publisher: Simon Pulse
release date: January 3rd, 2012
hardcover, 304 pages
intended audience: Young adult
Isobel’s life is falling apart. Her mom just married some guy she met on the internet only three months before, and is moving them to his sprawling, gothic mansion off the coast of nowhere. Goodbye, best friend. Goodbye, social life. Hello, icky new stepfather, crunchy granola town, and unbelievably good-looking, officially off-limits stepbrother.
But on her first night in her new home, Isobel starts to fear that it isn’t only her life that’s unraveling—her sanity might be giving way too. Because either Isobel is losing her mind, just like her artist father did before her, or she’s seeing ghosts. Either way, Isobel’s fast on her way to being the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons.
Review: Unraveling Isobel is a fun, fast-paced read---I read it in two days and really enjoyed every second! It's made up of a little bit of everything: psychological thriller, murder mystery, romance, social and family drama, and most of all, chilling ghost story. There were even a few moments thrown in there that I literally laughed out loud---not so much situational comedy, but the main character, Isobel has such a great feisty snarkiness to her. I really liked her. She has been dealt such a short end of the stick by her mother, who marries someone she barely knows (and who completely creeps out Isobel from the very start). Isobel gets uprooted and moved away from everything and everyone she knows just before her senior year---I had to feel for her, that would be rough. Furthermore, with having a mentally ill, artist father, her mother is constantly watching her for signs of a genetic inheritance, so she's kept from doing the one thing that actually gives her some happiness in this whole mess---her art.
The story was incredibly well written and so entertaining to read, really never a dull moment. There is nothing higher on the creepiness scale than ghostly children, so this one definitely had a few really great spine-tingling moments---a few that made me hesitant to read this right before bed in case it crept into my dreams! Isobel, despite being a little unsure about her own sanity at times, had some really great moments of bravery and integrity, my favorite being a certain part where she so satisfyingly puts a real b**** in her place. The romance, though a little "unconventional", was so sweet and the attraction grew so naturally---it was not hard to get caught up in rooting for them as the relationship progressed (and silently hoping that he didn't turn out to be a murderer!).
Great twists and turns and lots of interesting surprises! While not every element was groundbreakingly original, Unraveling Isobel is definitely a perfect blend of a fun, fast, and spooky read. I definitely recommend it and would read it again!
Visit Eileen Cook at her website: www.eileencook.com