Unrest is about a 17-year-old boy called Elliot. Elliot is in a car accident that leaves him officially dead for 2 minutes, before the paramedics resuscitate him. Since the accident, Elliot experienced sleep paralysis and astral projection. While in these states he is haunted by ghostly figures. The storyline follows Elliot as he tries to figure out why this is happening to him and what he can do to stop it. To investigate, he gets a job at a supposedly haunted museum to try and discover the truth.
I had really high hopes for this book; as soon as I read the synopsis I wanted to start reading the book!
The book was very enjoyable but I’m sad to say it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. Parts of the story, especially some of his sleep experiences and the events that occur on site of the haunted museum, were suitably creepy – on occasion enough to send chills down my spine. The ghostly experiences were also very well written and believable – Michelle Harrison built up an atmosphere within the story very well! The reason why I was a little disappointed was because I felt like the story lacked a little originality. More than a few times I felt like I had already ‘seen’ bits of the plot in popular horror movies, such as ‘The Sixth Sense’ and ‘Insidious’. In fact, I thought the phrase ‘empty vessel’ and the context of this phrase conjured up a very similar scene from the movie ‘Insidious’.
This is a YA novel, and of course there was a bit of romance within the story. I felt that it was a little predictable (I guessed very, very quickly the romantic interest that was to be!) but it was very nicely handled. The romance was built up gradually, and it felt very genuine and believable. I think I added a nice extra element to the story and worked very well with the ending of the book.
I liked the character of Elliot. I felt like I glimpsed 2 sides to him. The ‘pre-accident’ Elliot, and the ‘post-accident’ Elliot. I felt that the ‘pre-accident’ Elliot was just a typical teenage boy – into girls, drinking and his car and the ‘post-accident’ Elliot was a very mature 17-year-old. I felt that I was reading from a character older than just 17, which indicated to me that the accident and what he was coping with afterwards made him mature and grow up a lot. I found it easy to identify with Elliot as I was reading the book, he had an interesting narrating voice and it was very easy to take on his opinions.
I thought that Ophelia and Hodge were very well developed characters and had enough depth to them to make them seem very believable. I liked Ophelia right from the start; she gave me another glimpse of a strong female character within a novel. She was very quirky and unique and she was not at all afraid to be herself, or to say exactly what she felt like or what she felt. The character of Hodge intrigued me right from the start, I never really liked him but I had a suspicion that there was a lot more to him than first meets the eye!
I liked reading about the relationships between Elliot and his dad and brother (Adam). There were some lovely, touching moments between them. I wish that dad and Adam could have been explored a little bit more within the book. They didn’t have a lot of depth to them, but I suppose their interactions with Elliot were slightly limited in the plot line.
Overall, I really did enjoy the novel. It was well written using simple language that easily drew me into the story and kept me completely focused on what was happening. This was definitely a book that was not easy to put down once I’d started it because I really wanted to find out how the story was going to develop and what was going to happen.
Originally I was going to rate this book 3/5 stars due to lack of originality in the ghostly and sleep experiences Elliot had BUT the ending pulled the rating up by one! I loved the ending; it was such a twist and surprise. I had not predicated the ending at all and it really pulled the book up in my opinion.
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