Year of the Rat, by Clare Furniss (book review) – Mum dead, baby here…

book cover of The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss published by Margaret McElderry BooksDead from childbirth…
Mum is gone, the preemie baby is here,
except that Mum’s ghost pops by occasionally,
and The Rat isn’t going anywhere…

Highschooler Clare’s never met her birth father, calls her stepfather Dad, and cannot imagine why he and Mum would purposefully have another baby!

Find this intense study of embarrassment turned to deepest grief at your local library or independent bookstore.


Book info: The Year of the Rat / Clare Furniss. Margaret McElderry Books, 2014.   [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Pearl thinks that losing her mom is the worst thing, until the 15 year old must live with her stepdad and premature half-sister as constant reminders of why Mum died.

Why did Dad ask Mum to have a baby? They always said that Pearl was priceless…
How could Molly get a boyfriend now, just when Pearl needs her best friend most?
What’s the point in doing schoolwork? What’s the point of anything in her English country town?

Keeping herself emotionally distant from “the rat” baby is easier than letting go of Mum’s memory, especially when Pearl is visited randomly by her mother – cigarette smoke, big laugh, and all.

Despite cute Finn staying with his grandma next door, despite finally discovering her birth father’s name, grief hollows out Pearl’s very existence – how will she ever get over losing Mum?

What do you think?

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