It often isn’t fair that the feelings of children aren’t taken into consideration when massive family changes are about to take place. Isobel knows that her mother is making a big mistake when she marries a guy she’s only known for a few months. If that isn’t bad enough, they have to leave the city and move to a small island. Isobel is sure her life will never be the same in Unraveling Isobel by Eileen Cook.

There’s nothing quite worse than having to move to a new town, leaving behind all that is familiar. At least Isobel thinks there is nothing worse than having to move, except having to move to a small island town with her new stepfather and stepbrother. If that wasn’t bad enough, she also has to contend with town gossip about the deaths of her stepfather’s first wife and daughter. Isobel feels her life is coming unhinged and then she starts seeing things, or rather people that shouldn’t be there. 

Isobel doesn’t like Richard, or “Dick,” her new stepfather. The antagonism between Isobel and Dick continues to grow, as do the so-called hauntings. As a result of her behavior, Dick forces Isobel to see a local psychologist. In a small town where everyone knows everyone’s business, this isn’t helpful to Isobel fitting in. To make matters worse, the psychologist is the father of the school’s resident mean girl and Miss Popularity, Nicole Percy. As hostilities continue to build between Isobel and Dick, her attraction to and subsequent “romance” with Nate, as well as her friendship with a local librarian are the only things keeping her sane. Is Isobel losing her mind like her biological father? Will her affinity for art be her way out or a continuing wedge between her and her mom? Is it possible that Dick or Nate had anything to do with the earlier deaths? Is Isobel being haunted or is there something more sinister at play? The more Isobel learns, the more she fears for her sanity and safety.

Unraveling Isobel isn’t a typical ghost story. There are moments of moaning, groaning and complaining, but these are the normal “will I fit in and do I really care” issues that many teenagers (and some adults) deal with on a regular basis. Isobel faces issues and situations that are daunting for anyone, teen or adult. Isobel isn’t happy with the situations she faces, but she tries to deal with them with very little support from her mother. Isobel isn’t a super-hero, super-athletic or a genius, she’s simply a teenage girl trying to make the “lemonade” out of the lemons life has handed her while maintaining her sanity. Unraveling Isobel is classified as a YA story, but like so many YA books, there’s something that may appeal to readers of all ages. 

Look for Unraveling Isobel to be released on 01/03/2012 by Simon Pulse.

Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes from the publisher. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”