Sunday, 20 January 2013

Undone by Cat Clarke

Undone
Pages 502
Published on 31st January 2013 by Quercus
I miss Kai more than I can say. It's not something that can be put into words; it's too big. There is a gaping black hole in my life and it's all that I can do not to get sucked into it and disappear forever. He meant everything to me. It sounds like an exaggeration, but it's really not.
Goodreads Summary
Jem Halliday is in love with her gay best friend. Not exactly ideal, but she's learning to live with it.
Then the unspeakable happens. Kai is outed online ... and he kills himself.
Jem knows nothing she can say or do will bring him back. But she wants to know who was responsible. And she wants to take them down.
*******
This book wasn't what I was expecting. I didn't think I would be so drawn into the story that I would get frustrated when I had to put it down. I didn't think I would hold my breath as the truth came out. I didn't think I would cry at the end. And I seriously never imagined that the book would stay with me after I had read it. But it did. All those things listed, I find this book guilty of.
The characters were real; with all their faults lurking near the surface for you to uncover. I loved Kai, even though he has a minimal role in this book, his essence was beautiful and through the letters that he left Jem to help her move on with her life, his soul warms the cold, heartless tragedy that unravels. His heart was always in the right place, just some characters never really saw him for what he was.
Jem is completely heartbroken by the death of her friend, because she loved him like no other. He was her world and it takes his death to change her life. Some might consider that her life improved as she changes from her secular existence to finally being part of a group of friends,  and I hoped that she might continue on this path. But Jem had a lot of anger inside her that needed to be defused. She did what she had to do. The popular kids didn't turn out to be as bad as Jem believed them to be; they had feelings and strong emotions running through them too.
I loved the way the story unfolded. The intermittent letters from Kai to Jem, were a poignant addition to the story. He was still with Jem, even though he wasn't.
This book has shocking moments within it, elements that were often difficult to read. Exposed feelings rubbed raw by situations and accusations. There are passages that relate to sex and the book deals with the difficulties in expressing your sexuality while in your teens. I really think the author dealt with this well, highlighting the issues that many teenagers face. I did wonder if the sexual content may nudge this book slightly into the NA bracket, but as I'm not an expert on this I can't clarify that.
I will be honest and admit that I worked out who was responsible quite early on but Cat Clarke still whipped the rug from beneath me with the ending of this book.
I really do think Cat Clarke gets teenagers. If I didn't know better, I would say she was secretly one, but I know that not to be true. She captures their voice with such authenticity and intensity, you too would believe she was a sixteen year old girl.
This is a poignant tale that shows how different things could have been, if society wasn't so hung up on people's sexuality. If everyone could just love who they wanted to, then situations like this would never arise. This book was truly outstanding; it will draw on your emotions and leave you feeling spent. I think the title not only refers to the characters but the readers as well, you will truly feel undone by the last line of this book. It reminded me of Heart-Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne and definitely deserves the same recognition. Most definitely her best novel yet.
Cat Clarke has quickly established herself as a YA author to be reckoned with. I truly can't wait to see what she writes next

3 comments:

  1. I've heard great things about Undone but I'm a little scared to read it! I have Entangled to read as well

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  2. I completely agree that Cat writes such amazingly believable and real teenage characters! i can't wait to read this - glad to hear it's as good as I hoped :)

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  3. I also love Cat's writing and I'm hearing so many great things about Undone now too - I can't wait to be able to get my hands on a copy :D

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