Unrest – Michelle Harrison
Pages: 375 (ARC)
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 26th April 2012
Seventeen-year-old Elliot hasn’t slept properly in months. Not since the accident that nearly killed him. Sometimes he half-wakes, paralysed, while shadowy figures move around him. Other times he is the one moving around, while his body lies asleep on the bed. His doctors say sleep paralysis and out-of-body experiences are harmless – but to Elliot they’re terrifying.
Convinced that his brush with death has attracted the spirit world, Elliot secures a job at a reputably haunted museum, determined to discover the truth. There, he meets the enigmatic Ophelia. But, as she and Elliot grow closer, Elliot draws new attention from the dead. One night, during an out-of-body experience, Elliot returns to bed to find his body gone. Something is occupying it, something dead that wants to live again – and it wants Ophelia, too...
I’ve been a fan of Michelle Harrison since her debut, The Thirteen Treasures, so when I found out she was writing a ghost story for a YA audience, I got extremely excited. And I had every reason to.
Unrest immediately draws you into Elliot’s unsettled and creepy world where he is haunted in his own house. Wondering whether he’s losing his mind or experiencing something ‘other’, he needs to find a way to make it stop. There’s an electric tension running through the novel as Elliot’s encounters become more frequent and infinitely more dangerous that kept me on the edge of my seat and tightly clutching the book in my hands, furiously turning the pages.
I immediately warmed to Elliot and his struggles (and not just because I love his name ridiculous amounts) and there were moments where I was genuinely scared for him. I fell a little in love with him if I’m honest. Ophelia was rather different. At first, I thought she was stuck-up and cold, exactly like Elliot did. but as she warmed to him and more and more was revealed about her life and her character, I began to see what Elliot saw in her. One of m favourite elements of their relationship was the stony start they had and that Elliot wasn’t immediately drawn to her stunning beauty or anything like that. It was a natural and realistic progression that is really quite badly represented in YA sometimes. Ophelia continued to surprise me and with each revelation, I liked her a little more.
As well as the aching nail-biting tension, Michelle Harrison gripped me with the never-ending trail of questions that threaded through Unrest. Is Elliot mad, or is he really seeing ghosts? What does Tess want from Elliot? What exactly is Hodge up to? Is Lesley right about him? Each answer was revealed slowly, drip-feeding us hints and clues until being explained at just the right moment. Brilliant. I loved it.
Unrest is a chilling and atmospheric novel that will make night-time jaunts through the house a thing of the past.
Thank you to S&S for providing me with a review copy.