Book Review : Torn by Cat Clarke

Paperback, 378 pages
Published December 22nd 2011 by Quercus 

New copy available on:
The Book Depository (Worldwide) $9.46 USD 
Boomerang Books (Australia) $15.29 AUD

Like new second-hand copy available on:
Shop ♥ Books (Malaysia) RM 29.00

Four girls. One dead body. A whole lot of guilt.

Alice King isn’t expecting the holiday of a lifetime when she sets off with her classmates on a trip to the Scottish wilderness, but she’s not exactly prepared for an experience beyond her darkest nightmares…

Alice and her best friend Cass are stuck in a cabin with Polly, the social outcast, and Rae, the moody emo-girl. Then there’s Tara – queen of mean. Powerful, beautiful and cruel, she likes nothing better than putting people down.
Cass decides it’s time to teach Tara a lesson she’ll never forget. And so begins a series of events that will change the lives of these girls forever...

TORN is a book that deals with guilt. A whole lot of them. Guilt that will gnaw you from inside out. Guilt that makes you feel like a huge stone is slowly crushing you until there's nothing left. There's not a moment that Alice doesn't feel guilty since the "accident" - the one that left Queen of Mean Tara Chambers dead as a doornail.

I've never accidentally done something so terrible as Alice and her friends, but I have definitely done some mistakes in life that I wish I could reverse or make better. I feel connected to Alice in many ways, I can taste her guilt, fear and worry, and her yearning for love from her ex-dead-best friend's brother - and how these feelings crush her soul.

Though there is not much plot in the story as most of them circles around Alice's guilt-ridden self and her attempt to supress the need to tell someone everything, there is an intensity that keeps me reading. Alice feels torn - should she keep her mouth shut and bear the guilt forever or speak the truth and get sentenced to a life in prison?

TORN is a book that is similar to SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson. I did not particular love this book, but neither do I find it boring and monotonous. As I've said before, I'm a plot-driven reader, but I think books like these would be nice to read once in a while.

Rating: 3.685

About The Author
Cat Clarke 
Cat Clarke was born in Zambia and brought up in Edinburgh and Yorkshire, which has given her an accent that tends to confuse people. Cat has written non-fiction books about exciting things like cowboys, sharks and pirates, and now writes YA novels. She lives in Edinburgh with a couple of cats, Jem and Scout, who spend their days plotting to spit up furballs at the most inconvenient times. She likes cheese A LOT, especially baked camembert.

2 creative remarks:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great book and the cover is very nice too.

Jaime Lester said...

Sounds like that movie, Sorority Row I think? Maybe minus the horror, ghosty aspect of it. I don't know if this book is for me, but I do know about guilt (nothing quite as major as being responsible for the death of someone thank goodness) and the struggle of trying to let it go. Thanks for reviewing a book that is completely outside of my element and broadening my horizon!