorous yet poignant dialogue fleshes all the characters out. Teenagers will be able to relate to the rollercoaster of emotions that Pearl experiences. While at points her narrative voice does become too whiny, these moments allow us to see true character growth throughout the book. There is beauty to be found in Furniss’ simplistic style.

My favorite aspect of the book is that there is no filter, and Furniss doesn’t sugarcoat Pearl’s mother’s death. It’s a raw, real scene when Pearl curses her mother for leaving her. Pearl’s journey to rediscover herself makes THE YEAR OF THE RAT a rewarding and profound read.

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About Cassandra Hsiao

Cassandra Hsiao is a senior at OCSA (Orange County School of the Arts). Her work has been nationally recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and National Student Poets Program. She has been chosen as finalists of playwriting competitions held by California Young Playwrights, The Blank Theatre, Writopia Labs, and Princeton University. Her poetry, essays and reviews have appeared in TeenReads, Jet Fuel Review, Feminine Inquiry, Aerie International and more. She also conducts print and on-camera interviews as a Star Reporter and Film Critic for multiple online outlets. She won a National Gracie Award in Student Online Video Host Category by The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation .

Posted on November 5, 2014, in Books Review. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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