Thursday, April 26, 2012

Unrest by Michelle Harrison - unsettling, unnerving...and coming to Abingdon


When I was a teenager I loved ghost stories, and the scarier the better. As well as lots of 'true life' ghost books (Reader's Digest Book of the Unknown is one that springs to mind) I devoured every collection of ghost stories I could get my hands on, and this rich diet of the undead brought me to the attention of my English teacher, who - after a harmless walk around the school ended up with me describing trees as 'twisted victims of Satan' - wrote 'See Me' in big red pen, and at that point we both decided to 'widen' my range of reading...

Anyway - a chilling, well-written ghost story for teens is always welcome at Mostly Books, and Unrest by Michelle Harrison is simply superb. We know Michelle very well for her '13 Treasures' series of books, which are written for slightly younger readers. There are plenty of scares and shocks in these 'dark fairy' books which served as a kind of reboot of the fairy genre - but in Unrest, Michelle has gone off into much darker territory, entirely appropriate for an older audience - one that would have grown up on Michelle's twisted fairies...

Unrest is the story of Elliot, a seventeen-year-old who feels and sees strange things when he falls asleep. His doctor tells him it is sleep paralysis and hallucinations as a result of an accident but Elliot thinks he is leaving his body when he sleeps - and also seeing a ghost. In pursuit of the truth, Elliot gets a job at the (supposedly) haunted museum, where he meets not only the enigmatic Ophelia, but also someone (or something) far more sinister. Elliot begins to suspect it is the ghost of a boy who died 100 years before, and as events take an increasing horrifying turn, there is a race to discover the truth.

Julia at Mostly Books read this as soon as the proof came in, in a single sitting. She said "this is a genuinely chilling and totally gripping ghost story, and - with Elliot's nightitime experiences and visions - it shares elements of, say, The Sixth Sense in terms of the atmosphere it creates. There's a particularly scary night-time sleepwalking scene that is *definitely* not for the faint-hearted, the book grips (and shocks) from the start, and doesn't really let you you go to the gruesome (and very unexpected) twist at the end. I loved it".

So - how chuffed are we that we are welcoming Michelle to Abingdon next Friday (May 4) and taking her into two Abingdon schools? First up is a joint event with Larkmead School and St Helen & St Katharine at midday, then onto John Mason School in the afternoon.

Having been a editorial assistant in children's publishing, and even a bookseller (how cool is that?) Michelle now writes full time and lives in Oxfordshire.

If you are lucky enough to hear her talk, you'll be able to get copies of her book - and get them signed - on the day. But if not, we will have signed copies, and you can pre-order them from us at the shop...

And if you would still like to know more about Michelle and the book, take a look at the trailer...

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