Book review: Torn by Cat Clarke

Torn is the second novel by Cat Clarke. It was published by Quercus on 22nd December 2011 and the book is 384 pages long.
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…

What I thought
I LOVED Cat Clarke’s début novel, Entangled so when I found out about her next release, I couldn’t wait to read that either.
Cat Clarke has an amazing ability to get into the head of teenage girls and write exactly what they are feeling/ have felt at some point or another. School is not an easy place for any teenager and girls especially can be really bitchy and cruel. The teenagers in Torn are real – beyond belief. What I love so much about Clarke’s writing is that she isn’t afraid to say exactly how things and she doesn’t shy away from real issues. In this book, the issue tackled is bullying and how people deal with being bulled/ what the bullies themselves deal with. It isn’t very often that you see the story of things like this from both sides and I liked being able to form a complete opinion about the people in questions.
As the main character, I really liked Alice. I probably shouldn’t have though. Alice is pretty damn messed up, not only because of what happens on that school trip but also other things that have happened in her life. Because of this, I couldn’t help but empathise with her, slightly understand why she was feeling a certain way or why she would think certain things. I could completely feel Alice’s guilt over what happened and why she was so undecided about how to feel in regards to what happened.
Other characters were just as good. From Cass, Polly and Rae who are in on everything with Alice to Tara, the bully. Tara is where the different sides of characters comes in. While I really wanted to smack Tara round the face (multiple times) but then a few minutes later, I kind of wanted to hug her. Really, who has the ability to write about the biggest bitch in the world that you also want to hug?! I’m sure if Tara had been in my school though I wouldn’t have wanted to hug her, much like 99% of the other girls she did go to school with.
As for the story, it was gripping, thrilling and pretty damn nasty at times but I loved that. It takes no time at all for the story to get going, diving right into what happened on that school trip. Part way through, I was really disappointed and thought that everything had been explained way too early but then I realised just how much more there was to it. It wasn’t just about what happened on that trip. It was about what happens after, what happened before and everything in-between. There are plenty of twists to keep you guessing and wanting to read as fast as possible to figure out what is really going on.
Torn reminded me of a mix between I Know What You Did Last Summer and Jawbreaker – two great films all mashed together in one book! While I didn’t like it quite as much as I did Entangled, it is still bloody good!!

2 thoughts on “Book review: Torn by Cat Clarke

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