Review: “The Unquiet” by Jeannine Garsee

Title: “The Unquiet”

Author: Jeannine Garsee

Genre: YA, paranormal, mystery

Publication Date: July 17, 2012 (Bloomsbury/Macmillan – North America)

Source: NetGalley review copy

Summary: 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?

☆: 1/5 stars – really disappointing.

Review:  Okay, so there is a bit of mystery to this book, but for the most part, this is definitely not the book the blurb promised. And that’s really depressing when that happens. It’s one of those books when you see other reviews that are absolutely glowing you wonder to yourself, “Did we even read the same book?”. Yeah. “The Unquiet” was, for me, ultimately a typical YA book that touches on the possibly paranormal, and just didn’t deliver for me.

While the heroine was interesting (it’s not often we get to see a bipolar MC), I wanted to hear more about her issues with balancing her illness, her meds, and her life (and not in a tough-stuff kind of way). While we get a little of that in this book, it wasn’t enough to make her feel real. It felt like the character was going through the motions to a certain degree, and when she begins at her new school, any credibility/reality she had to her seemed to disappear when she makes insta-friends (with some of the popular kids, no less) on her first day, and manages to snag the “hot farmer’s son”. The other characters felt very one dimensional, and flat, and to a certain extent, stereotypical. They weren’t memorable, they didn’t feel very original, and they just didn’t pop off the page for me.

The worldbuilding was…filmsy to say the least. While there was a bit of creepy mystery with the underground tunnel/fence, there was a TON of untapped potential that Garsee could have used, but didn’t. Whether she was just holding back or she didn’t realize what was there, I’m not sure which, but either way it was disappointing. I do applaud her shrinking the world to the small town, but after that, it felt like any preparations for the worldbuilding kind of vanished as the story itself devolved into a very typical YA book – that of high school and drama, with very little mention of the MC’s diagnosis and how it might interfere with things actually in the story (which is more realistic).

In short, this book just didn’t work for me, and I’m confused to see how it worked for others. There was so much I was kind of hoping and expecting to see happen with this one, and it just didn’t happen.

Final verdict? If you’re looking for something new and special within ghostly YA lit, you may want to avoid this one. But that’s just my opinion. Check out “The Unquiet” for yourself – it’s out now from Bloomsbury Kids USA, and let me know how you feel about it.


4 thoughts on “Review: “The Unquiet” by Jeannine Garsee

  1. Pingback: usagi’s challenges for 2012! | birth of a new witch.

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  3. The reviews have been very mixed on this one. You are the second person in two days that have said this one is a let down.

    Thanks for sharing and I hope you have better luck with the next one.

  4. Pingback: Stacking the Shelves: Week 12 – ALA Edition Part 4! | birth of a new witch.

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