Monday, June 4, 2012

The Unquiet by Jeannine Garsee

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?

This is a young adult novel that manages to infuse a bit of originality into an overworked paranormal theme. Although not wholly different, this book does present some fun, interesting moments.

What really seems to work is that Corinne is bipolar. It’s not every day that we encounter a teen book with a manic-depressive protagonist. Yes, the disease is a bit over-simplified, but maybe that was the author’s intention considering what her readers’ age group would be. Corinne is an interesting character to follow, with the guilt she’s struggling with and with the balance she’s trying to achieve in her life. Of course, it seems like no teen book can be free of the curse of instant love. In this case, Nate is the love interest. The two of them seem to fall head over heels for each other in a very short time, which, really, after so many books with similar situations, gets kind of tired and used. The other characters, like Corinne’s mother, are good filler ones, although they don’t truly lift off the pages.

The plot is pretty fun, with a good sense of pacing and some actually frightening moments, especially towards the last seventy pages or so.

All in all, a slightly different novel with some well written moments. I do recommend it to young adult readers.

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