Grace is just your average teenager; bored of school, falling out with friends, falling in love with strangers, until one day when she wakes up in a white room with no clue how she got there.
On the table in the room lie pens and paper, so everyday Grace gets up and writes, writing about her life before the white room and, bit by bit, page by page, her life begins to untangle.
Entangled is a very well-written tale about growing up in pain. I am always reticent to read stories about angsty teenage life, because more often than not the author writes it from the point of view of an adult, and you often feel like they are almost looking down on the actions of the teenager. In contrast, Cat Clarke writes Grace with incredible realism; her thoughts are very much thoughts a teenager would have. The inflections with which she talks are exactly how a teenager might talk. It is because of this that we are able to see the world through Grace’s eyes, and understand her emotions and actions.
She is an incredibly conflicted character and I realised halfway through that even though she has flaws and sides to her personality which wouldn’t traditionally lend themselves to a likeable character, I nearly always found myself on her side. Once again, this is down to Clarke’s ingenuity. There are many books written about teenage life, but what makes this one difference is that we are reading about it from the point of view of a character who has already reached the end of the story. Everything we learn about Grace’s life we learn after she has lived through the end, and as a result we get a different perspective, where she is able to see the moments where she was in the wrong and is able to acknowledge that, making for a refreshingly truthful narrative.
The story itself is slightly predictable, but I think a lot of that was probably intentional, again due to the narrator’s perspective. There are many clues along the way, meaning you come to the conclusion long before Grace lives it, and it’s almost as if Clarke wanted that to be the case, possibly, again, so that we would side with Grace in spite of her actions, knowing full well she was headed for more pain.
Overrall, this is an incredibly insightful take on teenage life, written from a unique perspective that sets it apart from the rest.
Entangled is the first in a series of books I will be reading in preparation for YA Shot this October. YA Shot is a day-long conference taking place in Uxbridge, England on October 28th and will see nearly 70 authors from the Young Adult and Middle Grade genres, including Cat Clarke, involved in discussions, talks and signings. For more information, click here.