THEYEAROFTHERAT_hb-wpcf_196x300Bookswarm has designed a new website for first-time author Clare Furniss, whose young adult novel The Year of the Rat is published in the UK today.

“I always thought you’d know, somehow, if something terrible was going to happen. I thought you’d sense it, like when the air goes damp and heavy before a storm and you know you’d better hide yourself away somewhere safe until it all blows over. But it turns out it’s not like that at all. There’s no scary music playing in the background like in films. No warning signs. Not even a lonely magpie. One for sorrow, Mum used to say. Quick, look for another.”

The world can tip at any moment … a fact that fifteen-year-old Pearl is all too aware of when her mum dies after giving birth to her baby sister. Told across the year following her mother’s death, Pearl’s story is full of bittersweet humour and heartbreaking honesty about how you deal with grief that cuts you to the bone, as she tries not only to come to terms with losing her mum, but also the fact that her sister – The Rat – is a constant reminder of why her mum is no longer around…

The book has been getting some great buzz on Twitter, and loads of positive reviews too. Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman calls it “a truly amazing read. This story will linger in the mind long after the final word has been read.”

Visit Clare’s new website to find out more