Undone by Cat Clarke

Challenge 1 – “A book with more than 500 pages.”


★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Before this I’d never heard of Cat Clarke before, let alone read any of her books, but I saw this is the library whilst waiting for some of my other books to come in, and decided to give it a go – a decision I do not regret. Clarke is clearly an undersold gem in the world of young adult literature – a slightly premature assumption from one book, I grant, but I have since read others that definitely back up this hypothesis. None, however, that have quite outshone this one.

The novel was very engaging from the start, and an enjoyable read. My worst fear with this challenge was that I would end up with a book reminiscent of Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge or Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper (ones with large chunks that just felt unnecessary and dragged.) Undone was clearly a good choice (despite being random). It did not drag at all, picking up momentum from its strong start and hurling the reader through an emotional adventure, with its own fair share of twists and turns along the way.

Like every other book, it wasn’t 100% perfect (to me, at least). Towards the end of Part 1 I felt that the months spun by too quickly in relation to the pace at which the high school drama was unfolding, but I can easily see how elongating these could lead to a Cuckoo Song scenario.

The ending was gold dust. If several other authors could take notes, so many more books could be enjoyable. It was really refreshing to read a book where the ending wasn’t predictable. There were points where I would think ‘and then this is going to happen’ or ‘what’s the chance that x is going to happen at the end’ but they never turned out to be true. (Maybe I was just blindly naive to the story, but it was a great way to read it!) Arriving at the end you were truly miles away from where the story first began, and yet along the way nothing had felt disjointed or out of place – just terrifyingly realistic.

Undone is well worth a read, combining suspense, believable characters and complex moralities into a terrific plot that doesn’t drag (despite the length of the book.) Clarke hooks the reader through the twists and turns of the novel, piques their interest with each new revelation rather than loosing it, and then throwing a mind-bending (but from afar thoroughly realistic and obvious) ending. Through this Clarke manages to highlight the complex moralities of real life, and shines through as a high class example of young adult literature.

Recommended for fans of:

  • Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
  • The Death & Life of Charlie St.Cloud by Ben Sherwood
  • Dare Me by Megan Abbott

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