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The Year of the Rat

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  2,170 ratings  ·  361 reviews
Grappling with grief is hard enough without repeat visits from the deceased. Pearl deals with death, life, and family in this haunting, humorous, and poignant debut.

The world can tip at any moment… a fact that fifteen-year-old Pearl is all too aware of when her mum dies after giving birth to her baby sister, Rose.

Rose, who looks exactly like a baby rat, all pink, wrinkled,
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 24th 2014 by Simon & Schuster
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Sally I agree with Rishiwizzz, I don't think it was "ghost mum" it was part of Pearl's own coping mechanism and a way for her to process the whole situation…moreI agree with Rishiwizzz, I don't think it was "ghost mum" it was part of Pearl's own coping mechanism and a way for her to process the whole situation.(less)
Sally She mentions in the notes that she's writing another at the time of the interview, so I'd guarantee it! If it's anywhere near as good as this was, I'll be snapping it up!

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Average rating 3.81  · 
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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 youn
Claire (Book Blog Bird)
2.5 stars
The Year of the Rat is the story of Pearl. Pearl’s mum has just died in childbirth, leaving Pearl, her dad and The Rat, the charming name Pearl comes up with for her tiny, premature sister. Over the course of a year, the story shows how Pearl deals (or doesn’t) with the death of her mother and the change in the status quo at home.

I feel bad that I didn’t like The Year of the Rat more than I did. The thing that prevented this book from being a DNF was the author’s writing. It flowed real
C.G. Drews
Apr 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
How do I even talk about this book? How about: leave me alone to cry. (That could be it's alternate title, actually.) You know those books that kind of stab your heart and then watch you shatter...and wait until the last 20-pages to fix you? This little beauty is one of those.

I admit, though, the title threw me. There is nothing Chinese about this book. Not even Chinese food. Which is a pity. The title is perfectly clear once you get reading, but it does feel misleading to me.

It is also ex
Feb 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: guest-reviews
Review by Beth

The Year of the Rat looks at grief from the angle of a bereaved teenager stuck in the world with a new baby sister, her dad who is everything but her biological dad and a brand new baby sister, ‘the Rat’, blamed for the death of her mother.
What is so brilliant about Furniss’ novel is that the characters are real. So real it’s like I’m sitting amongst people I know. Pearl could be any sixteen year old so she doesn’t have an angelic mother who she idolises and believes was an angel,
Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars

I really enjoyed 'The Year of the Rat', it was a cute contemporary that dealt well with some difficult issues such as death, depression and bereavement.

The characters were all portrayed well, and I could really sympathise with Pearl and her difficult situation, you felt yourself on her side throughout when everything just seemed so unfair. I'm not embarrassed to admit Pearl's situation would be my worst nightmare and so I found it a difficult read, but in some ways that
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hardbacks, grief-loss
hunting and real portrait of grief, loss and trying to find a way to understand.

This is -as all books handling the topic of death and greif- not for everyone since not everyone will see the similarities or understand the main characters Pearls behaviour. Some will find her spoiled and bratty, maybe even utterly selfish and uncaring for anyone beside herself and what she is going through.

For me her behaviour was very understandable, even reliable in some ways.
She was grieving. She was trying to
Feb 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Clare Furniss gets it. Pearl’s grief is real and Clare Furness’s writing has an understanding that doesn’t happen as often as it should with books dealing with death. Truthfully, The Year of the Rat made such an impact on me because I felt like the author knew what she was writing about.

The story begins with the funeral of Pear’s mother. We learn that Pearl’s “Dad” isn’t her real father but she has always seen him as such and that her mum died while pregnant. Pearl’s baby sister, The Rat, surviv
Caz (littlebookowl)
Jun 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
** I received this book for free from Bookworld in exchange for an honest review. **

This is a wonderfully written debut novel that managed to portray a teenage Pearl's struggle with the death of her mother very realistically. The pace of this story is a little slow at times, and it didn't necessarily have a stand-out storyline. However, the writing, characterisation and shifting relationship dynamics between a variety of characters really drew me in.

Pearl's response to the loss of her mother was
Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is about Pearl. A year of her life after tragically losing her mother and gaining a little sister 'The Rat'.

I loved this book and cried when I finished it.

This book deals with grief and so I had reservations as I find this can often be poorly written. However it was written beautifully, perfect for the age group (and older - I'm 23!).

As someone who has some experience with grief I felt it really captured the essence of not only losing someone you love at that age but also the revela
I received this book from my dad for my birthday earlier this month, and it was something quite a bit different for me. I don't normally buy books like this, so as a contemporary family drama this was something new. I was happy to receive it though - I'm trying to vary my reading more this year, and I was surprised that I warmed to it as much as I did.

This book deals with the emotional area that is the unexpected death of a parent, and the inner turmoil it can leave you in. Sixteen year old Pear
Kelly (Diva Booknerd)
Apr 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: simon-schuster
Year of The Rat was an emotional read, and reminded me of Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott. Same concept, in which the main character loses her mother and cannot cope with the introduction of the new baby left behind. I felt for Pearl, she carries so much anger and guilt and doesn't know how to let it out and begin to allow herself to heal. The storyline is told over a period of a year and begins at her mother's funeral. Pearl is a likable character, but copes

This book is beautiful. It's poignant in the beginning yet warm-hearted in the end. Firstly, I really want to slapped Pearl for being so selfish and annoying. A sixteen year old teenager who lost her mom after maternity of her newborn sister, Rose (the one she called The Rat). Pearl was angry to the world, to her Dad, to her sister and off course -- her mother. The whole story is about Pearl and how she coped with her loss. The interesting part, there also her mother ghost (?) with a good sense
4.5 stars. My book of the month for April. This was a lot better than I was expecting it to be; contemporaries in the same vein as this very rarely do it for me, but this one was very well-written and felt very genuine and emotive. The characters were enjoyable to read about, even if they were not likeable, and I was truly caught up in the story for the two and a half hours it took for me to read it. Not the best book I have ever read by a long shot, but worth a recommendation.
Taken from https:/
Aug 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf
Ugh I really hated this. Like, it started so so so well! It was a achingly sad and moving.

And then it stopped. The writing stopped moving so fast and Pearl's attitude towards her Dad and her sister was terrible. I wanted so badly to read this but it was atrocious! I'm sorry eek.
Michelle (Fluttering Butterflies)
I was really looking forward to reading The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss. I heard that it's a very emotional and beautiful story and I didn't want to let all of my expectations ruin my experience of reading this book... and The Year of the Rat was everything that I was hoping it to be. It is beautiful and emotional and I love that it's a debut book as well. It just means we have so much more amazing to come from Clare Furniss.

The Year of the Rat is such a simple and very fitting title for t
Amanda G. (Nellie and Co.
The Year of the Rat and I did not at any point gel or get along, we didn't become best friends and I doubt I will even remember this book in a few weeks time. I appreciated the cover, it does look beautiful with the colours used and the relativity of a baby, and even that little touch on each chapter, each month was really sweet, but it couldn't at all make up for how disconnected I felt from the story and how much I really wanted to slap Pearl, numerous times.

My biggest problem with this book w
Feb 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
At first, I didn't think that I was going to enjoy this book but it really surprised me. It's not very often that I will pick up a modern day YA novel, I've always been more interested in stories that have a fantasy edge to them but I decided to give this book a go.

I can honestly say I have never read anything quite like it. It broke my heart. As a brief summary, Pearl, the main character, has just lost her mother after the birth of her new baby sister, Rose, whom she compares to a rat. The book
Lucy Powrie
You can read more of my reviews by clicking here!

The Year of the Rat is a poignant and thought-provoking novel that discusses themes of grief and dealing with the death of a parent and how one goes about leading a normal life after that.

After hearing Furniss talk at an event, and hearing part of The Year of the Rat being read, I couldn’t wait to start it. I didn’t know an awful lot about it, but I had an inkling that I would love it, and I really did.

Losing somebody close to you must be one of t
Maia Moore
Apr 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Original review posted here

I don't know why I keep reading these books about grief that make my heart ache so. But I do, and I've found yet another one that is beautifully written and I've thoroughly enjoyed, despite expecting it to not be 'my kinda thing'.

My favourite thing about this book was how raw and honest it felt. Pearl's grief is ugly and she has thoughts that you wouldn't ever tell anyone and that's why it's so important to read a book like this. Because no one is alone in these ugly t
Giulia China
Nov 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
I run into this book will I was looking for some bargains on book depository (where if you don't know I buy most of my book), it was cheap, I liked the cover and I was in need of a depressing teenage story. What I did not expect was the laughing out loud while reading it. It is in fact a depressed story but it's full of bittersweet humor!

The story tell us about fifteen years old Pearl, and her world that suddenly crumble to the ground when her mum dies after after giving birth to her baby sister
Plot: The year of the rat was a beautiful and tragic novel which follows a girl after the death of her mother in child birth and how much she despises the baby ‘the rat’ that she believes killed her mother. Gosh it was heart breaking, it really was! I loved how it was written though I thought it was really unique in the ideas behind it. It was also very realistic to me as it was a very English setting with there being a focus on GCSE’s and a Scottish grandma.

Characters: You feel so empathetic f
Mar 11, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 11, 2015 rated it liked it
This is a story about a girl called Pearl who has recently suffered the loss of her mother who died during childbirth. It is a very realistic novel and follows the life of Pearl for the year after her mother dies - how she deals with the pain etc.

I really liked the novel because of how real it is but also because of the humour laced throughout. It can be hard to inject humour in a storyline as tragic as this but the author does it very well. The storyline didn't stand out to me and I didn't get
Feb 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya

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 ;)
Yvonne (It's All About Books)

Finished reading: July 10th 2018
(Read in Dutch: 'Het Jaar Dat De Wereld Op Zijn Kop Stond')

“You shouldn't be wasting your time worrying about what's going to happen after you die. It's pointless. Think about what's happening now. In your life. That's what's important. ”

(view spoiler)
This review and other similar reviews can be found on Thoughts By J!

- - -

"He said maybe sometimes, when people lose someone they love, it's like they die too. It's like perhaps that's the only way they can stay close to the person who's gone. They stop living." (p. 294)

The Year of the Rat was a beautifully written debut that follows a young girl named Pearl who loses her mum when she gives birth to her baby sister, Rose. The book is set over the year following Pearl's mum's death, and

At first I wasn't very keen on this book but the more I read the more I started to enjoy it by the end I wasn't wanting to put it down. Pearl is a very ambitious character and wants only what's best for her mum and her at the start but she then realises that she wants what's best for everyone she goes on a long journey to realise what she has is great. Great book would really recommend. ...more
Gill Appleyard
May 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book I read it in one sitting. It made me smile and made me cry.
Pearl is a young 16 year old who’s mum dies giving birth to her sister, The Rat, and this book follows Pearl for the first year of her sister’s life, hence the title.
It was written so well and you really felt for Pearl and what she was going through at such an age.
It was one of those books you can’t wait to finish but when it has you’re disappointed.
Can’t wait to read the next Clare Furniss book.
When Pearl’s mother unexpectedly dies, fifteen year old Pearl blames her little sister. If it wasn’t for the baby, Pearl feels her mother would still be alive. It doesn’t help that baby Rose (who was born two months premature) looks more like a pink rat than the soft, dimpled cheeked baby with golden curls Pearl was imagining joining her family.

Pearl feels like she’s lost everything when her mum died. Her dad spends most of his time at the hospital with The Rat and her friends just don’t underst
Jun 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Almost hard to believe that I finished this book in only two days but as other reviewers have commented it was a book I could not put down nor did I want to. I read it in bed, in the bath, on the way to work in the car, whilst waiting for a taxi, anytime I could find 5 minutes.

They say that sometimes books speak to you or they appeal to you more if you read them at a certain place in your life. Before when I have read books of a melancholy nature, sometimes if the main character could not or wou
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Furniss grew up in London, and moved to Birmingham in her teens. After brief stints as a waitress, a shop assistant, and working at the Shakespeare Centre Library in Stratford-upon-Avon, she studied at Cambridge and Aberdeen. She went on to work in media relations for the homelessness charity Shelter and spent several years as a press officer for the then Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone. She now ...more

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