Monday, March 29, 2010

Review: All Unquiet Things

Title: All Unquiet Things
Author: Anna Jarzab

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 am a pretty big fan of light-hearted books that don't require a lot of thought in order to read and comprehend them.  This is not one of those types of books.  This novel, written by Anna Jarzab, moves between the main characters two perspectives and also flips between the present and the past, which made the novel more intensive to read than my usual fare.  The first clue that I had that this wasn't a typical novel was the cover, with its contrast of a dead body on a white background.

     That being said, I do like Anna Jarzab's writing.  She doesn't underestimate her audience's ability to understand her clever and innovative writing style.  Her main characters of Neily and Audrey are complex.  They both have to deal with the guilt they feel after someone they love is murdered.  Their persistence to find the truth is the basis of the book, but it's the character's struggles that make this an unsettling read.  Sure, you want to find out what happened to Carly, the cousin of Audrey and the girl Neily loved, but the mystery often takes a back seat to the depth of these characters.  I congratulate Jarzab for her willingness to take on such depth for her debut novel.  I especially loved how Jarzab had the main characters meeting up later in life so the reading audience could see how they were doing after the emotional turmoil they endured throughout the book.

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