Spotlight on ALL UNQUIET THINGS by Anna Jarzab

Who doesn't love a good mystery! Whether a book is paranormal, fantasy, science fiction, or contemporary, those little questions about what's going to happen and how it's all going to unfold keep us turning those pages.

Today I'd like to spotlight a contemporary mystery I recently finished reading and loved.

Isn't that the most haunting cover? Here's a little synopsis:

All Unquiet Things centers around the murder of teen heiress Carly Ribelli, who was found shot to death a mile from her house in a wealthy Northern California suburb. Carly’s uncle, a dissolute alcoholic, was convicted of the crime, but a year later his daughter still doesn’t believe her father is guilty. Determined to prove his innocence, Audrey Ribelli contacts Carly’s ex-boyfriend, Neily Monroe, the boy who found Carly’s body. She is convinced that he knows more than he thinks about the events that led up to Carly’s death. Despite Neily’s initial reluctance, he and Audrey begin their investigation at the posh private school they attend, identifying prime suspects from among their spoiled classmates and digging up secrets about Carly’s past to get to the truth behind her murder.

All Unquiet Things was released by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (Random House) on January 12, 2010. You can also purchase the All Unquiet Things audiobook, available from Listening Library.

And let me set the scene a little. This is the way ALL UNQUIET THINGS opens:

Senior Year
It was the end of summer, when the hills were bone dry and brown; the sun beating down and shimmering up off the pavement was enough to give you heatstroke. Once winter came, Empire Valley would be compensated for five months of hot misery with three months of torrential rain, the kind of downpours that make the freeways slick and send cars sliding into one another on ribbons of oil. 

The book was so vivid and the characters so richly-developed. Booklist says this of ALL UNQUIET THINGS: "The characters are distinct and memorable, but it is Neily who stands out with a pitch-perfect, sarcastic voice and a personality that surges from the pages of this promising debut." And The Compulsive Reader calls it, "[A] complex, smart, and disquieting debut.” 

For those of you who are more visual, here's a glimpse at the book trailer for ALL UNQUIET THINGS, which I think really captures the essence of the book:

I recently had a chance to ask Anna a couple of questions and wanted to share her interesting answers with you. On naming some of her favorite mysteries, this was her reply:

"I would have to say that my favorite mysteries are Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie and The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (which was contemporary when she wrote it!). Sleeping Murder is a little of an odd choice, as Agatha Christie fans can probably tell you, because it's a Miss Marple mystery but it's written from a different POV--usually, the Miss Marple mysteries are third person omniscient, but Sleeping Murder is third person close, not to Miss Marple, but to a woman named Gwenda, who is kind of Miss Marple's niece by marriage, I think. Everyone in England is somehow related to Miss Marple. Sleeping Murder has got a lot more heart than most of Christie's mysteries, I think; the POV makes it feel like a much more personal story. Which is weird, because even though it's Miss Marple's last case, it was written in like the forties or something, about twenty five to thirty years before it was published. So it's not like Christie was getting sentimental in her old age or anything.

And do I even need to explain my love for The Westing Game? One of the most perfect--probably the most perfect--YA mysteries ever published. Although I guess now it would be considered middle grade, but still!" 

I also asked Anna about any new projects she's working on, and while she doesn't normally share too much, she did give me a little glimpse:
"It's not another crime novel per se--it's definitely nothing like AUT in terms of subject--it is a contemporary YA novel with something of a mystery, although one that's much more personal/emotional in nature and far less salacious (I'm really selling this book here!). The main character/narrator is a girl, and her name is Caro, and her rather normal suburban life is thrown into a tizzy when her sister, who is eleven years older than her, comes home to live after being largely absent for almost a decade, which is basically Caro's entire formative years. So I guess it's a book about sisters and secrets and science. And faith, but that doesn't start with an S." 

I'll bet I'm not the only one who thinks that sounds pretty awesome. If you'd like to find out more about Anna Jarzab and ALL UNQUIET THINGS, check out her website at


Rachel said...

Great Spotlight. After the last post, I was unsure of this book because I don't always like mysteries and tension (I get so involved in books, my blood pressure goes up lol) BUT after this, I am really interested!! And thanks for the visual aspect, that totally did it for me :-)

Micol Ostow said...

I have to check this one out! Love the title.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful opening - I'm adding to my list to read

Melissa Walker said...

I LOVE a mystery! And that cover? Gorge.

Adeeva Afsheen said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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