Wednesday 19 July 2017

GIRLHOOD by Cat Clarke


Harper has tried to forget the past and fit in at expensive boarding school Duncraggan Academy. Her new group of friends are tight; the kind of girls who Harper knows have her back. But Harper can't escape the guilt of her twin sister's Jenna's death, and her own part in it - and she knows noone else will ever really understand. 

But new girl Kirsty seems to get Harper in ways she never expected. She has lost a sister too. Harper finally feels secure. She finally feels...loved. As if she can grow beyond the person she was when Jenna died. 

Then Kirsty's behaviour becomes more erratic. Why is her life a perfect mirror of Harper's? And why is she so obsessed with Harper's lost sister? Soon, Harper's closeness with Kirsty begins to threaten her other relationships, and her own sense of identity. 

How can Harper get back to the person she wants to be, and to the girls who mean the most to her? 

A darkly compulsive story about love, death, and growing up under the shadow of grief. 


I was really looking forward to reading this book, so I got stuck into it shortly after receiving a copy from Hachette Australia.

Harper attends an expensive boarding school in Scotland and is part of a tight group. Rowan, Lily and Ama are her best friends, so she can't wait to make long-lasting memories with them during their last year of school. 

All that changes when a new girl arrives.

Kirsty is nice but doesn't seem to fit in with the rest of the group. Yet she has something in common with Harper. They've both lost sisters, and bond over their shared loss because no one else will ever understand the grief and guilt attached to such a devastating experience.

As Harper gets closer to Kirsty and finds herself confiding in her new friend, it comes with a downside--alienation from the others. With the distance growing between the girls and Harper, and her parents trying to move on with their lives, everything around her is changing too quickly. And Kirsty hiding something isn't helping...

Wow. This is such a great book! I really, really enjoyed it. From the beginning, Harper's voice is easy and relaxed, but also dripping with grief. Everything she does, experiences and remembers is measured against the memory of her sister. The twin sister who died several years ago. She feels responsible about what happened, and just can't shake the guilt.

I liked how flawed Harper was, and how easily she compensates for others' mistakes and strange behaviour, but is super tough on herself. She's a good person with good intentions, but lets everything rub her the wrong way and then reacts too impulsively. Her reactions come across as judgement, but that's not what she's aiming for. She's just so weighed down with sorrow all the time.

I also really liked the friendship group, and how they're all so close that they're virtually family. Even though each girl is very different, they are perfect friends, so at times it was hard to watch the slow deterioration of their tight-knit group. I especially liked Rowan, who was headstrong and no-nonsense, but still vulnerable in so many ways.

Yep. There were SO MANY small things I loved about this story that form an intricate and intriguing plot.

Girlhood is a gripping book. A page turner that made me fear the worst the deeper I got into the story. It's a story about the shadow grief casts over the ones left behind. It's about the highs and lows of amazing friendship. It's also quietly wicked. This book definitely got under my skin, so I had to keep reading until everything unravelled.

This is my second Cat Clarke book, and I can't wait to read more.


Girlhood, July 2017, ISBN 9781784292737, Quercus Children's Books

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