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 table, pens and paper – and no clue how she got there. 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 dangerous secrets, intense friendships and electrifying attraction.
Entangled is due to be published by Quercus on 6th January 2011. It is Cat Clarke’s debut young adult novel. I honestly didn’t think I would end up liking this novel when I first picked it up. I don’t usually like young adult novels about relationships and love because usually they just end up sounding a bit cheesy. However, this novel is about so much more than just the relationship between Nat and Grace. It’s about a young girl struggling to cope with the death of her father, her strained relationship with her mother, and her only real friend in the world – Sal.
I must start off by saying there were times when I really disliked Grace as a character – her voice was that of a typical teenager which just came across as highly annoying to me, and she is selfish & thoughtless throughout the entire story. At times I felt more sorry for Sal and found her more of a likeable character, if a little two-dimensional. I don’t want to say too much because Entangled is a story that slowly unfolds and has countless twists in its plot. However, I have to admit that I figured out what was coming from almost the very beginning. This didn’t necessarily ruin the story for me though, as I did find myself enjoying the build-up & the suspense. I read it within the space of two/three days because I could hardly put it down.
Another thing that must be said is that this novel is not for the younger teens. It deals with the issues of self-harming and has a lot of sexual scenes throughout. There is something about the way authors these days write about self-harm that really grates on me. It ends up being portrayed as something ‘typical’ of distraught teens – it often sounds like a cry for attention when really it’s nothing of the sort. Clarke manages to pull it off sometimes throughout the book, but not every time for me. I wanted darker descriptions – I wanted to really get inside Grace’s mind as she’s doing it and I just didn’t feel like I was. The descriptions used were often a little stale and lacking in originality.
I quite liked the way it was written almost like a journal, where Grace flicks between memories of her past and her present state of being trapped in a room by a mysterious man named Ethan. I’m not sure if I liked the inclusion of Ethan in the story or not. In some ways I found him a bit unnecessary. I worked out his role in the story about half way through and suddenly he wasn’t that interesting any more.
Let me finish by saying that despite this being a bit of a mixed review, I do think Entangled was a definite page-turner. The plot was gripping and the way it slowly unfolded was well-written by Clarke, and a great attempt for her first novel. It’s refreshing to read something new for young adults that isn’t paranormal in any way but just deals with human relationships. Well worth a read!
My Rating: ***