Tess has always been tormented by waking visions that make her question her sanity. When the orphanage she lives in burns down, she decides to face her fears and find out once and for all what is wrong with her. She believes the truth must lie with her parents, and so, armed with only an address and phone number, Tess travels to a crumbling mansion in rural Quebec, where she discovers evidence of mistreatment of mental patients. She also makes an unlikely ally and gradually unearths her family’s sad history—and finally accepts the truth about her paranormal powers.
Part of the SECRETS—a series of seven linked novels that can be read in any order.
About the author
When librarians finally granted Kelley Armstrong an adult card, she made straight for the epic fantasy and horror shelves. She spent the rest of her childhood and teen years happily roaming fantastical and terrible worlds, and vowed that someday she'd write a story combining swords, sorcery, and the ravenous undead. That story began with the New York Times bestselling Sea of Shadows and continues with Empire of Night.
Armstrong's first works for teens were the New York Times bestselling Darkest Powers and Darkness Rising trilogies. She lives in rural Ontario with her husband, three children, and far too many pets.
- Nominated, Forest of Reading Red Maple Award
- Nominated, Saskatchewan Young Readers' Choice Awards - Snow Willow
- Commended, CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens
- Short-listed, Canadian Children's Book Centre (CCBC) Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People
"The realistic landscape of racist microagressions that plague Métis Jackson is heartbreakingly matter-of-fact. A compelling mystery."
"Tess’s spunk, determination, and sense of adventure will turn readers into allies immediately. It’s hard not to root for someone who has nothing and is ready to pursue any possible clue at all costs...Armstrong does an excellent job navigating difficult issues, including racism and mental illness...A compelling story that’s difficult to put down."
"Readers will find the mystery of what was going on at the abandoned house both intriguing and scary. That Tess and Jackson operate so independently will appeal to the age group, too. Bonus points to Armstrong for highlighting the history of mental illness in Canada and Campbell’s despicable treatment of depressed women. Settings of small-town Hope, the restrictive orphanage, the spooky mansion that holds so many scary possibilities and the McGill campus will hold readers’ interest and inspire them to reach for the other books in the series."
"Part of a series of seven linked but independent novels, The Unquiet Past can stand on its own as intended but will likely entice readers to seek out the rest of the series. This fast-paced paranormal thriller will appeal to fans of Caroline B. Cooney and Lois Duncan. Tess is inexperienced and naïve, but despite her secret visions and fear that she is going crazy, she is a strong, independent young woman who learns from her mistakes.The story is grounded in time and place, with just enough historical details on Metis, French-language rights, and psychological research to enhance the story."
"Features a creepy supernatural element. Tess’s search for the meaning of her waking visions leads her to an abandoned mental hospital, a series of illegal experiments, and a boy who’s looking for answers of his own."
School Library Journal
"This would make a great read aloud as it would stimulate discussions and questions around mental health and medical ethics. Learning a little about the past in this historical fiction may help students understand the need for effective well-being initiatives today."
Ms. J's Book Reviews 4 School Libraries blog
Other titles by Kelley Armstrong
The Final Trial
Royal Guide to Monster Slaying, Book 4
Someone Is Always Watching
The Serpent's Fury
Royal Guide to Monster Slaying, Book 3
The Gryphon's Lair
Royal Guide to Monster Slaying, Book 2
Life Is Short and Then You Die
Mystery Writers of America Presents First Encounters with Murder