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 (from Goodreads.com)
I went into Entangled not really knowing all that much about it. I wasn’t even sure what genre it was…contemporary or paranormal? I’d read a vague and intriguing synopsis and knew I really wanted to read it. This was completely the best way to go into this book as reading it was every bit a journey as its troubled protagonist’s, 17 year old Grace.
The book starts with Grace as she plans to end her life, but at the last minute a mysterious boy, Ethan shows up. Then she wakes up a prisoner in a white room with nothing but a bed, table and paper and pens. Ethan comes and goes but remains every bit as mysterious and it’s up to Grace to work out through writing down the tangled mess of her life who he is, why she is here and discover the truth she has been hiding from herself.
And that’s as much as I’m going to tell you, because to say anymore would spoil the book and everyone should have this on his or her wish list for 2011. What I will say is that Cat Clarke’s Entangled is one of the most haunting and stunning books I have read, provoking every possible emotion in me.
Told from a first person point of view from Grace, the author takes the brave step of making her unlikeable. Her behaviour as she tells us about the past which lead her to this point is the type that evokes disgust in many. She’s self destructive in the extreme and at first some may find it difficult to feel much sympathy for her, but as we delve deeper into her broken life and we see how vulnerable she really is, she emerges as a victim of her circumstances. Everyone knows a Grace, has probably sneered and never considered why they behave the way they do, how much they may be hurting. For me it was a little closer to home, and I saw a tiny bit of myself as a teenager. In some ways reading from Grace was like going back in time, and Cat Clarke completely gets the neediness, paranoia, feelings of self-loathing and self-harm I remember experiencing. It sounds a cliché to say she was believable and real, but it’s scarily true. Even those who can’t directly relate to Grace will recognise some of her feelings or be able to experience them through Clarke’s fantastic ability to convey them onto the page, and will certainly take away a greater understanding of people from this book.
The mystery of Ethan and the white room remain as such throughout the book. I came up with many different theories while reading, none of which ended up correct but along with Grace’s voice kept me turning pages and unable to leave until I’d finished. The ending is somewhat ambiguous and definitely open to interpretation. I know what I think and I’m sure others have different ideas. I loved this, it wasn’t annoyingly open and unresolved, and it allows you to really think. I went to bed last night thinking about it and woke up again this morning thinking about it. Whatever your interpretation though, one thing I can guarantee is that it will leave you with tears. It’s tragic, but beautifully hopeful for the future.
I’ve read some amazing books this year, and Entangled is up there with the best of them. I couldn’t put it down and read all 370 pages in one sitting, something I haven’t done for a while. I won’t forget this book and can’t wait to see what Cat Clarke writes next. The only word of caution I have is that with some explicit and graphic scenes it probably isn’t suited to a younger audience and I would hesitate to give it to under thirteen’s. Apart from that I can’t recommend this book enough.
Published January 2011 by Quercus
Thanks to the publishers for sending me an ARC of this book for review.