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3.68  ·  Rating details ·  189 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
Fifteen-year-old Celia Bonnet, nicknamed “Rat,” lives a peaceful life with her mother, Vanessa, a free-spirited local beauty, and Morgan, the nine-year-old orphan they have taken in. Their farmhouse compound, nestled just north of the Spanish Catalan border, is surrounded by artichoke fields and glittering ocean, cliffs where they can spy down on the rich tourists below. B ...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published March 30th 2010 by Vintage (first published 2010)
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Rating details
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Jul 16, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Carly Dougherty, Samantha Mandel
This isn't a book I would usually pick up, but something about it intrigued me so I did grab it. The writing was particularly interesting to me - it was different, but good. I liked how it was modern (in terms of incorporating relatively recent events). The book also gave me an interesting glimpse into the life of a girl who is poor (in terms of money) but rich (in terms of experiences). At times, you feel bad for Rat (or maybe more for her "brother" Morgan) but then you read the next line conta ...more
Apr 15, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-hold
I can't decide on three stars or four. I really enjoyed it but there was something "off" about the narrative's voice that I didn't like and about halfway through the book a huge "mystery" was revealed that I didn't want to be revealed. It should have all been from Celia's perspective, her story, her adventure. I guess I made up my mind, three stars. Thing is, it was a really good story; interesting and engaging; honest, not all "Hollywood-y" and cliché. It's worth reading; it's probably just my ...more
Apr 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gorgeous. I loved it from the start, and then wasn't sure I was going to like it closer to the end. Then all of the sudden the last few pages took me by surprise (ideas, not plot) and I loved it again.
I had a hard time getting into this book because I could not keep track of the characters. It was hard to tell what was going on at first and to know which people the author meant for me to keep track of because they were going to reappear in the coming pages. It seems like the reader gets dropped into the middle of a movie, so it's hard to know where you are or what precisely is going on. But once I decided I was going to stick with it, I did get it all sorted out and began to care about what h ...more
Sep 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brdytw-girls
"Rat" is a lovely little coming-of-age novel by Fernanda Eberstadt, whose "Low Tide" has been a favourite of mine for many a long year. It's not as lovely-sad and evocative as "Low Tide", but it makes a lovely read and is obviously a novel that needs to be filmed.

"Rat" reminds me a bit of "Hideous Kinky"--- the vagabond-hippie mother and the daughter looking for stability. But it's not set in the era of hippies and communes. "Rat" is a post-2001 tale, set in a harsher, darker, more suspicious w
Mar 31, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
[26 Authors New to Me Resolution, letter E]
"Rat," actually 15 year old Celia Bonnet and her single parent mother Vanessa live in the Pyrenees Orientales in southern France. They end up taking in 9 year old Morgan, orphaned when his mom Saoud dies. Life seems carefree and fine, Vanessa bringing in money as a brocanteuse, basically a junk peddler. Then she begins a relationship with Thierry. Rat is not drawn to him, and when she interrupts his attempted sexual assault on Morgan but Vanessa remains
Aug 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A scrappy girl lives in the south of France with her mother, a big-hearted "brocanteuse" who makes a meager living selling used goods in a local market. She grows up with the knowledge that her father was the son of a famous British model, and after she realizes her little brother is endangered by an abusive stepfather, she takes off with him to London to find her father, finding in addition his tolerant wife and, more realistically, his snotty little son. We root for little "Rat" all the way, a ...more
Tiffany Poremba
I wanted to like this. Runaway girl in french countryside, looking for her father and wandering around Europe. This is just the stuff I love-- girls on the road, hitchhiking, trouble, drifters-- but this just fell flat. It's decent enough, I didn't toss it across the room or growl like I do at most books I dislike, but the writing is from the point of view of a fairly uninteresting teen, and, well, that sums it up. A story that should be interesting and isn't. Read Valencia or Rose of No Man's L ...more
Lorra Fae
Nov 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVED this book - the characters were all vibrant and vivid - the family dynamic was realistic and the story flowed well. Sometimes the writing was a bit awkward but it was infrequent enough to ignore. The runaway journey of Rat and her adopted little brother to London from France to escape their mother's new boyfriend is riveting and delightful. Rat is a spunky and tough character, someone who I definitely would have been friends with as a teenager. The relationship she has with her brother i ...more
May 04, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: laurie in particular, maybe jill and mike
What is life like for modern-day teenagers living on the coast in southwest France? Not as idyllic as you might think - as this story about a free-spirited 15-year-old growing up in a commune-like home with a single mum suggests. It's an interesting story - although the writing is a little uneven - about a girl in search of her other self, with her long-lost dad in London. Reminded me a bit of some of the kids I met when visiting my sister during her high school junior year abroad living in a vi ...more
Nov 17, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-reads
Although at first, I thought I wouldn't love this book, it gently drew me in and took me along the journey of a young teenage girl in France. It is a nice take on the classic identity finding story - a young girl who goes on a journey to find her father. I like how the book also brought contemporary France to life and touched on issues of class and society. The author captured the essence of young adolescence and the struggles of poverty without overdramatizing to make a point.
Jennifer Casey
I was engrossed and read most of the book in one sitting so I could get to the end to see what happens to these interesting characters. I thought the story fell a little flat at the end. I enjoyed the story up until that point, though...loved the look into the Basque bohemian underclass, gypsies, vagabonds, and misfits.
Sally Anne
I did read it, so that means something. This is a good second draft of a book that would have been a good book rather than an okay one, had she worked on it more. There are a few repetitions of non-essential information and the characters, particularly in the latter half could have used more development. If it is the only thing around to read, maybe give it a shot. Otherwise, move on.
Aug 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2010
This was a very enjoyable read! Set along the southern coast of France and London in a very current time frame. A young girl and her younger brother leave their troubled home and travel to London to discover her never-met father. Interesting family tale. I will seek out this author's previous titles.
Christina Lazic
Jan 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting descriptions of the reality? of the underclass in Mediterranean France. A strong teenage girl with a flaky, needy mother takes responsibility for her unrelated brother and eventually finds some solace in her estranged father and his family. Odd inclusion of riots and London subway bombings, and the ending point is lame.
Apr 06, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting setting to the story, Pyrenees-Orientales, which made me want to visit there. The main character, Rat, seemed mature and smarter than the adults. Her mother was useless and the father was clueless. Kept my interest.
Dec 04, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wasn't really expecting to like this one much and was pleasantly surprised by how engrossing the story became and that I didn't want to put it down close to the end. I've tried some of her other books to no avail but this one hit a chord with me.
Jasmine Smith
Jan 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book stuck out on a shelf at my local library and I was immediately drawn to it's title, a namesake we use in our family. A book with a modern Cinderella twist. Eberstadt is a beautiful storyteller and easily engrossed me as the reader.
Aug 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: coming-of-age, france
Touching, poetic and realistic coming of age story. I loved the author's writing. Highly recommended.
Nov 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved - could have kept reading for the next month!
Paul Secor
I've read four of Fernanda Eberstadt's novels and have enjoyed them all. That said, I have no desire to reread any of them. Take that comment for what you will.
Name SWight
not a good book
Apr 27, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The one star rating says it all.
Jul 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book! Your heart will ache.
Jul 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book with its scrappy self-sufficient characters.
Feb 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
I really liked this book. The characters were real and the circumstances believable. Read this for book club and enjoyed it. Great pick.
Laura Williams
Mar 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finally. It has been a long time since I've read something really good.
This was just an average book. Would not recommend it although it did hold my interest.
Apr 13, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quick, though somewhat unbelievable story... or at least I hope so. Loved the backdrop of the southwest of France and mentions of the Basque Country. Thanks Allison!!
rated it it was amazing
Jan 01, 2015
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