Leanne's Reviews > Unraveling Isobel

Unraveling Isobel by Eileen Cook
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's review
Dec 01, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: first-reads-ebooks-for-review
Read from January 17 to 20, 2012

*More like 4.5 stars; also posted on Amazon.com (under Leanne)
**Received ARC through Goodreads First Reads from author

Unraveling Isobel opens up with one of the best (hilarious and touching) things about the book - Isobel's tendency to turn her thoughts into lists - the first one being reasons for objections to her mom's speedy wedding to Richard or Dick, as she likes to call him. Just a snippet:

1.“His name is Richard, which is really just a fancy version of Dick. I don’t think anyone should be in a relationship with a Dick.
5.Dick’s first wife and daughter died seven months ago, and it seems to me he could have given it at least a year before bringing us in as the replacements. I may not be the queen of etiquette, but even I know some things are in bad taste.”

By doing this, Cook sets up the background of the story well, and the reader instantly understands Isobel's strained situation with her new family and relocation, her crush on her stepbrother, Nathaniel, and her own snarky sense of humor. From the first page alone, I was already laughing and gaining an affection for Isobel.

When Isobel settles into her new room (which used to be Nathaniel's dead sister's room), and her new school, she learns of the haunted history of the estate and begins to see visions and signs of ghosts. The questions that arise are, is Isobel going crazy like her schizophrenic father, is someone trying to make her think she is going crazy, or is there really a ghost haunting her for help?

As Isobel attempts to answer these questions, I was impressed with the author's ability to unravel hints in a well-written, well-paced manner, as well as intersperse scenes of romance and humor, further endearing me to Isobel's plucky character and leaving me eager to find out the ending (I read this all in one sitting). I also found myself relating closely to Isobel with her outlook on school social "politics", and how she decided to play detective. I was pleasantly reminded of episodes of Monk and Murder She Wrote I have seen (great shows, by the way), when Isobel tries to set a trap to determine if there is a ghost or murderer. The twist at the end of the book was also statisfyingly unexpected, as I usually can figure those types of things out, but didn't until close to the very end.

Overall, Unraveling Isobel was a fun, stimulating, and creepy read (without blood and gore), and I was quite surprised how much I liked this book. I would recommend this to young readers (or those young at heart) who is a fan of mystery/detective shows/novels and who enjoys stories with a great mix of suspense, romance, and snarkiness. I definitely plan on reading other books by Eileen Cook, starting with "Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood".

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Quotes Leanne Liked

Eileen Cook
“The mother was holding a baby, had a stroller with what looked like twin girls around three, and had a five-year-old boy who was running around the shelves with a finger shoved up his nose. I considered warning him that if he fell, he would poke his brain out, but it struck me that losing intelligence was not something he was worried about.”
Eileen Cook, Unraveling Isobel

Eileen Cook
“Having someone you can talk to is cool, but it’s been my experience that it is a lot harder to find someone you can be quiet with.”
Eileen Cook, Unraveling Isobel

Eileen Cook
“When you're seventeen and the only friend you have in town is a stuffed animal that doesn't even belong to you, I think it's safe to say your life is officially in the shitter.”
Eileen Cook, Unraveling Isobel
tags: isobel

Eileen Cook
“My mom giggled and whacked Dick with a dish towel. I would have whacked him harder with the cutting board, but that was just my preference.”
Eileen Cook, Unraveling Isobel

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