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In the Criminal Justice System

In All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab, the cousin and the boyfriend of a murdered girl team up to unravel the mystery behind her death.

In the Criminal Justice System

BOOK REPORT for All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab

BFF Charm: A Wary Yay!
Swoonworthy Scale: 6
Talky Talk: Straight Up Dick Wolf
Bonus Factors: Serious Bad Guys, Whodunit?
Relationship Status: The Munch To Their Benson and Stabler

The Deal:

Unlike Neutral Milk Hotel, the only girl Neily ever loved was killed with bullets in her chest. Carly, his sweet and brilliant and self-destructive ex-girlfriend, wound up dead right before the beginning of junior year, shot four times in the chest and left to die on a bridge.

Audrey, Carly's cousin and best friend, is having a pretty shitty year herself. Not only has she had to cope with Carly's death, but she's also been dumped by her boyfriend and ostracized by her friends. Why? Because her dad is in jail for Carly's murder.

Now it's up to Audrey and Neily, unlikely allies, to team up and try to figure out what secrets Carly knew . . . . and who would have killed her to keep those secrets quiet.

BFF Charm: A Wary Yay!

Don't get me wrong, I love both Audrey and Neily. Neily is sarcastic and bitter and unpopular, and I was all of those things in high school as well! And, unlike me, Neily actually has reasons to hate the world. And Audrey, oh, lovely Audrey, is braver than any person should have to be. I'd be honored to be friends with both of them.

Except. Um. They are getting themselves into A LOT of hot water with their investigation into Carly's death. And I don't really want to be shot at. So maybe we can be friends AFTER they solve the mystery? I'll take them out for celebratory ice cream cones!

Swoonworthy Scale: 6

The swoonworthy scale for this book was actually pretty hard to rate, to be honest. There are a few relationships at play here, but in the interest of not spoiling, I can't really discuss them. But Neily's memories of his time with Carly - the first glance, the first kiss, the messy breakup - all rang poignantly true of the high-flying yet destructive path that first love can take.

Talky Talk: Straight Up Dick Wolf

Dick Wolf is a modern hero. He really should have won the Nobel Prize for, I dunno, GENIUS-NESS, years ago. I mean, he created this awesome show in which both the POLICE WHO INVESTIGATE CRIME and THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY WHO PROSECUTES THE OFFENDERS have their own sub-story. And All Unquiet Things is a little like that - told in alternating narratives by Neily and Audrey, each section includes both the present-day investigation and flashbacks, from several years ago to the days leading up to Carly's death. Both Audrey and Neily's voices are sarcastic and angry and grief-stricken and maybe just a little too old for them, but they still ring authentic.

Bonus Factor: Serious Bad Guys

In most YA books that involve crime or investigations of some kind, the bad guys are sort of weak sauce. I'm just sayin', I wouldn't worry about running into them in a dark alley, you know? Not so in All Unquiet Things. The bad guys are definitely bad.

Bonus Factor: Whodunit?

As I'm sure you all know by now, we here at FYA are big Nancy Drew fans. And I, for one, will watch or readany sort of mystery/whodunit tale I can get my hands on, whether it's dumb (i.e. SVH Super Thrillers!) or awesome (like the original UK series, State of Play. Or, for that matter, Sherlock!). And while in this instanceI figured out the Big Bad about halfway through, the great fun of a whodunit is getting to yell, "It's obviously ______!!! YOU STUPID PEOPLE DON'T YOU KNOW ANYTHING?!" Not to mention the little ball of tension that sits in your tummy as you race towards the end. Will they figure it out in time?

Casting Call:

 

Dakota Fanning as Carly

Dakota doesn't look a thing like Carly (too blonde, too thin), but she's the only actress Of A Certain Age who I think could pull of both Carly's sweet side and her self-destructive, cruel, depressed side.

 

Jesse Eisenberg as Neily

I can't help it. He's my go-to cute nerd!

 

Emilie de Ravin as Audrey

I think Emilie de Ravin can play popular and ostracized well . . . as long as the Crazy Matted Hair of Claire's Craziness doesn't come back.

Relationship Status: The Munch To Their Benson and Stabler

I'll admit it: this book had me pretty well wrapped up in its drama and investigation. From the cover alone, I was intrigued, and as I delved deeper inot it, I definitely felt the need to do a little sleuthing myself.

Ultimately though, this book didn't need my help or my paranoid theories to get to the truth. It navigated its way through twists, turns, shady characters, bad guys that may be innocent, and good guys who may be bad, all by itself! And, by investigating Carly's murder, Audrey and Neily started to look at their own lives, and the consequences of both their actions and their inaction. They ended up having a pretty good handle on things, so eventually, I had to step back, polish my glasses, and let the younger generation Take! Things! Personally!

FTC Full Disclosure: My review copy was a free book I received from Delacorte Books. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). All Unquiet Things is available in stores now!

Erin Callahan's photo About the Author: Erin is loud, foul-mouthed, an unrepentant lover of trashy movies and believes that champagne should be an every day drink. When she isn't drowning in a sea of engineers for whom Dilbert is still uproariously funny, she's writing about books, tv, the cult of VC Andrews and more.
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