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All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab

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All Unquiet Things, Anna Jarzab’s first novel, tells the tale of Neily Monroe and Audrey Ribelli, two high school seniors haunted by the death of a very important person in their lifes, Carly Ribelli. Carly was allegedly murdered by Enzo Ribelli, her uncle and Audrey’s alcoholic father.

The author says all of this in just the first couple chapters – the reader gets to know all the main characters, get some background information, and see how they tie into the plot. None of the characters are especially identifiable, and the author doesn’t really make it easy to feel sympathetic toward Audrey or Neily, even in their current situation. Audrey comes off as bratty and mean, and she continues to have this unfriendly disposition until the very end. Neily is easier to like, but he acts selfish and whiny. Most of the other characters have very transparent personalities – the way they are the first time they're introduced is the way they are throughout the whole novel.

This book switches back and forth between Audrey's and Neily's point of view, making the narrative style complex. The author does this well enough, but Audrey and Neily’s voices are so similar at times the reader has to flip back and check who’s telling the story at that current point in the novel.

The plot of this book is simple and easy to identify: Audrey and Neily putting aside their differences and coming together to solve Carly’s murder. They don’t believe that Enzo actually committed the crime, so they ask around and search for clues. Everything that the characters do and say ties into the plot, and Jarzab does this very well, leaving no untied ends or useless information.

Some of the dialogue is sketchy – at times the characters come off as very sophisticated and intelligent, using words that high-school seniors don’t typically use in regular everyday conversation, and then they go on to overly use curse and slang words.

All Unquiet Things was not a very exceptional novel, but if you are looking for a quick, easy read, it’s the book for you. It’s not the kind of story that leaves a reader wanting more, nor is it the book you read all day because you can’t put it down. On a scale from one to ten, it’s probably about a three, making it merely an average young adult novel.




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