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The Year of the Rat

Review

The Year of the Rat

Pearl’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.

Reviewed by Cassandra H., Teen Board Member on November 5, 2014

The Year of the Rat
by Clare Furniss

  • Publication Date: April 24, 2014
  • Genres: Young Adult 13+
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Childrens Books
  • ISBN-10: 1471120279
  • ISBN-13: 9781471120275