Tuesday, January 04, 2011
REVIEW: Entangled by Cat Clarke
The same questions whirl round and round in my head:
What does he want from me?
How could I have let this happen?
AM I GOING TO DIE?
17-year-old Grace wakes up in a white room, with a table, pens and paper - and no clue how she got here.
As Grace pours her tangled life onto the page, she is forced to remember everything she's tried to forget. There's falling hopelessly in love with the gorgeous Nat, and the unravelling of her relationship with her best friend Sal. But there's something missing. As hard as she's trying to remember, is there something she just can't see?
Grace must face the most important question of all. Why is she here?
A story of dark secrets, intense friendship and electrifying attraction.
This book is incredible. I was sucked in from the very first page and absolutely couldn't put the book down, even if I'd wanted to. Which, of course I didn't. I was really lucky that I was able to win this ARC copy in a giveaway on Cat Clarke's blog. Thank you Cat!
Despite reading and loving Entangled weeks ago, I still find it a little hard to write about it objectively. There's just so much going on. The reason I wanted to read the book so badly (aside from the BEAUTIFUL cover) is some of the issues that I'd heard crop up in the book - including suicide and self-harm. I think both are handled really well and in a believeable way. For me, that was very important. Grace didn't initially come across as a character that I thought I would love wholeheartedly, but as she told her story, I found myself won over by her humour and her vulnerability.
Entangled begins with our narrator, Grace, as she wakes up in an empty room. She'd tried to commit suicide the night before and has now been kidnapped by a stranger. She's in this room with nothing but a bed and things to write with. While she waits to see what will happen to her, she starts writing down the events that led her to this place, to try to work out where everything went wrong. Her story seems to focus at first, on her rocky relationship with her best friend Sal and the ways in which the two friends seem to fall out over a big secret. Both girls say harsh things about each other, things that seem to be buried below the surface. I loved Grace and Sal. So very different, but as we're reading from Grace's perspective, it's clearly shown how much Grace cares for Sal and how much Sal means to her.
And Grace, as I said, isn't particularly likeable. She's kind of brash, outspoken. She sleeps around, drinks too much, cuts herself. We can see that she's kind of broken, Grace. Her mother isn't around much and Grace really doesn't value herself. So much self-destruction, it was painful for me to read in parts, as I went through very similar harmful paths as a teenager. But I believed in Grace's thoughts and actions and behaviours. Everything about her felt authentic.
And then just as things really fall apart with Sal, Grace meets Nat. Gorgeous Nat who cares about Grace, listens to her, respects her even. And Grace has such a hard time believing that she's worthy of such a great guy. She questions herself and doubts. My heart absolutely ached for her as she struggles with this first real relationship.
I really, really loved this book. The mystery of the white room kept me guessing throughout most of the novel. The friendship between Sal and Grace was very sweet and added more questions about Sal's secret. The all-consuming relationship between Grace and Nat had my heart racing. The vulnerability and sharp edges of Grace made me care for her more than I'd ever imagined.
And despite the grim topics of self harm and suicide, Entangled is actually really funny and upbeat. I love that we see Grace in so many different ways. As Sal's friend, as a partier, in a more gentle role as Nat's girlfriend, in broken pieces when she cuts herself, Grace in her Eeyore pyjamas. There's so much to Grace, she's a very complicated person. It felt nice to see so many sides to one character.
This is one not to miss. Very highly recommended!