All the Unquiet Things was a refreshing book for me, just what I was looking for. After discovering I was burnt out on supernatural stories this heartbreaking mystery set in the here and now, without any characters with powers was just what I was looking for.
Besides the mystery aspect the book spoke of lost love, friendship, and family troubles. It reminded me a bit of one of my favorite television shows, Veronica Mars. I love the idea of teens solving a mystery (and not a childish mystery), their tactics are obviously going to be different than an adults, or the police. It's just more fun.
I loved that the book was told both from Neily and Audrey's perspectives. Though sometimes I had to remind myself who the narrator was because they were often in each others scenes. It was also refreshing to come across two main characters that weren't involved romantically but worked together as a team, as friends, they helped each other find closure over the death of their love (Neily) and best friend/cousin (Audrey).
There were only a few suspects in the story but when it came down to it, I totally didn't see it coming when the actual murderer was revealed. The entire book was a complex web of lies and truths and I just had a great time reading the book. I also think it would lend itself nicely to a movie format.
Carly was impulsive, smart, and hurting. Both her boyfriend Neily and her cousin Audrey adored her, but neither of them knew how to get her the help she needed when her mother died, and neither of them did anything when Carly dumped Neily and began hanging out with the dangerous popular crowd. But both Audrey and Neily are shocked when Carly is found dead one night, murdered in cold blood, and a year later they are still struggling to deal with their guilt and confusion, despite the accused murderer, Audrey's father, being behind bars.
But then Audrey approaches Neily, asking for help. The pieces of Carly's murder aren't adding up, and she doesn't believe her father is the killer. She suspects the murderer is someone at their school, who would go at any length to keep certain dark secrets covered. But in order for them to find the truth, Audrey and Neily will have to be honest with not only each other, but themselves as well, and risk ripping open old wounds and getting involved with dangerous people.
Anna Jarzab's debut novel is a superbly written and immaculate mystery that is completely gripping and unsettling. Her writing style is smart and sophisticated, peppered with observations that will make you really stop and think. Her main characters, Neily and Audrey, are both very different but very authentic. Neily is smart and capable, but struggles to deal with an immense load of guilt. Audrey is a little more reckless and assertive, but deep down, she's searching for love and acceptance. The story flows perfectly as Jarzab carefully pulls back layer after layer of the events of over four years as the viewpoints switch back and forth between Neily and Audrey, and the past and present.
The bulk of the story takes place in prosperous Empire Valley, and a lot of action plays out at Brighton Day School, where many of the students are privileged and unbelievably wealthy, but All Unquiet Things has so much more depth than your average rich teen novel. Instead, Jarzab exposes the dark side of rich living with unsupervised teens that have access to as much money, drugs, and alcohol as they want, and what happens when things quickly spiral out of control. The plot is twisting and complex, but it all comes together in a surprising, breathless end in such a flawless way, never once lacking in suspense.
All Unquiet Things, simply put, had me under a spell. This is a complex, smart, and disquieting debut.
on March 27, 2010
For such a literary poem excerpt at the beginning of the book, I found All Unquiet Things to be short of the literary mark. Centering around the murder of Carly Ribelli, a good girl turned wayward, this novel seems to be a perfect almost-summer read- exciting, consuming, and slightly spooky. But everything seemed off for me. Anna Jarzab's writing was merely passe. Many times throughtout the story her writing did not flow together, and at times she used too much exposition, which detracted from the overall effect of the story. Audrey and Neily, two people close to Carly, were both well-drawn characters, yet their voices were too similar. The murderer, when revealed, did not exactly surprise me. The ending was rushed and awkward, and the murderer seemed to have done a complete 360 character-wise; it just wasn't plausible that he/she was that evil and no one had caught it. Some things impressed me about this novel, like the building up of tension and suspense, but overall I wasn't impressed. I would not recommend this.
on July 3, 2014
This was an average-to-bad YA mystery novel. I almost quit when I was not even half-way through, because of the endless dialogues - I got quickly tired of the banter between smart-a teenagers trying to show off. It was not remotely interesting, and the characters are not half as likeable or smart or cool as they seem to believe they are.
The mystery of who really killed teenage girl Carly, is told in alternative parts by Neily, her ex, and Audrey, her cousin. They are not exactly best friends since Audrey's dad was arrested as the murderer, but they strike an unlikely alliance in trying to figure out who Carly's real killer is. Their quest is not breathtaking to say the least : they fight, they act all cool and wise and smart, they confront one person, they have another very long verbal battle, they confront someone else, etc. There are no big twists and the plot linearity is boring as hell.
There are a lot of possible suspects since Carly dallied with unsavory characters once she dumped Neily. When the real killer is uncovered, it comes as a mild surprise... and that's it. There is teenage sex and drugs in the story, but somehow even that doesn't make the whole novel take off. If you want to read a good YA murder novel, I'd recommend "Dangerous girls". Sorry Anna.
on February 4, 2014
I really really enjoyed this book! I was reading it all day yesterday and today. It was so hard to put down to go to bed last night.
The author must be familiar with the setting. I have lived in San Ramon, Ca 25 years and her facts about the bay area and surrounding are accurate. I love it! I had so much fun reading this book.
I don't want to give much away about the story since it is a mystery. I suspected the person who committed the murder a few times, but I also suspected many others so it kept me guessing.
"All Unquiet Things" centers on the murder of Carly Ribelli & is narrated by her ex-boyfriend & cousin, Neily & Audrey. Neily & Audrey are both outsiders at their California prep school, but they come together to solve the murder of Carly. The police have already locked away Audrey's father, but Neily has always had doubts; Audrey cannot believe her father would murder his niece. Forging an unlikely friendship, Neily & Audrey set out to uncover the secrets of the popular clique at their school, both convinced that someone from this group is responsible for Carly's death.
"All Unquiet Things" is well written & bit heavier than most of the YA I have read, but I finished the book in 3 days. It kept me interested & was a fast read. The murder mystery keeps the plot going, but "All Unquiet Things" is much more-- a story of grief, acceptance, & self-discovery.
on March 3, 2010
Carly Ribelli was the first person Neiland " Neily" Monroe met at Brighton Day School and was his first love. But now Carly is dead. Carly's uncle, Enzo Ribelli, was convicted of her murder and is currently serving his sentence. Neily is still struggling with her death and thinking he could've helped her. Carly called him the night she died, but Neily ignored her calls at first. By the time he called her back, it was already too late.
It's the start of senior year, a year after Carly's murder, and Enzo's daughter, Audrey, has returned to Brighton Day. Audrey and Carly were as close as sisters. After Carly's murder, Audrey was tutored to avoid the media and gossip at school. Neily blames Audrey for Carly's involvement with the wild crowd. After all, it was Audrey who introduced Carly to Adam Murray. Carly dumped Neily for Adam.
But now Audrey approaches Neily. She asks him to help her figure out Carly's murder. She's positive her father is not responsible, and deep down, Neily has always believed Enzo was innocent, as well. The two form a tentative bond and begin to delve into the darker side of Brighton Day. The pair become convinced that Carly discovered secrets that someone at the school did not want revealed.
ALL UNQUIET THINGS is an intricately woven murder mystery. Ms. Jarzab slowly builds the plot by interspersing the past with the present. The author gives the back-story where necessary, without giving too much away at one time. Though Neily and Audrey insist that they're not friends whenever asked, as the story evolves, the reader notices the small nuances that indicate that, indeed, they have become what they insist they are not.
As I was reading ALL UNQUIET THINGS, I kept comparing the style to that of John Green. Carly had faint hints of the free-spiritedness of Alaska. And the search for answers brought to mind Quentin's quest to find Margo. If you like the style of John Green, then Ms. Jarzab is an author not to be missed. I know I'm already looking forward to whatever she releases next.
Reviewed by: Jaglvr
Anna Jarzab is a genius. It's as simple as that.
This riveting mystery, which will surely captivate readers of all ages is set in the excusive private Brighton School in the East Bay Area of San Francico.
Carly Ribelli, a former student. Killed by unknown person or persons.
Neily Monroe - Carly's one time boyfriend. Neily is a scholarship student and feels somewhat out of the loop of his more affluent peers. May have had an agenda.
Audrey Ribelli - Carly's cousin. Her father was charged with Carly's murder, but the question remains - Did he actually kill Carly?
That is the question that hangs in the balance. Audrey enlists Neily's help in trying to clear her father's name. After all, it would mean that Carly's own uncle was responsible for her death and Audrey also wants to clear the family name and standing in the community.
Audrey and Neily become a social force to be reckoned with at Brighton. Together these two Bloodhounds infiltrate the popular cliques, gathering information that their popular peers want to keep under wraps. As the case against Audrey's father lose ground, their charges against their peers gain momentum. These two bloodhounds find very resourceful methods in securing their goals and the ending is nothing short of surprising and brilliant.
Anna Jarzab is an author to watch for! She clearly understands youth and interpersonal relationships among teens and current issues and concerns many of them face. Having the story narrated from the perspectives of more than one character is an effective literary device that many top level authors such as Jodi Picoult and Diane Chamberlain employ. Readers get to see different sides of an issue and this method encourages thinking and reasoning. Anna Jarzab can rightfully take her place as a top level author.
on October 9, 2010
ALL UNQUIET THINGS reminded me of LOOKING FOR ALASKA by John Green, and I don't necessarily mean that in a good way, since LOOKING FOR ALASKA is one of my favorite books.
Carly Ribelli was murdered last year. Months later, her ex-boyfriend Neily (she dumped him to date one of the more popular guys) wonders if maybe, if he had picked up the phone, Carly might still be alive. The police are sure that the case is solved - the Carly was murdered by her uncle, but her cousin, Audrey, is positive that her father is innocent. So Audrey enlists Neily's help to get to the bottom of Carly's murder.
ALL UNQUIET THINGS flashes back and forth between the current senior year and the past - how Neily and Carly started a relationship and how that relationship ended and how Audrey is involved. It's never confusing, though if you prefer linear storylines, this might not be your kind of read. It's not a murder mystery so much as it's an examination of the Carly's last months and relationships and all that good stuff.
Don't get me wrong. It's a really good book. It's just...I really love LOOKING FOR ALASKA, so...I'd rather have been reading that. Jarzab is a good writer, and the characters are wonderfully drawn (although maybe Neily's and Audrey's voices could be a bit more different?). Jarzab just isn't a terribly witty writer, and I don't mean that as a bad thing. I can't find a fault in her writing. She writes great sentences, just not clever ones. And I like clever writing.
ALL UNQUIET THINGS is a really good book, just not for me.
This story is definitely quieter than some of the other YA available. Normally, I'm not a fan of quieter books because they are hard to pull off, and not many can do it well. But this story pulled me in right away.
The voice is soft and subtle, yet the writing is sharp and the characters are pretty clear. I really liked Neily. His voice and actions matched his character, as did his confusion and pain over losing Carly. I actually wish the entire story had been told from his perspective, because I didn't like Audrey. I thought her voice was too similar to Neily's (sometimes I didn't know who was speaking in an exchange of dialog), and her voice was too soft for her actions and personality.
At times, the dialog was sharp and fantastic. At others, though, it sounded too old for teens (some phrases would never be used by a teen, no matter how mature he/she was).
I thought the mystery started off very well. I love stories that feed me just a little bit of info at a time because I like to try to solve the mystery along with the characters. That said, I thought that Neily jumped too far too quick when he realized who the killer was. I had already suspected that person, but I still thought Neily was too sure, especially given the circumstance. As a result, what followed was a bit of a let down. Though I do like how the story ends.
I would definitely recommend this to older teens, since there are drugs, alcoholism, and some other mature content throughout. I can also see this having crossover appeal.