Thursday, January 14, 2010
All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab
[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.
Most of my thoughts on All Unquiet Things are based on the structure of the book- the way the points of view switch and how the flashbacks are incorporated. The book alternates between the points of view of Audrey and Neily, starting with Neily and changing every 100ish pages. Flashbacks play a huge part in the first half, while they disappear in the last half. I have a bunch of thoughts on how the structure affected the whole book, but I'll try my best to make sense in this review.
The flashbacks simulataneously slowed things down and added a whole lot of depth to the characters. They make up so much of the first half of the book that it feels like nothing but flashbacks for a while, and not enough of the promised mystery. Although it takes a bit to get used to the constant time switch, the flashbacks really help with the characterization of the characters. Carly came alive and as Audrey and Neily described their conflicted feelings about her, it was easy to see why they felt the way they did and why Carly made the choices she did. The flashbacks also allowed for exploration of some of the murder suspects and allowed me to make guesse as to who the murderer was, even though I was horrily wrong in the end. The real murderer was a complete surprise and when the person was revealed, I may have gasped because it was THAT GOOD.
It was hard for me to differentiate between the actual narrating voices of Audrey and Neily; they both sounded like teenagers who have been through a lot, but they sounded a bit too similar when narrating. However, I could easily tell them apart by reading their dialogue; when they spoke to each other, I knew exactly who was who and what they were feeling at the time. I could easily see the frustration and anger and sadness in them when they spoke to each other rather when they just spoke to the reader, which made it easier for me to see a relationship develop between the two. I liked that they did not really trust each other at first, but once they began to speak to each other more, they grew to trust each other and work as a team.
All Unquiet Things might have a slow beginning, but that's the only major problem I have. It's got a cast of realistic characters, a fantastic mystery, and a killer twist at the end. Highly recommended!
Links: Anna's website, blog, twitter, and the blog she shares with her agent
Book details: Delacorte/Hardcover/$17.99