Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Teen/YA Review: And Then Everything Unraveled

I chose to read Jennifer Sturman’s YA novel, And Then Everything Unraveled, because it sounded like a great mix of realistic teen life, with a unique plot and a mystery to make things interesting.  I was right!  This compelling novel kept me turning the pages late into the night.

Sixteen-year old Delia is quite happy, living in computer-crazy Silicon Valley with her mother, T.K., hanging out with her two best friends, and sneaking in some surfing whenever she can.  Her quiet life falls apart one day, though, when the news is delivered that her mother disappeared while on a trip to Antarctica.  Delia’s reaction to the news is surprising:

They were probably expecting a more over-the-top response.  And I have to admit, for a split second I did feel like somebody had vacuumed out my insides.

But almost instantly, that feeling gave way to an almost bizarre sort of calm.  When I reached for the emotion that was usually right there, waiting to be tapped, I came up empty.

Because I just couldn’t believe my mother was dead.

I still can’t.  I mean, everyone else is using the past tense when they talk about her, but it’s all a huge mistake.  It has to be.  I don’t know what happened exactly, but T.K. will explain everything when she returns.

And I’m sure she will return.  This is a woman whose favorite appliance is a label maker – she’s way too organized to die by just disappearing like that, and she’s much too determined to let a little thing like being stranded in the Antarctic to do her in.

Especially when she’s the only parent I have left.

Despite Delia’s determination, her mother is presumed dead, and Delia is shipped off to live in New York City with two very different aunts who she’s never met before – one is a free-living bohemian who lives in a loft, and the other is an uptown snob.  So, while Delia’s trying to adjust to a radically different lifestyle, a snooty new private school, and relatives she didn’t know existed, she’s also continuing to search for her mother.  Oh, and just to make things more interesting, there’s a really cute guy at her new school who she’s not sure she can trust.

I really enjoyed this book and got caught up in its mystery.  The characters have depth, and the writing style is engaging, moving the story along quickly.  My only problem with the book, in fact, is that it’s one of those books that only tells half a story, and I want to hear the rest right now!  It ends with, “To Be Continued…” To be fair, there is some resolution to part of the story at the end of the novel.  I guess I’ll just have to get the sequel, And Then I Found Out the Truth, to find out the rest!

244 pages, Point (an imprint of Scholastic)


Andrea said...

I've been hearing good things. I'm glad you liked it though I'm not a fan of "to be continued" type books. Nice review.

Sue Jackson said...

Same here, Andrea! There is just too much emphasis on series and sequels these days. A good series is wonderful sometimes, but I also enjoy stand-alone novels. If there is a series or a sequel, I prefer for each book to tell a complete story.


Jan von Harz said...

Oh I do hate when a series leaves you hanging especially when I don't know it is a series. But this one sound worth the read, I will just remember to pick up both. Thanks for the review

Laura @ I'm Booking It said...

I remember looking at this one-- is there anything inappropriate (or requiring discussion) for a 12 year old? I thought my daughter and I might both enjoy it, but then I forgot.

Sue Jackson said...

Laura -

I think it might be OK for your daughter, though you might want to discuss some parts with her. There are some teen characters who drink and take drugs...but those are clearly the "bad guys" of the book! The main character is likable and has good moral standards. As for romance, there is some, but she worries about her first kiss, so it's all quite innocent.