A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review.
Seventeen-year-old Elliott hasn’t slept properly for 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 Elliott they’re terrifying.
Convinced that his brush with death has attracted the spirit world, Elliott secures a job at a reputedly haunted museum, determined to discover the truth. There, he meets the enigmatic Ophelia. But, as she and Elliott grow closer, Elliott draws new attention from the dead. One night, during an out-of-body experience, Elliott returns to bed to find his body gone. Something is occupying it, something that wants to live again – and it wants Ophelia, too …
I don’t read ghost stories on account of my being easily terrified by anything resembling a vengeful spirit. I decided to give Unrest a go for two reasons – it is written from a male perspective, which is rare enough in YA, and Elliott doesn’t hide from his connection to the spirit world, but goes and gets a job at a haunted museum. Talk about brave. I didn’t have the luxury to read the book in the daytime as I had initially intended, but it didn’t turn out to be half as terrifying as I expected. Yes, it’s creepy and there are a few disturbing scenes, but it’s no scarier than an average episode of Supernatural, and they’ve failed to scare me since season 3.
In a book such as this that deals with experiences like Elliott’s, I analyse how those around the protagonist treat his/her experiences. I was glad that instead of dismissing Elliott’s visions, his family is both caring and supportive, which is a refreshing change. They aren’t sure if they believe him, but are genuinely concerned about him and are always there to help. Ophelia is my favourite character in the book because although Elliott’s strange behaviour creeps her out, she is still open and honest with him and tries to help in any way she can. Their relationship is realistic and sweet and grew slowly out of friendship, which I liked.
This book is really difficult to out down, which I attribute largely to its suspenseful plot. Unrest went in a completely different direction to what I had expected. This is good – reading the book was a journey full of unexpected twists and turns. Plot details are revealed fast enough to engage a reader but with every reveal there is something held back so that the anticipation builds up until the very end, when everything finally makes sense. This is the first book I have read written by Michelle Harrison and I am impressed by her writing style. She brings the spirit world to life, and it’s every bit as creepy and disturbing as you would expect.
Unrest is a spine-tingling, exciting story that I feel many people will enjoy. I have read a few reviews where the supernatural elements have put off potential readers, and I realise that although I didn’t find it particularly scary, other readers may. However, it’s a great read and I wish there was more to come!
About the book: