Review: The Unquiet
Title: The Unquiet
Author: Jeannine Garsee
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Release Date: July 17, 2012
Format: ARC from publisher (Thank you!)
Sixteen-year-old Rinn Jacobs has secrets: One, she’s bipolar. Two, she killed her grandmother.
After a suicide attempt, and now her parents’ separation, Rinn and her mom move from California to the rural Ohio town where her mother grew up. Back on her medications and hoping to stay well, Rinn settles into her new home, undaunted by the fact that the previous owner hanged herself in Rinn’s bedroom. At school, her classmates believe the school pool is haunted by Annaliese, a girl who drowned there. But when a reckless séance goes awry, and terrible things start happening to her new friends—yet not to her—Rinn is determined to find out why she can’t be “touched” by Annaliese…or if Annaliese even exists.
With the help of Nate Brenner, the hunky “farmer boy” she’s rapidly falling for, Rinn devises a dangerous plan to uncover the truth. Soon reality and fantasy meld into one, till Rinn finds it nearly impossible to tell the difference. When a malevolent force threatens the lives of everyone she cares about–not to mention her own–she can’t help wondering: who should she really be afraid of?
Annaliese? Or herself?—from Goodreads
The best way I know how to describe this part is ghost story meets psychological thriller meets treatise on personality disorder medications. Which sounds like it would be a big jumble of WTF, but the story in The Unquiet works, even if there are a few WTF moments.
I think my biggest complaint with this book is that I didn’t really like the—get this—dialogue between the main character Rinn and Nate Brenner, the love interest. It felt really stiff to me. And also, Rinn is a girl who is bipolar and has some VERY SERIOUS issues to work through, but once she meets Nate she’s immediately buddy-buddy with him and calling him “farmer boy.” Which is all well and good, but for me, the relationship was pretty static and didn’t work.
But that’s alright, because the main focus of the book is the ghost story, not the love story. Garsee is sort of brilliant to pair a ghost story with a main character who is bipolar and has a history of erratic, obsessive, and violent behavior. Because those parameters are set up, it forces both the other characters and the audience to question whether or not the ghost story is really happening, or if it all—and I do mean all—is just in Rinn’s head.
At the end of the book there were a few strings that weren’t wrapped up as neatly as I would have liked for them to be, but it was completely creepy and really satisfying. In a way it reminds me of one of the better episodes of Are You Afraid of the Dark? Which is a VERY GOOD THING in my book. Because that show was ace.
So if you’re a fan of ghost stories and are looking for something that is a nice hybrid of horror, suspense, and psychological thrills, definitely check out The Unquiet.