Unraveling Isobel by Eileen Cook

Standalone. Simon Pulse (January 2012) Library
Isobel’s life is falling apart. Her mom just married some guy she met on the internet only three months before, and is moving them to his sprawling, gothic mansion off the coast of nowhere. Goodbye, best friend. Goodbye, social life. Hello, icky new stepfather, crunchy granola town, and unbelievably good-looking, officially off-limits stepbrother.

But on her first night in her new home, Isobel starts to fear that it isn’t only her life that’s unraveling—her sanity might be giving way too. Because either Isobel is losing her mind, just like her artist father did before her, or she’s seeing ghosts. Either way, Isobel’s fast on her way to being the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons.

Being uprooted from your home and your friends just before senior year pretty much can ruin the life of any teenager. Life gets pretty complicated for Isobel when her mom announces she is going to get married after dating a guy for three months and she is forced to move into his oversized mansion on an island that's not her home with his son who can't stand looking at her. Oh, and did I mention a ghost trying to send a message to her beyond the grave? Yeah, senior year is going to be different. Let's just hope Isobel survives it.

My mom usually borrows my library books when she needs something new to read during her breaks at work. After finishing Unraveling Isobel she kept on commenting that I needed to read it, I needed to read it. She wanted to discuss the end with me. I gave in. And I loved it. It was so entertaining, funny, and supremely suspenseful. Towards the end I would just walk into the room my mom was in and just have these outbursts of what I thought was going to happen (she does it all the time with me so I felt justified). The mystery and the supernatural side of the story were fantastic. I couldn't have hoped for better. It all came down in this amazing way. It's a fantastic book by an author that I must read more of.

So there's this whole thing with Isobel and her parents. Her mother doesn't like that she likes art. She doesn't think its "practical" but more likely she doesn't want her to end up like her father. You don't really get a sense of love between her and her mother. Mostly it's her mother who I find issue with. She treats her like she's going to end up like her father who had a mental breakdown and is schizophrenic. She sees what she could be, not who she is and I was so annoyed by that. Her and her father are estranged. It's really sad when she starts talking about him and her childhood with him. It was a sweet spot in the story that I liked. The whole thing with her is that she's worried she will end up like him. That she's "crazy". The author brings up the issue of schizophrenia in such a classy way. I really commend her on that. 

Her new family has had some issues with their family as well. Richard or Dick whom she endearingly calls, is her new stepfather whose wife and child died months ago. Dick is a pain. He's very just ugh. Her stepbrother, Nate, clearly is the love interest from day one and as you can see from the summary you know it's going down that way. He's very brooding in the beginning. he has her sense of humor and they get along fairly well in the beginning. He is her stepbrother but I didn't find it weird. As long as they aren't blood related I'm good. Others might not think the same.
"Remember, ghosts don't care if you believe in them. They can still believe in you."

The whole mystery around the deaths at the Morrigan Estate really made the story. The ghosts amplified that. Ghosts in books are always great especially when done right. It's done right in this book. I don't know what more to say but the combination of ghosts and mystery kept me on the edge of my seat. I absolutely loved the way the author made the story come to life in every single way. I will say that it took a little while to get used to the way Isobel spoke. She says a lot of metaphors to make you laugh. She is funny it's just a little different and might take some time to get used to. But, that and the stepbrother thing was it. This book was a success for me. 

Overall: Everything about this book was fantastic. There might be one or two things that readers might find problem with but other than that it was a riveting story and well worth looking over those tiny details.

I happen to be getting one of Cook's book from the library soon. Check out The Almost Truth


  1. I love when a book makes you share with anyone who will listen, usually my hubby has to deal with these outbursts. I love the mystery, ghost aspect of this, wonderful review Adriana, I will pick this up!

    1. I usually go to my parents which is weird since my brother is the only other "reader" in the family.

  2. I'm not sure if the stepbrother thing will bother me. I may give this book a shot anyway since it sounds pretty darn good. Great review!

    1. There's no love connection right away (although it's obvious it's going to happen) so you might not feel like it's a big deal.

  3. I haven't read too many ghost stories. Okay, I've only read one and I didn't make it very far into it. I got freaked out and quit. Haha. But this sounds pretty good. I like the mystery aspect of it. I'm going to have to find this at my library!

  4. I love that you and your mom got to chat a lot about this book and that you would burst into the room and give your thoughts. The ghost aspect sounds interesting. I don't know if the stepbrother thing would bother me- I am guessing no- since they are already seniors in high school when they meet and they are not blood related.

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. I haven't heard of this book but you have amazing mum :) I love when my mum and I read the same book and then discuss it. This one seems like a great read. It's emotional with realistic plot and great characters. Great review Adriana :)

  6. "walk into the room my mom was in and just have these outbursts of what I thought was going to happen" haha don't worry i do that so many times to my sister she must be annoyed by that. XD But this story sounds so amazing to read. If it weren't for the fact that I am very limited on getting and receiving books, I would pick tho sup because it sounds very emotional and beautiful and something all around amazing to read.

    Thanks for introducing me to this lovely story, Adriana! ^^

  7. I love that you and your mother could both get excited about this book! I haven't actually heard much about it before, but I'm sure I've seen the cover around. I really like the sound of Isobel, especially with her unique sense of humour. And it's great to hear that the author handles the schizophrenia in the story well. Lovely review! I will definitely have to check this out one day now. :)


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