Unrest by Michelle Harrison

Posted On 17 October 2012

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Just finished reading Unrest by Michelle Harrison and what a great ghost story this is.

Unrest brings to us Elliot who nearly died in a hit and run accident.  In fact, technically speaking he did die.  For a couple of moments he had the whole out of body experience watching people as they stood round his prostrate form.  That was six months ago and ever since things have been different.  That whole thing of almost dying seems to have opened up the world of the spirits to him.  He can barely sleep at night.  His whole world is turned on its head.  He’s lost weight, dropped out of college and frankly is scared.  On top of this nobody believes him.  They don’t mind smoothing his ruffled feathers but they’re tapping their feet impatiently waiting for him to get over himself.

The apartment where Elliot lives is haunted.  The former tenant unfortunately committed suicide and is as desperately unhappy in the afterlife as she was previously.  The strange night time occurrences are becoming worse and the spirit itself seems to be getting more agitated.

The first few chapters of the book really do suck you in.  The writing is really good and frankly the ghostly sightings are pretty creepy.  Elliot and his father live by themselves, his mother having died a few years ago and his older brother having moved out to live in a shared apartment with his girlfriend.  Elliot and his father live a pretty grim life to be honest.  Neither of them get much sleep.  His father works long hours in shifts and frankly the apartment is pretty grimy but the two of them are doing their best to hold on to the remaining bit of normality that they have.

Elliot eventually comes up with the idea that perhaps he isn’t really seeing spirits – it could be his imagination couldn’t it?  So he needs to stay somewhere else, to see if spirits still visit him in the night.

So, Elliot finds a job working in Past Lives – a living and working museum.  The museum also run ghost tours and Elliot is hoping to work on one and spend the night in the haunted inn.

Okay, no more plot.  Just read it.

I really enjoyed this for a number of reasons.  I liked Elliot and I really felt for him especially as some of the experiences he suffers are really scary.   I liked that this wasn’t just a ghost story (although who would complain at JUST a ghost story) but there was more to this. A little intrigue and mystery.  I liked the writing style.  There were plenty of ghosts!  And, because I’m reading all sorts of stories for RIP I’d just read anther ghost story called Strangers and the two are totally different styles of story and writing and the experience of reading them so close together was really interesting.

Yes, this is YA.  But it’s good, it’s well written, it’s scary and it’s an interesting story.

In terms of criticisms I didn’t have a lot.  I thought the ending was maybe a tiny bit rushed.  But, that’s just me and not really a criticism.

This counts towards my RIP challenge.  Now, if you’ve not got over to this site yet just do so now.  The link is here.  Stainless Steel Droppings is a great blog and Carl a great host – go check it out and even if you’re too late to join up – which you’re not, so do it – you’ll find lots of other goodies to look at.


4 Responses to “Unrest by Michelle Harrison”

  1. TBM

    There is something fun about ghost stories. I swear I lived in a haunted house once.

    • lynnsbooks

      I think I did too! I’ve talked myself out of it now and given myself explanations as to what happened but then reading this did make me think about it all again.
      Lynn 😀

      • TBM

        Oh I believe…there might be explanations, but the occurrences were too frequent. The explanations might be logical, but what’s the fun in that.

      • lynnsbooks

        Yep, no fun in the logical explanations at all! I like Charles de Lint who says if you look out of the very corner of your eye you’ll see brownies – much more interesting than the logical conclusion!
        Lynn 😀

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