Monday, February 22, 2010

Book Review: All Unquiet Things- Anna Jarzab


Carly: She was sweet. Smart. Self-destructive. She knew the secrets of Brighton Day School’s most privileged students. Secrets that got her killed.

Neily: Dumped by Carly for a notorious bad boy, Neily didn’t answer the phone call she made before she died. If he had, maybe he could have helped her. Now he can’t get the image of her lifeless body out of his mind.

Audrey: She’s the reason Carly got tangled up with Brighton’s fast crowd in the first place, and now she regrets it—especially since she’s convinced the police have put the wrong person in jail. Audrey thinks the murderer is someone at Brighton, and she wants Neily to help her find out who it is.

As reluctant allies Neily and Audrey dig into their shared past with Carly, her involvement with Brighton’s dark goings-on comes to light. But figuring out how Carly and her killer fit into the twisted drama will force Audrey and Neily to face hard truths about themselves and the girl they couldn’t save.


This was quiet the nice little murder mystery except the detectives were two teenagers with their own reasons. I have to admit, that particular aspect seemed a little disconnected for me. The police investigation has been over, the convicted murdered behind bars and life for most everyone has moved on- at least for everyone but Neily and Audrey. There were a few things that didn't add up yet someone was sentenced for Carly's murder- Audrey's dad, to be exact. The fact that these two teens could find reasons and make connections the police couldn't seemed a little odd to me- especially when they began to turn up evidence that the police probably should have been able to figure out.

Barring that one thing, however, I did enjoy this book. The plot was very thought out with plenty of twists thrown in. Characters that seemed harmless ended up playing an important role and ones that seemed important faded away. Jarzab did a great job throwing everyone into the spotlight with speculation running rampant, even for Audrey and Neily. If for no other reason I found myself wanting to know the truth and I was most definitely not disappointed.

Neily was an interesting character- a genius for his age but hung up on Carly. Having met her in 8th grade when he started at Brighton, the two fell for each other and were together into high school until Carly broke up with him for another guy. Neily not only disliked the guy she left him for already, he also couldn't believe she just stopped loving him. Neily, without a doubt, was still completely in love with Carly, hating her only because of how hurt he was. In some ways, I have to admit, I found him to be a little redundantly whiny about it but at the same time, given how few friends he had, I could understand why even two years later he still wasn't over her. Glimpses into his past with Carly helps show how their relationship built and what they had been through together. Even Carly's personality is well displayed throughout the book, giving the reader an idea of who she was and who she had become while still instilling the extreme sense of loss Neily feels all the time over her death, even if they didn't talk by the time she was murdered.

Audrey's character, however, most definitely bothered me. She was manipulative and kind of a jerk, talking back to Neily any time he didn't trust her when she knew he had no reason to. Despite the effect her home life would have on her, Audrey was the kind of character I just didn't like- stuck up, uses others, and too wrapped up in her own affairs to really think about how what she does will effect others. Though she did show growth and had a few major plot twists centered around her character, I never really found myself siding with her until the very end but I think anyone would feel something for her by then.

The plot... apart from some nuances with the criminal investigation done teenage style and drug deals that stay hidden even when police are involved... it was amazing. Very well thought out, very disturbing, and very nicely laid out. Despite all my theories, I admit I did not guess this ending. Despite not connecting with the Audrey and Neily like I would have preferred, I still was hooked on the story line and wanting to know more. The story is also told in sections- 2 from each character with an epilogue in Neily's mind which added a good element, letting you get closer to each character and see their side of it without detracting from the overall story line.

The writing was stunning. Often times, I read books where the writing is brilliant and the author does have a grasp of the English language yet the character that speaks so eloquently isn't the brightest of characters- that is not the case here. Neily is smart and Neily does think and talk like this. Even when things switched to Audrey, the differences in their mental states was clear without Jarzab's fantastic writing style being ignored.

Overall, this is a brilliant debut for Jarzab and I will most definitely be looking for more from her in the future. Although I didn't connect with the characters, Audrey especially, they were in depth and developed- she is simply the kind of girl that I don't meld with. It didn't really detract for me, however, because the writing more than made up for it. If you like murder mysteries, I definitely recommend this one.

Source: Purchased at
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (January 12, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0385738358
ISBN-13: 978-0385738354


  1. This is a fantastic review! I appreciate how honest and thorough you were with your feedback. Thanks. :-)

  2. I'm really want to read this one! I've been seeing it everywhere. It looks great!