All Unquiet Things

All Unquiet Things

by Anna Jarzab

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All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab

A riveting thriller set at a California prep school!

Carly: She was sweet. Smart. Self-destructive. She knew the secrets of Brighton Day School’s most privileged students. Secrets that got her killed.

Neily: Dumped by Carly for a notorious bad boy, Neily didn’t answer the phone call she made before she died. If he had, maybe he could have helped her. Now he can’t get the image of her lifeless body out of his mind.

Audrey: She’s the reason Carly got tangled up with Brighton’s fast crowd in the first place, and now she regrets it—especially since she’s convinced the police have put the wrong person in jail. Audrey thinks the murderer is someone at Brighton, and she wants Neily to help her find out who it is.

As reluctant allies Neily and Audrey dig into their shared past with Carly, her involvement with Brighton’s dark goings-on comes to light. But figuring out how Carly and her killer fit into the twisted drama will force Audrey and Neily to face hard truths about themselves and the girl they couldn’t save.

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375894077
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 01/12/2010
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Lexile: HL780L (what's this?)
File size: 3 MB
Age Range: 14 Years

About the Author

Anna Jarzab grew up entirely in the suburbs, first outside Chicago and then in San Francisco’s East Bay area, where All Unquiet Things is set. She currently lives in New York City. This is her first novel. Visit her online at

From the Hardcover edition.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One
Senior Year

It was the end of summer, when the hills were bone dry and brown; the sun beating down and shimmering up off the pavement was enough to give you heatstroke. Once winter came, Empire Valley would be compensated for five months of hot misery with three months of torrential rain, the kind of downpours that make the freeways slick and send cars sliding into one another on ribbons of oil. On the bright side, the hills would turn a green so lustrous they would look as if they had been spray painted, and in the morning the fog would transform the valley into an Arthurian landscape. But before the days got shorter and the rain came, there was the heat and the dust and the sun, conspiring to drive the whole town crazy.

School was starting on Monday. I had two more days of freedom. I hadn’t slept very much since Wednesday night; my palms were sweating, and everything ached with the ache that comes after a long hike and a couple of rough falls. My mother wanted to take me to a doctor for the insomnia, so the night before school started I didn’t go home. Instead, I went to Empire Creek Bridge, where I thought I could clear my head. The bridge was a small, overgrown stone arch, a mimicry of ancient Roman architecture that was more about form than function and could only accommodate one car at a time going one direction on its carefully placed cobblestones. A narrow, slow-moving body of water ran beneath it, and clumps of oak trees rose up near its banks. The bridge was almost useless, but very picturesque. Along one side of it was a small ledge meant for pedestrians, and this was where I lay down so that I wouldn’t get run over, and closed my eyes. I needn’t have bothered. All night, not one car passed. I could have died on that bridge and no one would have known.

This is not to say that I wanted to die. I wasn’t—and have never been—suicidal. The valley was blanketed by a late, torturous heat wave that made the shadows the only decent place to sit during the day, and the dry winds kicked up the dust, making me uneasy. I had grown up in Empire Valley and was used to these uncomfortable summers, but this time I had begun to feel a restlessness reverberating through my bones like the persistent hum of cicadas.

It had been a long, slow summer. I had spent most of it reading massive Russian novels on my porch, playing video games, and sleeping until noon. I didn’t have a lot of friends and I didn’t see much of anyone apart from my parents. I had plenty of schoolwork, too—my class schedule for the upcoming year promised to be brutal, with six AP classes and college application season right around the corner—but nothing seemed to be able to occupy me for very long. My mother had an easy explanation for my agitation—it was my senior year and I was under a lot of pressure, especially from my father, to chart my future—but it was more complicated than that.

There was another reason I had come to Empire Creek Bridge. The year before, almost to the day, a girl I loved had died on this bridge, shot in cold blood. The police considered the matter solved—there had been an arrest, a trial, a guilty verdict—but Carly’s murder retained an air of mystery for me and so did the place where she died. I had so many questions, but nobody except Carly seemed capable of answering them, and by the time I had found her body she was already dead. Despite all the effort I had put into blocking that night from my mind and trying to forget, the murder still haunted me. I didn’t know what help spending time at the bridge would be, but I had been drawn there throughout that boiling summer, and I thought it was best to go with my instincts, even though they never seemed to do me any good.


As the sun came up that Saturday morning, I sat watching the animals—deer, hawks, the occasional wild turkey—move around on the scorched foothills. Soon, a patrol car pulled up, its siren whooping to get my attention. I had already moved from the ledge down to the creek bank, and was splashing some water on my face. The doors slammed, and I could hear footsteps making their way behind me. I felt a hand on my shoulder.

“Neily Monroe?” The officer leaned over me. “Your parents are very worried. Did you sleep here last night?”

“Yeah,” I said, though I hadn’t slept at all.

“Bryson?” The other officer was on the bridge.

Bryson stood. “He’s pretty out of it. We should get him home.”

His partner came down and took a look at me. “You feel sick?”

I nodded.

“You look sick,” he said.

“What are you doing here?” Bryson asked. “This is a park. You can’t sleep in a park overnight.”

I glanced around. “Doesn’t look like a park.”

“It is according to the city of Empire Valley.” He looked at his partner for confirmation, but the other cop just shrugged. “Anyway, it’s public property.”

“I am the public,” I said.

“You want to be a wiseass? We’ll put you in the back of that patrol car and haul you down to the station if you keep that up.” Bryson narrowed his eyes at me.

“Can’t you just write me a ticket or something?” I asked. I put my hand to my forehead, suddenly dizzy. I was hungry, too, and already sweating from the heat. I wanted my bed.

Bryson recognized me then, as I knew he would. There were very few full-time police officers in Empire Valley, which had the lowest crime rate in the Bay Area, according to the Chronicle. Bryson had been in the station the night I found Carly.

“What were you doing out here?” he asked again, suspicious. “Does this have anything to do with last year?”

“I don’t know.”

The other cop, whose name tag told me he was Officer Lopez, put a hand on my shoulder. “Let’s get you out of here.”

I tried to follow him up the creek bank, but I couldn’t keep my balance and fell flat in the mud. I thought it might be all right just to lie where I fell.

Bryson slipped his hands under my armpits and tugged at me. “Come on, Neily, you’ve got to help me here,” he grunted, digging his heels into the mud. “Steady as she goes there, captain. Lopez, help me get him in the car.”

“Maybe we should take him to the hospital,” Lopez suggested, and Bryson nodded.

We drove along Empire Creek Road slowly. I let my eyes go lazy and the trees blurred together. The sun was no longer showing. A blanket of clouds had blotted it out. I couldn’t help feeling relieved; maybe it would rain soon and the heat wave would end. I put my head back against the seat and closed my eyes.


At the hospital they must have given me some kind of sleeping pill or a tranquilizer, because I woke up at four-thirty on Sunday afternoon feeling gruesome. I stared at the ceiling, bringing the cracks and paint bubbles into focus. I was in my bedroom and could hear somebody moving around downstairs. It was probably my mother, but then there was a low voice, my father’s voice. The fact that he had come meant that, to them, this was serious.

I got out of bed and pulled on a pair of jeans. The room was hot and stuffy, so I quit rummaging around for a shirt and returned to the bed to gather myself. When I had left the house, my room had been a disaster, per usual: clothes—clean and dirty—heaped in piles on the floor, papers strewn all over my desk, garbage spilling out of the trash can. My mother had been in here. She had cleaned.

I finally ambled downstairs, trying not to look so much like a zombie, although God knows for whose benefit. I caught sight of myself in the hall mirror and drew back; my skin was a pale gray, the color of chewed gum, and my dark, wavy hair, which needed a cut, was plastered against my face. There were red creases where my cheeks had been pressed against the pillows. I looked like I was about to hurl. The sedatives hadn’t sat well in my stomach; it churned at the smell of brownies coming from the kitchen. My mother had gone on a rampage of nervous baking. The kitchen counter was covered with platters, each piled high with a different baked good. My parents were at the kitchen table, arguing.

I cleared my throat. They stopped talking about me and looked up.

“Oh, Neily, you’re awake,” my mother clucked, getting out of her seat and wrapping her arms around me. I swayed a little, still unsteady on my feet. She pressed her hand against my forehead. “How are you feeling?”

“Like I’ve been hit by a truck.”

My father didn’t say anything. He just stared at me like he didn’t know who I was. The house seemed smaller with him in it; his self-righteousness was crowding us out.

“What’s he doing here?” I asked, opening the refrigerator and getting a carton of orange juice. My parents had divorced when I was seven, and I could have counted on two hands the number of times my father had visited since he’d moved out. They had joint custody, which was strictly enforced by my mother. She insisted I visit my father every other weekend and sometimes on major holidays, but I don’t think either of us enjoyed our time together much.

From the Hardcover edition.

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All Unquiet Things 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 67 reviews.
BookluverCarol More than 1 year ago
Lately it's rare to find such a remarkably well-written YA novel. With all the so-so written YA novels in shelves, ALL UNQUIET THINGS is sure to stand out. The voices of the two main characters-Neily and Aubrey-are so strong and so realistically portrayed that I found myself reading their story well into the night. While their voices are a bit familiar that you need to check whose part it is, their narration really sucks you in. Their grief, frustrations, anger, and their other feelings just leapt off the page and felt so true. I do read quite a few of mystery books that I can easily tell who the culprit is a few chapters into the story, but Jarzab kept me guessing and doubting myself. I just couldn't believe the twist at the end! It was superbly well done. The book does start a bit slow, but the story picks up a few chapters in. All the characters -even the secondary ones-were written in a way that it felt as if they could be someone you knew. Jarzab is so great at writing characters and plotting out a novel that I didn't believe that this was her debut novel. Her sophisticated prose, the character's observations, and the way the author reveals each secret makes the book very unforgettable. Overall, ALL UNQUIET THINGS is a book that I strongly recommend and that should be on everyone's list and one that I can't stop gushing about. Jarzab has made be a fan for life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books I have ever read. It has Strong characters and a good plot. I highly reccomend this book to anyone who likes mystery and suspence.
lisalovestoRead More than 1 year ago
Anna Jarzab's writing style is excellent; there was never a dull moment in the book. Jarzab's characters were realistic, and relatable. I thought that she did a good job of describing the current things high schoolers face everyday. I would recommend this book to anyone in high school, male or female.
GracieGT2 More than 1 year ago
Carly Ribelli was the first girl Neily Monroe ever loved - and the first girl that ever broke his heart. But that doesn't matter anymore. Carly is dead, murdered, and the killer has been put in jail. Neily's only focus right now is pulling his life back together. That is, until Audrey Ribelli shows up, asking for Neily's help. She believes that the convicted killer - her father - is innocent, and the real murderer is still out there. Neily hesitantly agrees, and together, the two reluctant allies try to hunt down Carly's killer. It may seem easy to simply put this book in the "mystery/suspense" category. However, it is so much more: a tense drama about the unraveling lives of those affected by death, a tragic romance that demonstrates our longing to be loved, a reflection on the human desire to find our place and be a part of something. The characters are some of the most complex and realistic I've ever read; the dialogue is sharp and witty, and the setting is vividly drawn. the heart of the book is the characters: Neily, who tries to hide behind a dry, sarcastic facade to mask his grief and loss of purpose; Audrey, who is headstrong and determined but distracted by the allure of the "normal" teenage life she will never have; and Carly, who struggles with her own losses and runs from her problems by reinventing herself as a girl without any. All Unquiet Things is a stunning debut that will keep you on the edge of your seat, unable to put the book down, until the curtain is finally drawn and the answers finally explained. This is a book that will get you thinking and keep you on your toes; expect long nights of rapidly flipping pages in order to discover the true identity of the murderer. Even then, the book's emotional and hopeful final pages are more compelling than the heartstopping climax. An amazing book; I look forward to whatever Ms. Jarzab writes next!
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Perfect storyline, characters, flashbacks and timing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so good!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book,loved the mystery kept me glued to it
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Amazing. Worth the time! :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! When i started it i found it hard to get into, i stopped reading it then started it again and so on but a couple days ago i made myself get passed the place i had always stopped and i finished the book. In the end it ended just as it should have, life is full of what ifs and this book is a great example. I love books with a deeper meaning, ones that make you sit and think and this is one of them. For those of you who own or think it looks like a good book, it is and its so worth reading. Dont give up on it because at first its a hard book to get into, it may become one of your favorite as it is now one of mine. I will be looking for more from this author because it is obvious that she can write amazing stories. Plus shes has some very good quotes. :)
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Jenna Matuza More than 1 year ago
Wow awesome book confusing at times but trust me u will enjoy it im looking 4 more books by the author!!!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It took me a while to get into this book but after I was maybe a third or fourth of the way through it I didn't put it down. Shocking ending!
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