When Alice and her best friend Cass get stuck sharing a cabin with the school queen bee Tara and social outcasts Polly and Rae they know they're not going to enjoy their school trip to Scotland. But after a plan to get revenge on Tara goes horribly wrong things take a devastating turn for the worse and nothing will ever be the same again.
I loved Cat Clarke's debut novel Entangled when I read it last year so I couldn't wait to get my hands on her latest book Torn. I'm happy to say that this book was just as gripping as I expected it to be. Cat manages to write such realistic teenagers that it takes you straight back to your school days. I remember going on a similar school trip and having the same feelings of horror about the activities that Alice did which instantly helped me to connect with her. Luckily for me all of my classmates made it back to school in one piece which is more than can be said for Alice and her friends.
Alice is the kind of girl that most of us are able to relate to, she isn't one of the most popular crowd but she isn't quite at the bottom of the social pecking order either. Instead she hovers somewhere in the middle of the two groups and although she would desperately like to be more popular she isn't blind to the faults of the mean girls who run the school social scene. I love the way you slowly unravel more of Alice's past and as you do you discover some things about her previous friendship with the school queen of mean Tara that will surprise you. Torn really does show you just how far teenagers will go to change their social standing and just how brutal school politics and relationships can be.
Alongside Alice you really get to know some of the other main characters and although the accident was horrific and their actions afterwards are unforgivable you can't help but feel sorry for the way they ended up in that situation. The scariest thing was how believable it all was - I was left thinking that I wouldn't be shocked to find that this was based on a true story (although hopefully it wasn't lol).
Torn is a book about grief, about bullying and the long term effects it can have, it is also about guilt and how that emotion can completely change a person. At times it is a dark and difficult book to read and it is one that leaves you with plenty to think about. At the same time there are also funny moments, there is an adorable romance that captures the excitement of first love perfectly and there are lessons to be learnt about the importance of friendships and not betraying those who have always been there for you. Torn is an engrossing read and one that I couldn't put down - definitely a book I'd recommend to fans of YA thrillers and mysteries.