My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Heart-stoppingly tense and palpably taut, “Torn” by Cat Clarke is outstanding.
Told in a deceptively simple first person style, our narrator Alice recounts what led to the death of one of her schoolmates. The central event – the pivotal incident of “Torn” – turns out to be a moment which changes all their lives forever.
This is the first book I’ve read by Cat Clarke and it won’t be the last. “Torn” redefines pacy, keeping the pressure on from the first page straight through to the last. Clarke also manages to keep our sympathies shifting from character to character, from persecuted girl to bitchy girl to best friend to teacher. It’s a fine art in a book of under 200 pages to pack in this much light and shade to your characters and Clarke achieves it. And more. She brings a rounded definition to what could be the most superficial of characters and she does it so bloody well.
This was a book that I couldn’t put down. Genuinely.
“Torn” is breathless. It’s a tight, tense and twisty psychological thriller that transcends what YA can do. And that last little moment of it, that quiet little moment at the end of all that has gone on, is just a stomach punch which underlines the brilliance of this book.