13 December 2012
Series: No, standalone
UK Publisher: Quercus
UK Release date: December 2011
Genre: YA, thriller
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... (Goodreads)
Having read Entangled, I was really excited to start Torn. I just adore Cat Clarke’s writing style and Torn wasn't a disappointment. It’s so fluid and natural, that reading Alice’s story was like reading it straight from her head, with every little detail, fear and thought put across as if it was real and happening right there and then. Even though the story deals with de-ath and grief, it’s done in a way that is gripping, terrifying and yet interesting. Every character reacts differently; some internalise the grief and let it overwhelm them, some use it to their advantage and others are consumed by guilt.
The plot was infused with a palpable sense of dread, guilt and suspense. At the start its obvious something had gone wrong on the girls’ trip to Scotland, but it took a while to get the full story. When I found out what happened I really felt Alice’s dread and paranoia, and the occasional shocking chapter ending kept me hooked. Despite how well the story was written the plot was pretty straight forward, so even though I expected something spectacular to happen at the end, it didn't. However I think the focus of the story was meant to be more on the after effects of the trip and the emotional journey Alice goes through.
I’m in two minds about Alice’s part in the plot. On one hand I felt bad for her because she got caught up in events that weren’t her doing and were beyond her control. But whilst I could understand why she kept quiet, there was also something morally wrong about it. The dilemma of what to do and how to respond in a terrible situation like Alice’s was certainly thought provoking and suspenseful.
I also have to say that I love the way Cat Clarke writes characters. Not perfect characters, but ones with flaws, like real people. Alice is not as confident or as brave as she would like to be, she isn’t popular and she’s self conscious about her weight. But I liked these things about Alice, because I could relate to them. At some points, yes I wanted to shake Alice out of her fear, but I could also completely sympathise with her. Her inner monologue perfectly betrayed all her inner most thoughts, feelings, fears and doubts.
Torn is a thought provoking, heart-in-mouth story of one girl’s emotional journey following the death of a classmate.