Review: Undone by Cat Clarke

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Hey, since this is my first review ever I thought I should start by introducing myself – my name’s Holly Bareham, I’m 17 and I read books all the time. So I figured why not post my opinions about them on the internet? I figured a positive review would probably be the best way to start this blog off so I decided to review Undone by Cat Clarke.

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I’d like to start off by saying that I’m sick of going into the YA section of any book store and staring at book after book of romance novels. Maybe I wouldn’t mind so much but so many books have amazing plots and then they throw in a completely unnecessary romance that makes me feel sick to my stomach, with boys and girls saying cringey gooey things to each other until I feel like throwing the book across the room. I have physically groaned out loud at certain romances before. However, Cat Clarke is an exception to my hatred of romance. Her portrayal of teenage romance is exceptionally realistic and actually interesting to read. For once, I am routing for the characters relationships to work out instead of hoping that they’ll crash and burn which happens with most other YA novels.

‘Undone’ follows the story of Jem Halliday and how her life has been turned completely upside down after her best friend Kai has committed suicide. After discovering that Kai is gay, someone outs him online which leads to him deciding to kill himself. Jem realises that there’s nothing she can do to bring him back so she decides to find out who was responsible and take them down herself.

I think the first thing that makes any Cat Clarke novel realistic and, dare I say it, relatable is the amount of swearing. So many YA novels are published with little to no swearing and let’s be realistic; teenagers don’t exactly hold back with their curse words. I personally don’t know many teenagers who don’t swear every other sentence so why that should change in fiction is beyond me.

From the first page I was gripped. It starts with a small prologue of how Jem and Kai met then the first chapter hits us hard with Jem grieving Kai’s death. It took me less than twenty-four hours to get through the novel because I was desperate to find out how Jem was planning on getting her revenge and who had outed Kai in the first place. Normally when reading, I don’t react emotionally. Sure, I care about the characters deep down but I don’t feel any physical emotion when bad things happen to them. This is definitely not the case with ‘Undone’. I remember my stomach twisting with knots and saying to myself “No, Jem, come on…” I remember laughing, tears prickling my eyes and feeling every emotion that Jem felt throughout the entirety of the novel. To deliver that through words is pretty stunning.

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I would recommend this to anyone I meet. A friend, my Mom, my Gran, a stranger I met in the streets… I can promise that you won’t be disappointed reading any novel by Cat Clarke, especially not ‘Undone’.

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