January 3, 2012
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Just months after meeting him on the internet, Isobel's mother has moved them to some tiny island to live with her new husband. It's Isobel's senior year and she has to leave Seattle behind, leave her friends behind. All to live with her mother and some man she doesn't even know in his huge, creepy mansion estate. Oh, and his incredibly good looking but incredibly off limits son, her new step-brother.
Just when Isobel thinks life couldn't get much worse, her first night in the house she sees something that leaves her with two options: Either she's losing her mind like her artist father did . . . or she just saw a ghost.
Isobel isn't quite prepared for just what life in this new town - and house - is going to bring.
Unraveling Isobel is like a perfect blend of Daphne DuMaurier's Rebecca and the Buffy episode "Ted," with a twist of Holly Schindler's A Blue So Dark.
The serious plot lines continue to progress and the characters develop all while this paranormal story line is happening. A paranormal background that, at first, seems like it may be imagined, but as things unravel we learn that there's more and more to it. And things get creepier and creepier. Both for the characters in the novel and for readers reading about it.
Unraveling Isobel doesn't go for the horror factor or pile of the gore of the violence, it's the best kind of creepy with things making you jump, things startling you, things being eerie or just that little bit off. It's fantastic.
That the interpersonal relationships don't suffer for sake of the paranormal in the book is great. Readers still get to see Isobel adjusting to being a new student (one who very much does not want to be there), learning things about her new step-father and brother - both from the island's residents and by living with them, and dealing with her mother and their relationship.
They also get to learn about the estate Isobel and her new family are living on - and what's happened there in the past. Big, creepy, old houses are perfect for spooky books.
There is one part/element that is pretty predictable (to say what it is would be spoilery, I think) but I don't think the story suffers for it. It may even supposed to have been that way - where the readers could guess it but not the character, I'm not sure.
Unraveling Isobel is a book I loved - one that is creepy, has a great setting (both the island and the estate) and the characters are well developed and have relationships with each other that progress well throughout the book. I hope you'll love it, too.
egalley read thanks to S&S GalleyGrab!