The Unresolved

by T.K. Welsh – I picked this one up because I love history and I love ghost stories, and this is both. I admit, I was also curious to see if Welsh could pull off what Katharine Weber couldn’t in Triangle — successfully combining authentic NYC history with a story that appeals to teens. I think Welsh has succeeded admirably here.

From the publisher:
Mallory Meer has just turned fifteen years old, and within an hour, thanks to the only boy she’s ever loved, she’ll be dead, a victim of the General Slocum steamship disaster. Bound by love to her grieving family, and outraged by the multitude of senseless deaths, Mallory haunts those responsible for the tragedy, determined to see that justice is served.

Young love doomed, a horrific tragedy, and a ghost bound to earth by the terrible event. What more could you ask for? I sped through the first few chapters and then read the end. This is the ultimate test of the “goodness” of a book for me — if I can read the end and then still want to go back and finish the rest of the book, it’s a good’un. The Unresolved is a great one. Mallory is the most well-developed ghostly character I’ve seen in a long, long time…maybe even since my Blossom Culp days. I can’t recall another story where I’ve felt so connected to the ghost, and I was particularly impressed with the way Welsh moved Mallory in and out of other characters and told their stories in that way. Welsh skillfully manipulates emotions and develops characters through the relatively short novel, and I found myself genuinely caring about these people.

My only quibble, and there’s always one, is with the names. We have “Mallory” and “Dustin” — both German, one Lutheran and one Jewish. The names just struck me as very WB and not in sync with the time (early 1900s). I did a little research and found the name Mallory is French, and didn’t come into regular use until the 1960s. Dustin is derived from the Scandinavian, but didn’t come into common use until the 1940s. It seems like Welsh just picked the names out of the air. But, this is a small quibble, and certainly not enough to keep you from reading this fabulous story.

10 thoughts on “The Unresolved”

  1. Congratulations on the BBYA nom! I think it is well-deserved. My grandmother was German, and I recall her telling stories about a terrible boat tragedy where the woman who was her attendant at her wedding died. When I read the description of this, I just had to read it. Still not sure if it is the same tragedy that Gram talked about, but the story sure is fascinating.


  2. Patty:

    Thanks so much for your review of THE UNRESOLVED.

    I’m happy to announce that THE UNRESOLVED has just been nominated for the 2007 Best Books for Young Adults list (BBYA). It will be discussed at the American Library Association’s Midwinter conference (ALAMW), in January, 2007, in Seattle, and will be voted upon at the show.

    Regarding the color of Dustin’s eyes, please note that while both his parents had brown eyes, Mallory never knew Tabea; Mallory thinks Dustin’s eyes are like his father’s while, in fact, they’re more like his mother’s.

    Regarding the names, I chose Dustin and Mallory because of their connotations in German. Dustin Brauer means Valiant Fighter or Dark Stone & Brewer. And Mallory Meer means Army Counselor or Without Good Fortune (!) & Sea or Of the Sea.

    Again, thanks for your kind words and support. For further information, please feel free to visit my website/blog at http://www.tkwelsh.com.

    Best wishes,

    T.K. Welsh

    P.S. Notwithstanding the comments about my editor at Dutton/Penguin, I think she’s a peach!


  3. I just bought my daughter this book and she loved it, I’m reading it now and have to say I really like it too. I also like the fact that it’s a historical event about my city that was unknown to me.


  4. I thought the book was fabulous. And I didn’t catch the eye reference you mentioned. Where was that? What else has Welsh written?


  5. Yeah, the editing left something to be desired, but I did really like the way Mallory was characterized. And yes, Blossom Culp rocks! I may have to re-read some of those books now. I just bought my daughter a set of them…


  6. I stopped reading this after Dustin was described as having his mother’s eyes and then as having his father’s eyes two pages later. That, and because the sudden omniscient qualities, that you liked really didn’t feel natural to me. But I agree with you about Blossom Culp. LOVED those.


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