Torn by Cat Clarke: MP! Book Club Month 2

Read a book hand-selected by team MP!, love it or hate it, come back and chat about it with other MP!ers, feel very grown up and knowledgeable – welcome to MP! Book Club Month 2. This month’s release is Torn by Cat Clarke. Read our review below, order a copy here, then join us same time next week to discuss the book with other MP!ers including the 5 of you that already got a copy free. 

Torn by Cat Clark is a psychological thriller set in the bleak wilderness of Scotland and the bustling streets of London. It follows the story of a school trip that goes terribly wrong. Alice, her best friend Cass, Queen bee Tara, social outcast Polly and moody emo Rea are stuck together in a cabin. Plans start to form and friendships begin to unravel after Cass decides to teach Tara a lesson she’ll never forget.  Back home in London each girl struggles with the weight of their terrible secret, should they admit their guilt or stay true to their pact of silence?

Packed with characters that you’d expect to see walk right off the page and into your own school, Torn is frighteningly realistic. Despite the shocking events at the heart of the novel the way Alice and her accomplices deal with their burden brings the story crashing back down to reality. Alice is the perfect lead, the girl with the tragic past who (despite her circumstances) longs for normality, a bit of romance with gorgeous Jack and to fit into her skinny jeans. Meanwhile the book’s “villain” Tara is a character that could have stepped right out of Mean Girls but like Alice she has her own past to thank for her present.

The characters are the real strength of the book but sometimes the constant shifting of the story is frustrating – there’s a lot to pack into 300 pages and some characters (like Rea) are left to fend for themselves. But Torn is really Alice’s story and the shift from horror to romance to psychological thriller is what makes the book so exciting, the sudden change in emotions in Alice is something we can all relate to. The secret that lies at the heart of the story may be out of the realms of our reality but Alice and her actions are so believable, and that’s what makes Torn so frightening.

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