TITLE: Unraveling Isobel
AUTHOR: Eileen Cook
PUBLISHER/YEAR: Simon Pulse/2012
GENRE: YA, Paranormal, Romance
SOURCE: Local Library
Goodreads / Author's Website
You guys, I am on a roll with library books right now. I put one down and pick another one up and just by luck, happen to like it. I'm saying this streak of book luck cancels out the bad from the other month. I picked up Unraveling Isobel a few days ago and loved it.
Okay, it's not a great literature. It's not the kind of story I was talking about when I reviewed A Novel Bookstore but I didn't expect or want it to be. Unraveling Isobel is a great YA read. It's not meant to change the way you look at books. It provides much needed entertainment. The story hooked me from the get go and that is all I wanted from this particular book.
Isobel is a pretty typical teenage girl. She's not a great athlete; she's not an amazing scholar. She's not popular, nor is she a complete outcast. She fits in, she blends. Of course that all changes when she's forced to move from Seattle to the small island of Nairne for her senior year because her mom's remarried. The new step-dad is creepy, but the step-brother is cute and of course there's the whole ghost and haunted mansion she's living in. Isobel just needs to figure out if she's going crazy or if there's something seriously off about this house and new family.
I really liked Isobel as a character. She struck me as somebody I would have liked to know as a teenager which helped make this book such an appealing read. I liked that she wasn't perfect; she got in with the popular crowd because she knew it would make her life easier. Of course, she also had strong morals which she would choose over her new, popular friends. I also like that the choices that her and her mom face aren't always cut and dry. A major issue I have with a lot of YA books that I read is that the parents are just so awful. I thought that this book was going to be one of those, but I was surprised. The relationship was better than I thought despite the early frustrations of the stereotypical Mother choosing the new husband over the daughter trope.
A major plot point in the book is Isobel possibly crushing on her new step-brother. Okay, yes it has some creepy, kissing cousin connotations, but it didn't bother me that much. I was strangely okay with it though. First off, I religiously followed the O.C as a teen which had some far creepier relative relationship twists. Secondly, they met when they were seventeen and only once before the wedding. It's not like they were raised together.
I have to admit i was predisposed to like this book because I love paranormal romances. Ghosts and intrigue always hook me. Always. I'm pretty sure it will become a common theme on this blog. Anyways, I really liked the ghost aspect although I'm glad it didn't overshadow Isobel's journey because she really was a compelling, realistic character. Something that is none to common.
One last point, mental illness is dealt with throughout the course of the story line and to me at least it was handled with sensitivity and understanding. It wasn't mocked. It was used as a teaching tool although I never once felt like I was being preached to. I appreciated this approach, especially in a book that's aimed a young-ish audience. Cook definitely won some points from me for that one.
If you're into a sort of paranormal mystery with some romance on the side, definitely check out Unraveling Isobel. It will be worth your time.