Sunday, January 2, 2011

Review: Entangled by Cat Clarke

Entangled
Author: Cat Clarke
Publisher: Quercus
Series: N/A
Pages: 374
Genre: Fiction
Release Date: January 6, 2011
How Received: Star Book Tours

SummaryThe same questions whirl round and round in my head:
What does he want from me?
How could I have let this happen?
AM I GOING TO DIE?

17-year-old Grace wakes up in a white room, with a table, pens and paper – and no clue how she got there.

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 unraveling 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?

My Thoughts:
Entangled is one of those books that truly make you think, drawing you out of your shell to become engaged and interpret things in your own way. It’s intense, harrowing, and very, very dark. During the entire book, there were a lot of things missing and we’re forced to stumble along with Grace as she figures out how she got where she was, and why.

Honestly, the connection I made with Grace transcends me being a mere reader and Grace being a fictional depiction of a teenager. I felt like the Grace I was reading about was an exact replica of me, minus all the wild sex she was having with “randoms”. I know I say that a lot, but I’m serious with this one: Grace and I both lost our dads (hers is more extreme, admittedly), we both used to cut, we had almost identical thoughts – the list goes on. I became more engrossed into the story because I could empathize with Grace. She is such a complex character that I’m sure I could spend my entire review just talking about her.

Grace had so many dimensions to her, yet she never once went out of character. While she got great grades and puts on a happy front for everyone, she went into this increasingly self-destructive spiral that made me feel helpless once it began. She is so realistically believable that it almost hurt. Grace is one of those teenagers: the ones that look perfectly normal, possibly happy, even, and no one could know that there is so much more going on with her. Hardly anyone, without reading her story, will ever look at this girl in public and want to get to know the lonely soul that I know resides within her. It’s those teenagers that get overlooked the most, the ones that think their lives are worth nothing, and the ones who feel compelled to end it all. However, despite the grimness of Grace’s character, she’s also very witty and it made great comic relief for all of the other depressing times.

The only problem I had with Grace was how oblivious she was. Perhaps it was just me, being raised as a skeptic and seeing the worst in people, but I had guessed what would happen from the very moment that there was the smallest sign. I counted other moments that would clue her—and us—in towards the end (***I’m sure all the people reading our tour copy will get sick of reading all my “uh-oh!’s” I wrote down), but Grace never saw what was in front of her. Sure, it’s realistic because it’s difficult to see bad things in people you know, love, and trust, but Grace was a little too oblivious.

The story itself was... freaking depressing, actually. The title of the book is so appropriate, because I could feel Grace’s life tangling up. I kept getting these overwhelmed feelings – the ones where everything has basically gone to shit and you can’t possibly see any way out of it without cutting the problems completely (no pun intended). I knew, somewhere at the ¼ point of the book, that the book was going to be depressing as hell. I knew that I’d probably cry and get swept up into an emotional whirlwind. And I did. When everything culminated together and things were revealed, I cried. I had seen it coming, but I still wished, dreaded, hoped that it wouldn’t be what I had thought. It was.

But the [actual] ending was the opposite: it was hopeful. I was seriously cheering Grace (and Devon, I might add!) on once Ethan ceased to exist. That meant there was a sliver of hope that Grace would be okay and that she would recover from all of the crap that piled onto her plate. And although I wish we had more to the ending (it was one of those, “I’ll let the readers imagination take a whack at it” type of endings), it was peaceful. It made me happy. It made me cry (I’ve been in the exact situation Grace was in, once upon a time), but there was hope.

Cover Musings: So, so, sooo gorgeous. Tons of cover lust. This cover is what made me sign up for the tour. I’m SO glad I did, so I have a lot to thank this cover for!

Memorable Quotes:
I’m not sure how I feel about the yes-you-really-were-minutes-away-from-topping-yourself thing now. But I’m not ready to examine feelings too closely. Not yet. It’s like I have a bandage wrapped round me. I sort of know why it’s there, but if I unravel it and actually see the festering wound underneath, all yellow and oozy, I may just lose my mind. (pg. 10)
It was a pretty normal night. No more depressed than any other day. That’s the thing: I was never happy, not really. Kind of just existed from day to day, on a weird plateau of feeling nothingness. That’s not to say I didn’t feel happy at times – of course I did. But they were fleeting moments, gone before I could even begin to appreciate them. (pg. 31-32)
To me, the scars are obvious. They stand out like they’re screaming, ‘Look at her! Look at what this freak does to herself!’
It’s more like a whisper though, to anyone who’s listening. (pg. 33)
‘I’m not sure. It’s hard. It hurts... to think about things.’
Ethan stared at me for a few seconds. ‘Maybe hurt isn’t always a bad thing.’ (pg. 84)
It felt like what Sal had said was now tattooed on my brain... some freak who cuts herself in a pathetic attempt to get sympathy from people. Each of those words cut deeper than a blade ever could. (pg. 103)
Why am I the way I am? What a weird question. Why is anyone the way they are? Nature or nurture? A bit of both? Maybe for some people it’s neither. Maybe they were supposed to turn out a certain way, but then something terrible happened. And maybe nothing was ever the same again. Maybe. (pg. 28)
It’s when I’m alone that the doubt sets in. It’s been that way for years. As long as there are people around, I can pretend that everything’s OK. But I need that audience to pretend for, otherwise it doesn’t work. Alone, I’m not that easy to fool.
It’s not that I mind being alone, not really. I can distract myself with silly fantasies and daydreams for hours, but in the end it always comes back to me. That’s what I’m left with: just me. And that’s what scares me more than anything. Me. The thoughts I try to purge by cutting. The memories that seem to get louder and brighter the harder I try to forget. The whys and what ifs. (pg. 214-215)
Questions. Lots of questions, all fighting for my attention. I hid from them under the duvet, but they seeped in somehow. Drip-drip-dripping poison into my head.
Drip. How could they do this to me? That’s what people do. Hurt. (pg. 352)
And I try and I try and...
Nothing.
But I’ll try again. Tomorrow, and the next day, and the next.
I won’t give up.
I won’t ever give up. (pg. 372)

Overall Thoughts/Final Comments: There are those books that you absolutely love and recommend to your friends. Then there are those books that you absolutely love and recommend to your friends because they changed your life or affected you in some profound way. The ones that leave their imprint on your heart and stay on your mind weeks, months, years after you’ve read them. Entangled was one of those books, for me. It was definitely NOT a lighthearted read – it was depressing and made me cry, but I was so engrossed into the story that I stayed up until 3-freaking-AM reading it. And the book goes beyond that, because it delivers a great message: despite all of the entanglements and troubles you have in life, there is always hope that it will get better.

I kind of wish I could keep the copy from the tour – reading Entangled with all of the prior tour participants’ comments was fun and truly felt interactive.

Rating: 5/5

**I received this ARC from Star Book Tours. Thank you Katelyn!
***Quercus Publishing donated this ARC to Star Book Tours in what they're calling Artwork My ARC Tour. It's where the participants in the tour can write things down on the ARC copy, or highlight their favorite passages, doodle and draw images, put post it notes, and whatever else on the ARC copy. This is what I'm talking about when I mention things like reading other participants' comments, or writing "uh-oh's" at different places, etc. 

22 comments:

Jen Daiker said...

The cover is gorgeous!!! I loved your review, very detailed. I could tell this read took you on an even deeper journey than just a reader/character relationship. It was nice to see. I haven't seen that in awhile.

Looking forward to snagging a copy!

Kat said...

I like reading books which take you into a deeper experience than the typical 'light'. fun reads. Entangled is at the top of my list, and I'm so glad to hear that it surpassed expectations for you. This is actually the first review of it I've read, but I'll definitely be requesting on an ARC tour. :)

Erika said...

Beautiful review! I adore those books that are dark and painful- most of the time they leave the biggest imprint, and the hope they carry, hidden within their pages, resonates more than the typical contemporary novel. I will definitely get myself a copy of this book.

Literature for Lunch said...

What a powerful review - it is sometimes overwhelming when you relate so deeply to a character. You write so beautifully about both the book and your own experiences. I love the message of the book - that things get better, there is hope. Loved this - I love all of your reviews but I think this is the best yet. :)

Jenny said...

Wow, I had no idea this one was so dark! Really beautiful review Kristina, I'm definitely more interested in this on now after reading your thoughts. Glad to know it ends with a little bit of light after all the darkness, it's nice to know that going in so I have something to hold on to through all the depressing moments:)

Anna said...

So happy you loved it, even though it was, you know, depressing. Hahaha...but I've been Cover Lovin' this one for ages. So glad to know the story holds up to my expectations!

Jen the bibliophile said...

Okay, I've been really really wondering about this book. I didn't know exactly what to expect. Loved the review (as always). Grace sounds like someone I could understand. And you know what I love about your review? Sometimes, I need a book that will make me cry. Not just a bit teary eyed, but weep. I don't know why, maybe I have pent up emotions that must be released, or maybe it's just because I'm female. Either way, this one I'm excited for!

Jen
In the Closet With a Bibliophile
For The L♥ve of Reading

Kelly said...

Awesome review. I've had this book on my TBR list for a while. I can't wait to read it.

Aylee said...

Wow, this sounds amazing and... dark. I'll have to add it to my TBR. Thanks for the review.

Kristina Barnes♥ said...

Whoa, I woke up and saw how many comments I got on this review without even trying, and was totally blown away. I'm glad because this is one of those books that you WANT everyone to read about and add to their TBR. So thank you everyone who made my day by commenting. ♥



Jen Daiker: I know, isn't it?! :) I initially picked up the book just because of the cover. I had no idea what I was getting into! :P I highly, highly recommend you snag a copy as soon as you can!

Kat: Same here. I haven't read one of those "deeper experience" books for a while, so getting into Entangled was great. If there was one book I'd really recommend to anyone to read this year, Entangled would be it. :)

Erika: Thank you! I adore those books, as well, because they're painful, real, and raw. And you're right - books like these leave their biggest imprint than others. That's definitely what happened with me. :)

Jen: Aw, Jen, thank you so much. Because I felt for this book on such a profound level, I think that's one of the best compliments I've received yet. When you connect to something so significantly, you want it to do well, and that's definitely what I want this book to do. If I could hand out copies of this book to my old high school, I would.

Jenny: I had no idea, either! I mean, I sort of guessed it would be depressing on some level, but I didn't anticipate how dark it would be! The ending was one of my favorite endings of all time. It gives the reader leeway to imagine what happened with Grace, but it also leads you into the direction she probably took at the end. But after all the crap Grace endured, you can't help but cheer her on. :)

Anna: I've been cover lovin' this one also! :) It's so gorgeous. You should definitely read it when you get the chance! ♥

Jen: This book definitely made me weep. I couldn't sleep after I had read this because it affected me that much. The ending made me cry because 1) it's freaking depressing as hell, and 2) it's hopeful. I kind of want to talk to someone about the ending, but it'd spoil something. But the very last page is one of the most powerful pages I've ever read. I loved it. :) I do hope you read it, Jen. ♥

Kelly: Thanks - you should definitely get this book! I can't recommend it enough!

Aylee: It's very dark. Like so-screwed-up-you-have-no-idea-how-it-gets-better dark. But it also ends on a light, hopeful note. :) I hope you get a chance to read it!

Page (One Book At A Time) said...

I loved your review. You said a lot of things that I couldn't put into words in my review.
Plus, I like how you felt you could identify with Grace (that's not a happy thought for me). I didn't identify with her, but felt her pain. I saw the signs as well and wished everyone was more aware of what was going on around them.

Kristina Barnes♥ said...

Hi Page! I loved all of the things you wrote down on our ARC copy. :)

Identifying with Grace isn't a happy thought. I'm okay now, but I was where she was once and it was one of the most horrible feelings in the world. I can understand why she did what she did. I wish I could have shook Grace or something, but she was in love. Love blinds people. Devon was right in front of her, trying to tell her the truth, but she turned a blind eye. It was really disheartening to read about. :(

JessiKay89 said...

What a beautiful review! I love genuine, heart-felt reviews like this almost as much as I love genuine, heart-felt books! I'm really loving the sound of this book, and I'm really loving the cover. I'll need to pick up a copy of this when it's released, for sure.

Cass (Words on Paper) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cass (Words on Paper) said...

Amazing review! I feel like I NEED to read this. I love realistic novels that are edgy and true to life. Can't wait to pick up a copy.

Lacey Devlin said...

Fantastic review! I know I want to read it :) It really is an incredible cover.

Thanks for stopping by the blog and I hope you have an amazing 2011 too!

Marie Simas said...

I love this review, and the book cover is fantastic. But I have to say that I'm wary about starting a book like this-- it sounds emotionally draining and I use reading to escape reality, not the other way around. It's the same reason I never went to see the movie "Precious" even though I really wanted to-- that type of thing stays with me for weeks, sometimes months.

I really want to read this-- the book sounds fantastic, but I have to seriously think about it.

Nic @ Irresistible Reads said...

Awesome review. Sounds like the kind of book that gets under your skin. So glad you loved it as I have already pre-ordered a copy of this. I must make sure I get a box of tissues before I start reading!

Brodie said...

One word: WOW. Not just the book, but your review too. This sounds like such an amazing read. I'd seen the cover around a fair bit and thought it was gorgeous but surprisingly this is the first time I've read anything about it. I am absolutely going to check this out when it's released, solely on what you've said about. I'll blame you when I'm crying my eyes out at the end!

Emi said...

Now I understand a bit more about why you were gushing about how good this book was over the holiday. I really want to read it now. Books that get under your skin are powerful things. But as a heads up, if I cry I'm blaming you. In this case, the author shall take no responsibility for writing an awesome book. (lol, just kidding. Authors who can make readers feel that attached to a book are epic and deserve all the credit that they can get!)

Kristina Barnes♥ said...

Jessi: Aw, well thank you! It's very obvious that I loved and connected with this book, so your comment made me really happy! :)

Cass: You do NEED to read this! I think you might like it. :) The realism in this book was nuts. In a good way! All of the characters and the actions they did were totally believable. :)

Lacey: Isn't it? That cover is gorgeous. :) Have a great 2011! ♥

Marie: It was emotionally draining. I normally use books to escape reality too, but somehow I keep getting drawn to dark, depressing reads. There were times when I had to put the book down because it got to be too much. For an hour after I read it, I was just crying. A mixture of sad and hopeful crying. I highly recommend it, but as you've mentioned, it will probably be taxing on your emotions. =x

Nic: Thanks! It is DEFINITELY one of those books that gets under your skin. And stays there. I hope you enjoy reading it! I'll be looking out to see what you think of it. ♥

Brodie: I'm kind of surprised, as well. There weren't many reviews around for it. I definitely want this book to get more spotlight, because it totally deserves it. Cat Clarke is such an amazing author; she knows how to write raw and unhindered emotions that are also very realistic. I love her. :) You'll be having a good cry at the end, trust me. Good cry. ♥

Emi: Riiight? I was going to spam-text you some more stuff but I figured you were already tired of my spam-texts. xD I don't think you'll cry when you read the ending. Or maybe you might. Maybe you'll be so emotionally drained from getting from "here" to "there" that it'll affect you in that way as it did with me. Or maybe I'm just crazy and connected to the ending because I was in Grace's exact position. Who knows? But it's a good cry. Trust me. A good, hopeful cry. I absolutely am in LOVE with Cat Clarke for this book. I'm trying to discreetly advertise for Entangled while not creeping her out at the same time. xD

BURIED IN BOOKS said...

That was a great review! I don't even think I've heard of this one, there are so many out there with tangled or entagled in their names right now that it gets confusing, but You really make me want to read this book. I'm sorry you've been where she's been, but some of those quotes sound like old friends to me too. Maybe there are more of us than we realize if we'd just speak up. Sooner.

Heather

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