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DescriptionWinner of the Redbridge Teenage Book Award 2012. The 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 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 unravelling 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? A story of dangerous secrets, intense friendships and electrifying attraction.
- Published: 06 January 2011
- Format: Paperback 256 pages
- ISBN 13: 9781849163941 ISBN 10: 1849163944
- Sales rank: 22,466
Reviews for Entangled
A great debut - Cat Clarke is one to watch
In Entangled, we meet up with Grace. Grace is in a white room with all white furniture and other stuff, with only paper and pens available to her. So what does she do? She writes. The whole book is based on her telling what happened that put her in the place she is in now.
It's really difficult to talk about this book without spoiling anything that happens in the story, because everything is tied together to form the plot. I didn't find the storyline to be particularly original, but I really liked the way Clarke has written the book and her way of showing Grace's story. She combines what the main character is experiencing now with the memories that she has that brought her to where she is now.
I found Grace to be really superficial on the outside. That's the way she was supposed to appear - only caring about herself and then mainly about booze, going to pubs and sex (yes, that's quite high up on her priority list). But on the inside, she is dealing with feelings that she doesn't know what to do with. Grace doesn't know how to talk about her feelings, or how to express them, so she cuts herself. Self mutilation is a taboo subject and I think Clarke did a good job on writing the feelings of our main character, as well as expressing her motives to do so.
The characters (Grace, Sal, Nat) were all on the shallow side. They are teenagers, so I suppose that's their way of thinking, but it bothered me that they only seemed to think about themselves. Having said that, I really liked the fact that a minor character got a bigger role towards the end. He was always looked over before that, but he ended up being really valuable for the ending of the story and I loved the way Clarke wrote the ending. It was emotional and heartbreaking, even though you might have expected this to happen. I found the ending especially well written.
This book talked about the issue of self mutilation which is a taboo subject and I'm glad that such an important matter was touched upon in this book. Another thing that I liked about the book is that Cat Clarke is a British author - which made a nice change in reading, in between all the books from the US I've been reading :) by Daphne for Loving Books
I've been waiting to read this one for quite a while now so it had been sitting on my TBR shelf for a bit collecting dust!
I have to say straight off that this book probably isn't for everyone. It was a pretty heavy read in that the protagonist has a lot of things going on that are hard to deal with. Sometimes she did seem to be a bit harsh and not very loveable so I could tell straight off that some readers will just plain not like her. For me, she was the kind of character where I have to decide in every difficult situation whether to scold her or give her a big hug. She made mistakes and dealt with them in a bad way but in some ways that's what made her more relatable and realistic. I would by lying if I said I've never done something stupid in relation to a bad event and so has everyone else. It happens.
In that respect, Grace was a pretty strong character. In others she wasn't - it sort of makes this read like marmite - you either love it or hate it.
As for the actual plot I really liked it. It was a different take to books dealing with suicide and self-harm - a really different take. I found myself reading it all in no time and enjoying it immensely.
I think what made it so easy to read was the way it was written. The main story is told through Grace's point of view whilst she was writing about the hardships she's been through. So it was sort of similar to diary entries but not at the same time.
What let the book down for me though was the ending. I was so disappointed. I really got excited towards the end because there was so much guess work involved in this book that I was looking forward to finding out the answers. The problem was, there wasn't enough answers. I felt like the story was unresolved because I didn't fully find out what happens to Grace or any of the other characters. Even though some books do have endings like that where you sort of leave it to your imagination - this one felt like it was just too important not to know because it was so character orientated. The whole plot was based on the story of the main characters and their relationships and to not find out what happened about those relationships was disappointing.
Overall though I recommend this read. It deals with difficult issues in a unique way and it's a thoroughly engrossing read. by Maryam H
Rating Clarification: 4.5
The beginning of this book annoyed me so much I just wanted to throw it against the wall over and over. I just couldn't believe that I was reading a book so similar to "Stolen: A letter to my captor", which I've recently read and totally loved. There were a lot of similarities, first of all the heroine being kidnapped by a mysterious, hot guy. Grace and Gemma's behaviour before their kidnapping was almost the same, as well as their parents' presence.
I was so disappointed because I had such high expectations and it looked like I was going to read just a bad copy of another book. I kept reading, though, and was I glad I did.
After the first thirty pages, Grace's life started taking some interesting twists and my mind was captivated by the heroine's strong feelings. The writing was unbelievably good, the words flowing under my tired eyes and I could almost hear Grace's voice in my head. Her character, so strong and fragile at the same time, was able to touch my heart (and my literary taste, too) and her story, from his father's suicide, to her mother's apparent indifference, to her best friend's pregnancy, was so filled with emotion that I found myself dreading the end of the book for the fear the words I'd read wouldn't be enough to satisfy my hunger.
Whereas at first I was surprise and a little disappointed by the lack of Ethan's presence, I soon understood that the captivity part was not important: it was just a different way to tell Grace's story.
The heroine's relationship with Nat was nice and sweet at first, he was such a caring and thoughtful boyfriend. After a while, though, it started to feel wrong of them to be together, especially after Nat and Sal meet for the first (well, not really the first) time. Grace didn't notice a thing, no matter how hard Devon tried to make her understand.
The conclusion left me speechless.
I had never, ever read pure pain described in such a wonderful, realistic, distressing way. I had trouble breathing, I felt like it was my heart that was being left for dead on the carpet. And then her numbness, the numbness that along with the sorrow lead her to commit the one final act.
And everything suddenly makes sense, from Grace's white room, to Ethan's gentleness, to the pages and pages of words she keeps writing.
At the very last page, Grace finally understands that her life is worth living and makes herself a promise, that she'll keep fighting for her mother, for Devon, for herself.
The cover is mesmerizing.
Seriously, every time I see it I can't help but staring at the book for at least five minutes. :D
Full review at: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/121178890 by Claudette
A heart wrenching read
I don't know what to say about this one. I read it in a night and couldn't put it down. I was desperately fixated by Grace's "tangled life" and wanted her to be able to wipe her slate clean. I empathised painfully with her. To an extent.
There was a lot about Grace that I didn't like. It seemed like in every scene she had a drink in her hand and she wasn't a pleasant drunk. Her recounted story about how she lost her virginity in a grotty park play-structure made me feel kind of sick with disgust. Her coldness towards her mother made me cringe. There were reasons for all of these things but I couldn't help but feel like Grace was exacerbating her "victim" status in a self-flagellating way. But then I suppose that was part of Grace's character. She lives wild and she lives painfully in order to be able to feel something, anything at all.
To say Grace was "rough-around-the-edges" would be an understatement. And yet, Cat Clarke weaves Grace's story in such a way that we can see how she has become such a fallen figure. We might not exactly like Grace to begin, but we learn to at least sympathise with her. The uncomfortable moments are there deliberately, and Grace's depression is dealt with as a serious, psychological condition. She makes herself hurt because without that pain, she feels she has nothing.
As the story progresses, I started to see Grace as the tragic figure she was. I figured out what I think was meant to be the plot twist quickly, but this added to the tension of the novel. It made me want to scream at certain characters and to punch others in the face. These characters will have you hyperventilating with rage, trust me. The allow Grace to get a taste of what it means to be at peace with herself and almost happy! Then...they take it away. Her fall is so much harder after she allows herself to be lifted up briefly by love and hope.
I am desperately hoping that there will be a follow-up to Entangled, but haven't seen any news of one. I want this follow up because the ending of this book made me feel sad and scared and hollow. Grace has her weaknesses, but she doesn't deserve the pain she and others put her through. Seriously, Ms. Clarke. Even a short story would do!
*Makes puppy dog eyes*
There has been a lot of discussion recently about what content belongs in YA fiction. I'm sure that many might view Entangled as one of those bad influences. I disagree. The idea of self-harm and suicide is not glamorised or made to sound like any kind of escape: Grace's actions disgust ever herself, let alone the reader. The sexual content is discussed with warnings of pregnancy on the one hand, and the idea that you can think you know someone without having a clue on the other. The audience will wish that Grace could have held onto her morals a little more tightly. Her promiscuity only exacerbates her self-esteem issues and makes her feel worse.
Overall, Entangled is a powerful read that I would recommend to older YA readers due to its content. There's a part of me that really wants to give this 5 stars, but I'm withholding one of them until I hear of a coming sequel! A hostage star...think it'll work? by Laura Williams
Intriguing and very well written!
Wow, what a great first novel! The opening had me wondering what was going on and even when I came up with a few ideas, the book certainly didn't play out like I thought it would. Imagine if you woke up in a white room with nothing but a stack of paper and 47 pens....what would you think? Come and check out my full review at www.ourbookclub.net.au by Natalie Ward
- Top review
One heck of a debut!
Grace wakes up and begins writing. It's all she's allowed to do in this white room, with white sheets, white walls, a white floor.
She starts on Day 3 of being in this place.
Entangled is a story that unravels bit by bit through Grace's diary. Each page brings us one step closer to understanding where she is and why she's here. Something horrible has happened in her life, though it's never entirely clear what THE event was that caused things to spiral. As readers, we're left to piece together our conclusions.
Clarke does something really smart in the way she invites us into Grace's world. The people in her life are introduced purposefully: we first meet Ethan. He plays a large part in Grace being where she is and he's a large point of reference for her while she writes through her thoughts. He's -- if you will -- her "after." After we get to know and build a trust with Ethan, we're taken back a step further to meet best friend Sal. We know early on that something awful happened to Sal. Grace is there to support her, but Sal pushes her away until she ultimately blames her for the events. Their relationship is rocky. Sal's sort of that middle place: she's not Grace's "after" nor her "before." Then we meet Nat. He's the guy Grace has a real relationship with. She spends a lot of time thinking about him in her writing and talking specifically about those feelings she's developed and the uncertainty of his reciprocating them. She wants to tell him she loves him, but how? Fortunately, he makes the first move.
Or is it so fortunate?
I'll say this much: he's also not her "before." He's right there with Sal in that middle area. Then there is her "before." Because I don't want to give it away, I won't hint as to what it is. When you read this book, Grace drops clues leading you to what it might be. But then it comes together in a much more shocking manner and in a way that explains Grace and her actions so well. And because we're working through these things with Grace in her diary, we see it surprises her, too. It's a thread she herself doesn't fully grasp until the end, though the end is really her beginning.
I've explained far more about plot than I intended but that's because this is a tough book to describe succinctly. There is so much going on in Grace's mind that it would be impossible to boil it down to one thing that causes her to end up in this place. It's also hard not to spoil the revelations and twists that happen. But if I were to say what my impression of the book is it's this: Entangled is a story of grief. It's not just about grief, though. It's also about love and romance and what it feels like to hit rock bottom and be unsure how to claw back up and out.
Clarke's voice for Grace is one of the most realistic 17-year-olds I've read. Grace, despite being in her mental state, is witty and thoughtful, as well as sad, broken, and ultimately, hopeful. The way she interacts with Nat, Ethan, and Sal are realistic, and the way their friendships and romances wax and wane are spot on. And the feelings she has she doesn't hold back on: there is one scene where she feels so alone and broken, and she is uninhibited talking about how another girl's ability to recognize she exists meant the world to her. It's in those moments that we really connect with Grace and want her to succeed.
Grace isn't necessarily a good girl, nor is she really a bad girl. She's flawed. Some readers will be repulsed by her and find how she acts and treats those around her inappropriate. Others will find her extremely likable. I found myself rooting for her completely -- she's got it rough, and it seems like so many people aren't willing to reach out to her in this time. Except Ethan, that is. But here's the thing: I'm not sure Ethan's really there pulling for her either. I think it's Grace pulling for herself the entire time. She is both her best friend and worst enemy, and it all goes back to her being perfectly 17.
This book is extremely well constructed. At times, you feel like you know what's going to happen, but then Clarke pushes a new twist in the narrative -- into Grace's diary -- and suddenly things aren't as clear as they seemed. In the end, though, they fuse in a way that makes perfect sense. We have immediate access to Grace's mind; we're working things out right along with her, and it's usually pretty sloppy and all over the place. But, Grace is much smarter than she gives herself credit for, and we're lucky to see that ourselves.
Entangled reminded me of what Courtney Summers does in Fall for Anything -- we have a girl struggling to come to terms with unfettered grief. And what I love is how different this book is from Summers's. The way Grace works through it is unique, and that's precisely why I think these two titles are such great readalikes to one another. They're almost in an interesting conversation with one another, reassuring the reader that there is no one way to work through anything and there's no one answer to right and wrong. There's nothing that can explain some of the most mysterious and horrible aspects of life.
What probably excites me most about this book is that someone can read it and completely disagree with every word of my interpretation of intention. There is so much going on and so many possibilities at the core of this novel, that another reader can walk away thinking this book is primarily about the destructive power of love and friendship. And you know, they're right, too. This is also a book about self mutilation and a book about teen pregnancy (and there is an abortion, which is a topic recently discussed here).
Without doubt, this is one of the strongest books I've read in a long time, though it certainly won't be for everyone. It's intense and dark, and it is completely unflinching. Clarke does not shy away from graphic details -- they're real but never once over-the-top or included simply to get a rise from the reader. It goes back to Grace being 17 and to her dealing with grief the only way she knows how. by Kelly Jensen