Presentation on theme: "By Anna Jarzab. Anna Jarzab's debut novel (Delacorte 2010) is part mystery and part inner glimpse at dysfunctional families and the perceived entitlements."— Presentation transcript:
Anna Jarzab's debut novel (Delacorte 2010) is part mystery and part inner glimpse at dysfunctional families and the perceived entitlements at a wealthy private high school. Neily Monroe, 17, is the ex-boyfriend of Carly, a beautiful girl who spiraled out of control after the death of her mother and was brutally murdered months before Neily begins his story at the spot he found Carly's body. Audrey is Carly's cousin—and the daughter of the man convicted of her murder. Audrey comes back to school and back into Neily's life hoping that he will help prove her father's innocence. Never truly convinced that the right person was convicted and still in love with Carly, Neily agrees, although he is not eager to open old wounds. The narration alternates between the teens' perspectives—Neily, narrated by Mike Chamberlain, and Audrey, narrated by Allyson Ryan. Told through chunks of recollections from when Carly was alive alternating with current events, the dual narrators offer a well-rounded picture. The portrayals, while uneven in their voicing and pacing, vividly bring to the surface images of teens coping with intense tragedy, emotions, and a desire for closure. Listeners will be fully immersed in the mystery as it unfolds.
The novel takes place in Empire Valley, California. Empire Valley is a wealthy suburb in the Bay Area of California. The majority of the story is centered around a private college prep school called Brighton Day School.
Neiland Monroe, called Neily, is the main character in the novel. He is an only child, and his parents are divorced. His mother is a pediatric nurse and his father is a computer software executive. At the beginning of the story, he is haunted by the murder of his ex-girlfriend Carly the year before. Even though they were broken up at the time of her death, he still is in love with her, and wonders if she had felt the same just before her murder.
Although not a traditional “antagonist” Carly is clearly the character that causes the conflict in the novel. In the year before her death, she started behaving wildly and hanging out with the wrong crowd. She kept getting herself into bad situations. Those close to her chalked it up to her mother’s tragic death due to cancer. But was that the only reason?
Enzo Ribelli—Audrey’s father, accused of murder. Cass Irving—Audrey’s boyfriend, Adam Murray’s best friend. Harriet—Neily’s therapist Harvey Rosenberg—Neily’s best friend
The central conflict in the novel is Neily’s determination to solve the mystery of who killed Carly and why. He struggles with all the students at his school, the police, his parents, and mostly with himself, as he tries to find peace with Carly’s murder, and the question of if she ever really loved him.
Neily is so haunted by his ex-girlfriend’s death, and the memories of finding her body, that he finds himself at the old stone bridge where she died, and falls asleep on the ledge. He just wants to feel close to her once more.
The theme of All Unquiet Things is that truly loving someone requires forgiveness when they hurt you, for whatever their own reasons are.
I really liked All Unquiet Things. It was both a mystery and a book about love and relationships. The dynamic between the protagonist and the other characters was interesting. The mystery of what had caused Carly to turn against Neily and also who was guilty of her murder kept the reader guessing right up to the end. It was easy to feel his pain as he struggled with the loss of someone he had loved. My favorite lines from the novel are: “Anyone who’s ever had a person disappear from their life knows the feelings. It’s an emptiness that still has boundaries, faint outlines that serve as reminders that something is missing, and all you can do is try your hardest to pretend like it never was” (Jarzab 136).