Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Review of 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?

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.

When I saw the summary for Entangled, it looked it could go one of two ways: be a truly fantastic read, or just fall kind of flat. Entangled drew me in right away and kept me up late reading at night. Unfortunately, I think the only reason I read all the way to the end was because I wanted to know what happened, not because I cared about the characters.

This is the story of our narrator, 17-year-old girl named Grace who falls in love while everything else in her life seems to be falling apart and sadly, she was my least favorite aspect of this novel. The plot of this book has two parts initially: there are Grace’s reflections on the events of the past months, and the story of her time in the white room. I was able to guess what was going on in the former during the first 100 pages, but was unsatisfied how Clarke ended the latter part of the plot. I applaud Clarke for the unique premise behind the white room. However, I felt like stylistically, Clarke was trying to go outside the box. While her writing showed real potential to me, it and the bizarre premise tied together led to inadequate explanations.

Grace felt like a main character who was there to make a point about self-destructive behaviors, making it hard for her to like. She had few passions or interests of her own. One of my biggest problems with Grace was that it felt like she was constantly out drinking. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with drinking in young adult literature, but when a character does something over and over again I find myself getting frustrated with him or her. Grace would often say something that could have been insightful in another context and then just be like, “Whatever, I’m wasted,” which kind of ruined the moment and made it hard for me to take Grace’s narrative voice seriously. Have you ever been at a party and had a crush approach you, only to realize moments later that they are drunk as a skunk and not actually that into you? It was like one of those moments. As an aside, this book has tons of British slang, which I wouldn’t have understood if I hadn’t spent a year in England, so be aware of that should you decide to pick this one up.

Entangled is an interesting and engrossing read, but not necessarily an enjoyable read. Clarke is an intriguing writer, and I would happily pick up another novel by her. This particular story just wasn’t for me.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through Star Book Tours.

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