Review: The Unquiet by Jeannine Garsee

The Unquiet
By Jeannine Garsee
388 Pages
Published by Bloomsbury
Publication Date: July 17, 2012 (expected)
Source: Netgalley

From Goodreads:

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?

The Unquiet starts with the following line:

“Sometimes, when I dream, the deadliest moment in my life happens all over again. That’s when I’m given the chance to do things differently.”

Isn’t that a great start? I was pretty much hooked from there. There are lots of people who will say that they have no regrets about their life. I am not one of them. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty happy with where I am and I have a good life, but I’d be a complete liar liar pantsonfire if I said that there weren’t little things that I wish I’d have done differently. Little changes I’d have made, decisions I wish I had put more thought into, etc. So to me, Rinn became a really sympathetic character. I can’t imagine living with something like being responsible for the death of your grandma.

I liked Nate as well. He’s a bit of a stock YA character and nothing really stands out about him, but he’s loyal to Rinn and helpful, and he seems to genuinely care about her in spite of her illness. When she has been brushed aside by so many in the past, he is supportive and stands by her. As far as her friends go, meh. Lacy is a typical mean girl, and I do mean she’s a mean girl. She’s horrific. Tasha and Meg are ok but I didn’t really feel like there was much development to either of them.

One thing that I really liked about The Unquiet is its treatment of mental illness. It’s not brushed aside or manipulated in order to fit the story. It’s told pretty straightforward – it is a big deal and it does affect all aspects of Rinn’s life. It definitely plays a huge role in the story.

It’s a classic ghost story in a lot of ways, but it’s not really scary. Suspenseful and tense, but I would say that it’s ok even for those who shy away from stuff that is very scary. Towards the end of the book it almost started to remind me of an old fashioned book or movie about ghosts. And Rinn is an unreliable narrator so there’s a bit of a surreal quality to it – what is real and what isn’t? How much of this is a ghost and how much is only taking place in Rinn’s mind?

I did figure out the big twist at the end – or at least part of it – but it still managed to play out in an interesting way.

4/5 Stars

 

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5 Comments

  1. It does sound a bit intense. I may pick it up at some point. I really dig the cover!

    Reply
  2. Oooh very interesting! Thanks for the review. The cover definitely caught my eye!!

    Reply
  3. Oh my gosh, yes! I agree with your first paragraph. I know people are like LIVE LIFE WITH NO REGRETS but I am not one of those people, ah. None of them are as serious as the grandma thing though, of course. Unreliable narrators are intrigue me and so do books with a surreal quality. I haven’t heard of this one but now it’s on my radar, thank you!

    Reply
  4. Fab review, Karen! You always review in the best way…you’re able to succinctly let me know if you did/didn’t like a book, and why! This one sounds REALLY interesting, and sometimes an unreliable narrator is the best kind. Thanks for a review that actually has finally made me reconsider my initial decision not to read this one!

    Reply
  5. I’ve got this queued up and ready to read on my Kindle this week, so I’m glad to hear you liked the book Karen. I am always a fan of ghost stories, and when you throw in a bit of mental illness, it ramps up the suspense to a new level. And I must admit liking the cover as well. The girl underwater theme is getting a little overdone, but I like this one for some reason:)

    Reply

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