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on 8 June 2014
To celebrate the release of Unrest I, along with a few other bloggers, was invited up to London for a ghost walk with members of S&S and the lovely author herself, Michelle Harrison. It was such a fun event and I had an awesome time so I just want to say a huge thank you to S&S and Michelle for inviting me.

There aren’t enough ghost stories in the world of YA at the moment so I was so excited to get my hands on a copy of Unrest. I was hoping for shadows skittering across the page in a glint of light, moments where I had to hold my breath and a general feeling of ‘how the hell are they going to get out of this one?’. Unrest completely delivered on all counts and Harrison’s latest novel is a lovely little ghost story that stayed with me much longer than I initially thought it would.

When I finished reading Unrest I was wholly satisfied and moved onto my next read (The Hunt, if anyone’s interested), content that I’d just had a thoroughly pleasant reading experience. However, I found myself thinking about Unrest quite a lot over the next few days, which just goes to show this is an insidiously powerful story, the way the best ghost stories are.

Stepping things up a notch from the Thirteen Treasures series, it’s clear from the outset that Harrison’s style is perfect for the YA age range and I can’t wait to see what she does next. We dive straight into the action in Unrest, with one of the best opening chapters I’ve read in a long while, filled with genuine scares and some wonderful turns of phrase that really did creep me out. The structure of Unrest felt like a classic horror movie, with the pace dipping and rising in all the right places. By the end of the story everything is so frantic it’s impossible to look away; I read the book in a single sitting and, for me, that’s the optimum way to enjoy any scary story.

I bonded with Elliott from page one and was rooting for him the whole way through his journey. When we learned about the accident that has led to his lack of sleep and haunting visitors I cared even more, so Harrison did a great job of creating a character that readers will really warm too. It did take me a little longer to warm up to Ophelia and I found her difficult to trust but she’s certainly an interesting character that I won’t forget in a hurry, which is infinitely more important that just being ‘likeable’.

The subplot and mystery of the ghost who used to live in Elliott’s flat was my favourite part of Unrest. It wasn’t given much page time but it didn’t need it, Harrison is a master of succinct writing and I love that she doesn’t waste words. Unrest is quite a lengthy book and could have got a little stale if the prose was overwritten but Harrison kept the language simple and the action ongoing, which kept me entertained for the whole 375 pages.

I haven’t read a modern YA novel like Unrest, I’ve seen a couple of mild comparisons to Anna Dressed in Blood but I haven’t read it yet (I’ve just started, though, and it’s great so far!) so I can’t comment on that. Either way, I really enjoyed Unrest and look forward to reading Harrison’s next YA offering.
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on 10 January 2014
Pruedence for [...]

I acquired Unrest at last year's Summer Scream Foyles event after having heard Michelle Harrison read a section of it and getting some serious goosebumps in the full blazing summer. Unfortunately my forever growing TBR pile meant that it had to be postponed again and again until.... Halloween rolled on. I put everything aside and immersed myself fully in the scary world on the night of witches, and boy what a scare!!!

I stupidly read it mostly at night after I finished work and couldn't seem to manage more than a few chapters at a time as got too creeped out every time. Now I should inform you that I'm not much of a horror person. Scratch that, I'm just plain and simple not a horror person. I don't watch horror and I don't read horror. Michelle Harrison may have changed all that as I now hunt for another similar thrilling read!!

The style of writing and the narration were laced with suspense, eeriness and mystery at every turn of the page. The suspense slowly built to a rising crescendo as small bizarre events occurred growing into bigger, more threatening and frightening events.

But no book's complete without a bit of romance, which Michelle naturally provided as mystery and ghosts wrapped themselves around the budding spark between Elliott and Ophelia.
I very much enjoyed this book not only for the spook factor, which was delivered in abundance, but also because the characters themselves had depth and were seen to grow with every nightmarish situation. Amongst the ghost hunting, some own personal soul searching was done and it was lovely reading and watching these two characters grow whilst also facing some of our own worst haunting nightmares.

I never thought I would stumble across a horror that I would actually enjoy, let alone love but I am lucky enough to say that I most certainly have. Unrest possessed romance, eeriness, mystery and depth in equal and abundant amount. And I loved every goose-bump endured moment of it. I would even go as far as saying that although reading it at night petrified me and made me jump at every creak of my new flat, I would definitely read it again in the exact same conditions.

Verdict: Couldn't have creeped me out or made me enjoy it more!!!
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on 17 May 2015
My goodness me this is a good book. A marvel of fiction that everyone seems to have enjoyed that just leaves you, genuinely, chilled and unnerved. Well done MH. Elliott and Ophelia are such wonderful characters, but the secondary characters, such as Hodge, Lesley and Tess, are just as interesting. A truly unexpected ending, right down to the last full chapter. Possibly my favourite stand-alone novel of all time. Well worth a read...with the light on, of course!
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I really loved unrest. I was completely hooked from the first page and had to keep reading page after page as I needed to know what happened next. It was both creepy and heartfelt and I thoroughly enjoyed every page.

Elliot is a really interesting character. He was in accident which technically left him dead only to be brought back to life by the paramedic team that arrived at the scene. Ever since then sometimes when he goes to sleep he finds himself quite literally drifting out of his body and seeing all manner of ghosts which frighten the life out of him. He is desperate to know whether it is as real as it feels or whether it is just him going crazy and starts work at an living history museum desperate for answers one way or another.

I'm not going to tell you too much more about the book because I don't want to spoil it (especially as I'm writing this a few months before it is actually released) but I will say the following few things.

The writing style in this book is exquisite and really draws you in as a reader. This story takes its time getting to where it wants to go and while sometimes this can drive me loopy in this case the writing style was so good it could have been twice as long and I still would have loved it.

The history geek in me loved the living history museum set up and loved the potential the setting gave to the story with having the characters and events based there.

I loved Ophelia who Elliot meets whilst working at the museum and adored the relationship that is built up between them. I really loved how different she was and how kick-ass she was and that she definitely wasn't one of your typical YA heroine stereotypes.

I really enjoyed the way this story went. Without telling you too much I liked how it all fit together and the explanations given for all the things that were happening and by the end I was left satisfied as a reader about what I had just read. This was particularly brilliant because so many books of late that I've read haven't had that sense of closure at the end leaving you with the feeling that you've only read half a book. I was delighted that this wasn't one of them!

All in all a fantastic read which I really enjoyed.
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on 12 June 2012
Unrest by Michelle Harrison is the first book I've read by this author. I'll admit what initially attracted me to this story is the really eye-catching cover. I just couldn't resist. I also love the idea of reading more YA books from a male perspective which this book does as well as the creepiness that comes with a book about the spirit world and of out-of-body experiences. Already I had high expectations before reading.

And Unrest is a really good book, one that didn't disappoint at all. Despite reading this book during a busy time for me, every time I put the book down I'd be looking forward to getting back into it. The story and the characters were really interesting and I was always left wanting more!

I really felt sorry for Elliott. Months ago, he was involved in a car accident which left him clinically dead for several minutes. Ever since then, he hasn't been sleeping well. He's been experiencing some terrifying things when asleep - out of body experiences in which he's disconnected from his physical body, able to see ghosts, sometimes being paralysed. In order to combat Elliott's feelings of fear relating to these episodes, he decides instead of avoiding the problem to place himself in a position of more terror. Thus, he gets a job at a reportedly haunted museum so that he can tell if what he's seeing and feeling is actually real or all in his mind like his father and his doctors believe.

I thought it was pretty gutsy of Elliott to go towards the scary ghosts and put himself more in danger at new job, Past Lives. I thought the idea of being part of a living museum like that would be a pretty awesome place to work just in general, never mind a haunted museum. And I was officially creeped out several times during this story. It makes me shudder even now the idea of leaving your body and having some thing else take over it. And while Elliott is trying hard to find out more about psychics and mediums and ghosts and any sort of defense mechanism he can in order to keep him safe, there is also another sort of mystery going on with Past Lives and its employees. I love the mixture of both storylines and the rather sweet relationship that Elliott begins with Ophelia. There's a genuine build up here, and you can see actual friendship and reason for them to be with each other. I absolutely loved it. There's a slightly spoilerish quote that I'll add at the end which make me go 'AWW' when I was reading.

This book is utterly creepy and engrossing. It's fascinating the information about ghosts and spirits and like I said, I just didn't want to put this book down. I really recommend it!

Quote:
I want the girl who wants and interesting portrait, not a beautiful one. I want the girl who's crazy enough to pull a fake gun on her enemies, who starts fights she knows she can't win. Who doesn't fall at someone's feet the minute she meets them. The girl who dances like she doesn't give a toss what anyone else thinks.
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on 13 June 2012
I've been a fan of Michelle Harrison since her debut, The Thirteen Treasures, so when I found out she was writing a ghost story for a YA audience, I got extremely excited. And I had every reason to.

Unrest immediately draws you into Elliot's unsettled and creepy world where he is haunted in his own house. Wondering whether he's losing his mind or experiencing something `other', he needs to find a way to make it stop. There's an electric tension running through the novel as Elliot's encounters become more frequent and infinitely more dangerous that kept me on the edge of my seat and tightly clutching the book in my hands, furiously turning the pages.

I immediately warmed to Elliot and his struggles (and not just because I love his name ridiculous amounts) and there were moments where I was genuinely scared for him. I fell a little in love with him if I'm honest. Ophelia was rather different. At first, I thought she was stuck-up and cold, exactly like Elliot did. but as she warmed to him and more and more was revealed about her life and her character, I began to see what Elliot saw in her. One of m favourite elements of their relationship was the stony start they had and that Elliot wasn't immediately drawn to her stunning beauty or anything like that. It was a natural and realistic progression that is really quite badly represented in YA sometimes. Ophelia continued to surprise me and with each revelation, I liked her a little more.

As well as the aching nail-biting tension, Michelle Harrison gripped me with the never-ending trail of questions that threaded through Unrest. Is Elliot mad, or is he really seeing ghosts? What does Tess want from Elliot? What exactly is Hodge up to? Is Lesley right about him? Each answer was revealed slowly, drip-feeding us hints and clues until being explained at just the right moment. Brilliant. I loved it.

Unrest is a chilling and atmospheric novel that will make night-time jaunts through the house a thing of the past.
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Several months ago Elliott was in a serious accident, one that left him dead for 2 minutes before the paramedics on scene were able to resuscitate him. Ever since that awful event he has been having problems sleeping, waking in the early hours each night to find that he is no longer in his body or finding that he is completely paralysed. That would be bad enough but add in the strange ghostly figures he sees during the experiences and it has left Elliott terrified - either he is losing his mind or he is being haunted and he can't figure out which one it is. To try and get some answers Elliott decides to take a job working at a supposedly haunted living history museum. He is hoping to convince himself that he has been imagining things but instead it just get a lot more complicated - especially when his body is taken over by a mysterious spirit that has been watching him as he sleeps.

I knew I wanted to read Unrest as soon as I saw the cover! I enjoyed Michelle Harrison's book The 13 Treasures and was looking forward to seeing what she would come up with for a teenage audience. I wasn't disappointed and Unrest was a captivating read that I didn't want to put down. This was a seriously creepy story and one I would highly recommend!

Elliott was a fairly typical teenage boy before his accident, he was confident, outgoing and enjoyed spending time with his friends and his brother going out meeting girls. Things have changed a lot for him since his near death experience though and he hates the pitying looks he gets from people who know about the accident. His sleep problems have had a major effect on him - he is exhausted, depressed and his confidence has taken a knock. It was easy to feel for him but I loved the fact that he didn't spend all his time sitting around moping, he wanted to figure out what was happening to him and try to find a way to stop it. Michelle Harrison's vivid descriptions of his out-of-body experiences were terrifying and felt so real that it was like you were living through them yourself - this wasn't a book that I would have felt comfortable reading just before bed! I don't want to give spoilers so I'm not going to say anything more about Elliott's experiences and what caused them but I will say that the answers we are given made it seem very believable which just made it all the more scary to think about.

I really enjoyed reading from Elliott's point of view and thought his voice felt realistic for a seventeen-year-old boy. I loved his relationships with his dad and his brother Adam (who was one of my favourite characters!) and really liked how he slowly built up a friendship with Ophelia before they became romantically involved. Ophelia was another likeable character who had been through a lot but was a survivor, she has a few secrets of her own and I enjoyed finding out more about her.

Unrest is a fantastic story for anyone who enjoys a good supernatural mystery, there are some shocking twists at the end that had me kicking myself for not guessing them sooner because they seemed so obvious when they were pointed out to me! I can't wait to see what Michelle Harrison comes up with next (hopefully another book about Elliott because although Unrest works well as a stand alone story I'd really like to see more of his abilities!)
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on 27 April 2012
In contrast to her previous trilogy which appealed to 9-12 year olds and teens, Unrest is firmly in the teen category. The protagonist Elliott has left art school after a near fatal accident has destroyed his confidence. He is feeling depressed and disturbed and his sleep is interrupted by strange visions and dreams. Gradually Elliott realises that he had an out of body experience and is now able to see ghosts, as he is woken again and again by a young woman who took her own life a few years before in his flat. Elliot's Mum is dead and his Dad is usually away at work so his only real confidant is his brother who is busy with his band and girlfriend Amy. Elliott decides to explore his ability by applying for a job at Past Lives, a kind of historical and paranormal theme park with old buildings some original, some moved from other areas and rebuilt at the centre each portraying life in different eras and many with their own ghost stories. Here Elliott meets Ophelia and comes into contact with a spirit that wants to use Elliott to gain revenge and it seems that it will stop at nothing to achieve it.
Michelle Harrison's novel is chilling and surprising as it the story twists and turns to a final gut churning ending. Readers who have enjoyed Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough or Into the Grey by Celine Kiernan will really enjoy Unrest, highly recommended.
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on 17 September 2012
Ohh this is good... it's mysterious, spooky and pulls you in.

Yes there are ghosts and yes the story starts Elliot finding one in his bathroom but the writing and pacing are gentle. I wasn't so much being dragged through Elliot's journey but rather walked along beside him. It takes a lot of skill to give the reader breathing space without ever letting them get bored.

The characters are plentiful and Past Lives (the haunted museum) is brilliant. I've been on ghost walks and to museums like that and Michelle Harrison has created a place I'd love to visit.

I think one of the things that make this book so special is that it is so ground in reality. Elliot is pragmatic in dealing with his new condition, Ophelia is strong, their relationship and well as his relationship with his family don't feel forced. I really liked that his father and brother, while sceptic, were supportive.

There are twists and turns along the way and I fooled until almost the end of the book.
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on 28 June 2013
I gave this book 5 starts because it was a very interesting and unique subject to write about. I would recommend this book to people who enjoy learning about hosts and things like that but defiantly not to children 10 and under with a strong choice of language at times. But this is the best book I have read since the Harry Potter series.
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