All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab

All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab; read in February, 2010.  ARC provided by publisher at ALA Midwinter.

Description from GoodReads:

Carly: She was sweet. Smart. Self-destructive. She knew the secrets of Brighton Day School’s most privileged students. Secrets that got her killed.

Neily: Dumped by Carly for a notorious bad boy, Neily didn’t answer the phone call she made before she died. If he had, maybe he could have helped her. Now he can’t get the image of her lifeless body out of his mind.

Audrey: She’s the reason Carly got tangled up with Brighton’s fast crowd in the first place, and now she regrets it—especially since she’s convinced the police have put the wrong person in jail. Audrey thinks the murderer is someone at Brighton, and she wants Neily to help her find out who it is.

As reluctant allies Neily and Audrey dig into their shared past with Carly, her involvement with Brighton’s dark goings-on comes to light. But figuring out how Carly and her killer fit into the twisted drama will force Audrey and Neily to face hard truths about themselves and the girl they couldn’t save.

I loved All Unquiet Things.  Anna Jarzab has written a fantastic mystery, and I am not normally a mystery fan.  The story is told from the point of view of two characters: Neily and Audrey.  The perspective changes only after a decent chunk of chapters, giving the reader time to dive into each character’s head and understand them.  The story also moves between the present and the past, which allows the reader to also get to know Carly from both character’s perspectives.  I especially loved getting to see the relationship between Neily and Carly progress until its heartbreaking ending.

The book is set in a wealthy area of California, centered in the private school the characters attend.  Rich teens tends to be overdone in YA lit, but Ms. Jarzab creates a unique setting that never feels like the reader has seen it before.  She also gives insight to the negatives of young adults with lots of money and not much supervision.  There are references to alcohol and drugs, never in a manner that glorifies them.

The mystery development is believable and surprising.  I found myself suspecting just about every character at some point in the book.  The way the two teens investigate Carly’s murder is realistic, which is often what can turn me off a mystery.

While the mystery is page-turning, at heart the book is about relationships, love, and loss.  All three main characters have suffered a big loss at some point, each affected in a different way.  How they each deal with loss and what happens after it is what makes each character realistic and relatable.

All Unquiet Things is a strong, well-written novel that I highly recommend to high school and adults readers.  Definitely one of my favorites of the year.

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2 Comments

Filed under review, young adult lit

2 responses to “All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab

  1. Wow, that does sound really good I want to read it!! Yeah! A YA mystery 🙂 The plot sounds unique and good also.

  2. It sounds great, and I adore the cover. Did a Cover Story interview with Anna and the cover model here:

    http://www.melissacwalker.com/blog/2010/03/win-it_wednesday_cover_stories_3.html

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