Unravel, written by Sharon Jennings

written by Sharon Jennings
Red Deer Press, 2021
978-0-8899-5619-3 (pb) $14.95
for Grades 6 to 8

Fiction | Mystery | Family | Secrets | Abduction

Rebecca lives with her dad, and they move around A LOT! Every time she gets to know the people in the neighbourhood where they live or make friends, her dad decides it’s time to move again. Rebecca’s dad has told her that all her family are dead and it’s just the two of them, but why aren’t there any photographs of anyone? She also wonders why she doesn’t go to school like other kids and wears baggy clothes from thrift shops. When Rebecca turns 12, she wants answers to her questions, but this makes her dad angrier than she’s ever seen him before. With the help of Phoebe, the mysterious neighbour in her new building, Rebecca begins to unravel the truth about her life.

Sharon Jennings has outdone herself with this fabulous page-turner that kids won’t want to put down. In Rebecca, she’s created a strong protagonist who has lived a strange life. She never appears to be a victim but a smart, curious girl who wants to know the truth. The supporting characters are an interesting lot, some of whom come to know and love Rebecca and want what’s best for her. The chapters are short, and the plot moves along quickly, holding even the most reluctant readers’ attention. I would highly recommend this for intermediate students who enjoy a good mystery or as a classroom read-aloud.

Sandra O’Brien is a former editor and teacher with an MEd in Children’s Literature.

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