Review: Entangled by Cat Clarke

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  • Author: Cat Clarke
  • Published: January 6th 2011
  • Reviewed: October 11th 2011
  • Tags: Young Adult | Dark | Mystery |
  • Series | Standalone
  • Overall Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

YA author Cat Clarke lives in Edinburgh, Scotland. She is an author i had never heard of, evidently because Entangled was her debut novel…and what a way to announce her arrival. This novel has to be one of the most unforgettable and gripping stories i’ve ever read.

So, What’s it about?
Seventeen year old Grace wakes up imprisoned in a pristine white room and unsure of how she got there or why. Her captor, the enigmatic character that is Ethan hasn’t harmed her-yet, if anything- and regularly brings her food, his only request is that she sits and writes about her life.
Reluctant at first to obey Ethan, Grace holds off until finally three days into her abduction she sits at the table provided in her ‘cell’ and chooses one of the many pens to begin her story, which she tried hard to forget.

Things begin to unravel and you learn all about her past, her relationships and the close people in her life; best friend Sal, of whom she’s fiercely loyal to, boyfriend Nat, who she loves intensely and it’s this love that encourages her to start over her life positively, her struggling mother and the reasons for her father’s absence.
This is undoubtedly a compelling and powerful debut by Clarke that forces you to feel an array of emotions, whether you want to or not. Often uncomfortable and quite dark, the topics covered are touched upon tactfully and without going too far; really explore the situations Grace finds herself in, or causes herself.
The character Grace (and narrator of the novel) is -to put it frankly- a mess! From a broken home and with a broken heart, Grace drinks alcohol regularly and sleeps with any boys (until her relationship develops with Nat) to escape reality and massage her self-esteem, not knowing another way to. She isn’t likeable all the time, her attitude can be quite full on and you ask yourself whether the girl has any morals at all. But in saying that, it’s incredibly realistic.
Despite that and the frustration it brings, you learn to sympathise and above all want to reach inside the book, cuddle her and protect her from herself.
With so many emotions caught up in her own head she strives for a release and that unfortunately comes as her self-harming, also a way for her to feel somewhat in control of her life.
The other characters Sal and Nat have likeable qualities and you do find yourself feeling sorry for them at times when Grace takes things too far. However, as the story goes on I became infuriated by the two, while they at first each seem great people for Grace to have in her life, it soon becomes apparent that as Grace begins on her journey to happiness the two of them almost can’t help destroying that.

Grace gets a taste for happiness, she’s almost there…but then it blows up in her face in the worst way imaginable and hits her harder, confirming her theory that there is no hope for happiness. (Don’t worry-this isn’t a spoiler)

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Whilst engrossed in the story of her life as Grace writes, you’re often reminded of where she is as chapters start with Day three, Day thirteen etc and you can’t help wonder if she’ll ever be released, who exactly the mysterious Ethan is and why he wants her to write about her life.
There are theories you come up with in your head and I have to say one of mine was correct, but that doesn’t take away the tension or build up.
Entangled really was a shock to my system and the most emotion-stirring book I have read since A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer. I was left reeling for days. Though you’d usually want a book leaving you in a state of euphoria, one in-between those that shakes things up a bit can do some good. Any strong reaction is a good reaction, right? Though I won’t be reading it again, it is definitely an unforgettable book and one to read at least once.
As a YA read, Entangled is certainly not for a really young audience. The content can be harsh; self-harming, suicide, violence, sex, alcohol misuse etc. That in mind, don’t worry that these topics are glamourised in any way. If anything it would encourage a young reader to hold on tight to their morals and think everything through.
Summary:
This novel definitely deserves five stars. Unforgettable books do.
Though it can be quite dark and touch on subjects some people may not feel overly comfortable reading about, i feel it aims to highlight the waste of a teenage life. Cat Clarke really deserves some recognition for this. Her second novel Torn is set to be released on the 22nd of December 2011.
Prepare some tissues, it’s an emotional read…

This review was posted on my old blog & Goodreads on Oct 11, 2011. Re-read chapters to jog my mind and make comparisons to another book. Review untouched other than this part and the GIF.

FYI, Entangled is a YA read, the ‘dark’ elements in this don’t come close to the Adult books featured on here. It’s still controversial in its own right, however. 

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Synopsis:

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.

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