Torn – Cat Clarke

“A funeral without a body is like a wedding without a bride. Or a groom.
Except this isn’t officially a funeral – it’s a memorial service. Instead of a coffin there’s an easel with a huge photo. She looks pretty. Hopeful, even. “
With Alice and her best friend Cass get lumbered in a cabin with Polly the social outcast, Emo kid Rae and Tara – queen bitch – they aren’t exactly happy about it. Rae isn’t too bad, she mainly just sticks her headphones in and ignores them, Polly on the other hand is weird and follows Tara like a puppy. Then there’s Tara herself, the top rank on the social ladder is not happy that she’s been separated from her entourage and to make up for it shes being extra bitchy. Cass decides to teach her a lesson and since Tara has humiliated Polly, Polly is definitely ready to be Cass’ sidekick. Alice doesn’t feel easy about what’s going down but understands the need for it… until it goes a bit too far and the girls end up with death on their conscience.

I fell for Cat Clarke in a big way after I read Entangled so I knew that I had to get my hands on Torn as soon as physically possible. I bought it as soon as I could and when it arrived it was looking at me begging me to read it whilst I finished the book I’d just started. I picked it up, delved into it head first and barely came out for air. Let me tell you this, I loved every minute I was under!
Torn is not an easy read, it’s not fluffy and light, its hard hitting and shows just how far a practical joke can be pushed. Alice and the three other girls, have to deal with the fact that Tara is dead and they had something to do with it all. The reader is thrown into the story after the actually events of the school trip in which Tara dies and for the first couple of pages you don’t know its Tara that’s died, it is obviously from the blurb on the back though so I’m not spoiling anything. The events of the trip, Alice’s life and her relationships with the others, all unfold throughout the books, it’s in no way linear but it works so well with Alice recalling events in the past to the reader as she recalls some version of events to other characters. I loved that as it really sat me down in the story with those characters, I could hear Alice’s voice in my head and I could feel her there next to me. Cat Clarke has an awesome, and creepy, style of writing!
Alice has had to deal with a lot in her past and you quickly find out about some of those things. Tara wasn’t just a bitch from school, she was more than that and when Alice starts to get close to Tara’s brother, Jack, you start to understand more and more about Tara and Alice’s relationship. I won’t go into detail but I loved what that added to the story.
The characterisation in Torn is bloody fantastic. Alice is incredible and I could relate to her a lot, by way of her school social ranking anyway. I got the impression that she was one of those girls who everyone knew, and everyone said hi to (except the really popular girls) but she only had one really close friend. I am a lot like that and I understood her. I also loved her relationship with her Dad and her dad’s character was amazing. He is everything a dad should be, he reminded me of my own, and especially the hugs that the two characters share, daddy hugs are the best!
Then there was Cass, Cass was a really interesting character, she spent that much time with her protective shell placed firmly around her that not even her best friend stopped to think about her. I don’t blame Alice in anyway, Cass is the tough girl, the hard nut with 3 brothers and who’s sports crazy, so you kind of expect her to act like a guy and get over everything. I loved her for what she was but that’s all I’m going to say! Polly was also a fantastic character, if anyone has seen Two and A Half Men and read this book then you’ll understand why I say this; Polly reminds me of Rose. Anyway, that won’t make sense if you haven’t seen the show or read the book… Polly reminded me of a crazy sane person, she was all calm and collective and I honestly thought she was going to pop, she is the worst type of person too as she will go along with everything and not actually do anything so she can never be associated with anything. It’s hard to explain but basically she’s quiet and as Alice says, always watching.
Last but not least for the characters I’m going to mention by name… Jack, Jack is obsessed with dinosaurs… need I say anymore?!?! I’m sure I don’t need to but basically, he’s sexy, emotional in a good way (or at least as good a way as you can be when your sister has just died), plays in a band, dresses well and is absolutely lovely. I wanted to pick him up, put him in my pocket and take him to my grandma!
I think I’ve probably rambled enough so I’m going to try and sum Torn up in a couple of sentences… It’s a bloody brilliant thriller which will have you sitting on the edge of your seat and more than a few times make you gasp in surprise and horror. It’s about death, practical jokes, hierarchies, relationships and where being an absolute bitch can get you. I loved every second of it and I think many others will too!
Torn was released on December 22nd 2011 by Quercus books. It is Cat Clarke’s second novel, the first being equally as mind-blowing. My copy was purchased myself through Amazon.


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