The Eternal Return of Clara Hart

Louise Finch

Shortlisted for The Yoto Carnegie Medal for Writing 2023

What would you do if you went to a party, saw a girl die and then woke up the next morning for it to happen again – and again? This is what materialises for 16 year old James in this superb debut novel by Louise Finch. Over the course of a week James tries to prevent Clara dying by changing small parts of her day as he uses his philosophy lessons to make sense of events. As the week goes on, James begins to see that the behaviour of his group of teenage male friends is making him uncomfortable and he starts to question his values, his friendships and his beliefs.

This examination of misogynist behaviour blends well with the desire to know whether Clara can be saved. Reflective readers will also enjoy learning about Nietzsche and the concept of eternal recurrence. There is a trigger warning for the darker, second half of the book where sexual abuse is more prominently explored. However, it is handled sensitively and should not put readers off what is a truly excellent read and a wonderful addition to the canon of YA literature.

Warning – sexual abuse content

Published by Little Island Books Ltd

Reviewed by Rachel Bolton