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review 2015-12-05 02:29
The Year of the Rat
The Year of the Rat - Grace Lin

I really enjoyed The Year of the Dog, and The Year of the Rat is a great sequel. Grace Lin’s books remind me of the Yang family series: true-to-life observations about what it is to be an Asian kid growing up in America. More on the nose than some other books, but also some really subtle writing (most of the plot line with Dun-Wei felt really natural and normal to me).

I wish Pacy read more books by other Asian authors. The story is pretty timeless, but even if it’s supposed to be a representation of the author’s life and set in a time when she was growing up there are MG/Kid lit Asian authors she could name drop. Bette Bao Lord at the very least. This bothered me in The Year of the Book series also. I love when kids in books are readers, but usually the titles mentioned are classic kids lit by white authors. Where are all the authors of color in these Asian kids’ fictional worlds???

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review 2015-02-09 00:00
The Year of the Rat
The Year of the Rat - Clare Furniss 4.5

Grabbed this from the 'burn pile' because it was on our "Tearjerker" display and I'm really glad I did!

I have a weird thing about old arcs being tainted and unless it's something on my TBR list I don"t normally grab ones already released and the further away the pub date, well.....
Stupid, I know. But I need something to help me from grabbing everything in sight ;)
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review 2014-11-07 00:00
The Year of the Rat
The Year of the Rat - Clare Furniss Featured on my 2014 favourites list!

Actual rating 4.5

This book… I don’t even know where to begin with this book.

I couldn’t put it down.
That’s a lie, I forced myself to put it down so I could get some work done, but inevitably picked it back up within the hour to read “just one more chapter.” (The book technically only has twelve chapters, one for each month of the year, but there were scene breaks within the twelve chapters.)

This book will break your heart, this book will remind you of your younger self, it’ll break your heart some more, and then it will put you back together.

Pearl’s mum died, leaving her alone in the world with just her dad, who isn’t biologically related to her, and her new baby sister. She goes through the typical emotions of any only child who’s suddenly not the only one anymore. But in this situation she also worries that she doesn’t “belong” anymore. Her dad has a real daughter now, a biological daughter, and she feels like she’s being edged out by the thing that killed her mother.

I examine the photo carefully. Dad wasn’t there; he and Mum had been friends since before I was born, but they didn’t get together until a few months later. My real father hadn’t been there either. He and Mum had split up before I was even born. I think of how Dad looked at The Rat when he first saw her and I wish suddenly that someone had been there to look at me like that.

The rest of this review can be found here!
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review 2014-09-24 04:05
The Year of the Rat - Clare Furniss

Thank you to the publisher for sending me this book. This did not influence my review in any way.

Oh man. Did I only just start this book this morning? It’s not even eleven and my nose is running, my face is red, eyes are puffy. Did I mention I read most of this on a train? Yes, I like to embarrass myself that much. I’m pretty sure I nearly started sobbing at one point.

The world may tip at any moment.

Pearl has lost her mum and gained a sister, all in the one breath. She doesn’t know how she’s meant to love the new baby when she is reason that their mum is gone. Consumed by her own grief, Pearl starts throwing up barriers to the outside world and is not going to let anyone break them down in a hurry. The only person Pearl wants to speak to is her mum – and strangely enough, this doesn’t seem to be an impossibility, because Pearl knows her mum isn’t completely gone. But she’s not completely here either.

I’m sitting on the train after having finished this, have wiped my tears away with toilet paper and accepted the blotchiness may not fade instantly. Why was I crying? Who was I crying for? It wasn’t for the fact that Stella had died – as readers we don’t even really know Stella when we find out she has died – but for Pearl, and the fact that her grief is unfathomable. Sixteen years old and needing your mum more than ever, but only realising it when it’s too late. On top of that there’s a new baby that needs her dad’s attention so Pearl feels she has no one to share her sorrow with. No one knows, no one understands. No matter how hard they try. And this is – partly – why I was crying. (Also, it is very, very easy to make me cry!)

Other reasons for my tears? The way Pearl couldn’t see how much her dad loved her, despite him not being her biological father. He was her father in all the ways that matters and it takes her a trip to Sussex to work that out. The way she just watched her life slip away from her, not really caring where she ended up. Shit I’m nearly crying now just thinking about this, but that last scene, where everything’s not good, not yet, but maybe, eventually, it will be okay again.

I really enjoyed this book, despite all the crying. There’s a bit of dark, dry humour, there’s a bit of emotional upheaval, there’s the writing style I really enjoyed – actually being inside a sixteen-year-old’s head that I actually didn’t mind, even when I thought she was being unreasonable. Oh yeah, Pearl’s not always likable. There are times when I thought, okay your mum’s gone and that’s awful, but could you stop being a brat for like two seconds? Her off the cuff remarks could be quite hurtful and sometimes she did realise what she was doing, but didn’t stop. It’s hard to face moving on from the death of a loved one and even harder to watch the world move on without you, but these are the things you have to face, along with the consequences of the decisions made when your eyesight is blurred. Luckily, Pearl realises it’s not too late to begin to repair the relationships she has with people who are still here. I loved the emphasis on the important of family.

Just one of those really great reads. Not sure when I’ll crack it open next for fear of more tears, but it has definitely earned its spot on my bookshelf.

This review is also posted at Crash My Book Party. More reviews there!

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review 2014-03-31 00:00
The Year of the Rat
The Year of the Rat - Clare Furniss Couldn't put it down, and now I'm a snivelling, snotty mess. Shift over Mr Green, there's a new lady in town.

Full review here: http://moodycowbooks.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/young-adult-round-up.html
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