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Unraveling Hardcover – April 24, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 190 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Unraveling Series

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Editorial Reviews


"This is one awesome book. In Norris' debut, she takes an oft-used premise in YA today (girl dies, then wakes up) and turns it into a rip-roaring, sci-fi adventure. The plot twists and turns at the end of almost every chapter."--Romantic Times, Top Pick!

“Leav[es] the reader wanting more and begging for a sequel to this multilayered debut.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA))

“Readers will enjoy the nonstop action and romance.” (School Library Journal)

“A satisfying puzzle full of novel twists and provocative clues.” (Publishers Weekly)

“This high-stakes thriller—complete with mind-bending sci-fi twist—will hook you and never let go.”— (Pittacus Lore, #1 New York Times bestselling author of I Am Number Four)

“If Veronica Mars snatched a case from Mulder and Scully, you’d get this fast-paced page-turner. With a heroine full of moxie, wicked surprises around every corner, and non-stop action, UNRAVELING is an irresistible thriller.” (Andrea Cremer, New York Times bestselling author of the Nightshade trilogy)

From the Back Cover

Two days before the start of her junior year, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit by a pickup truck and killed—as in blinding light, scenes of her life flashing before her, and then nothing. Except the next thing she knows, she's opening her eyes to find Ben Michaels, a loner from her high school whom Janelle has never talked to, leaning over her. And even though it isn't possible, she knows—with every fiber of her being—that Ben has somehow brought her back to life.

But her revival, and Ben's possible role in it, is only the first of the puzzles that Janelle must solve. While snooping in her FBI agent father's files for clues about her accident, she uncovers a clock that seems to be counting down to something—but to what? And when someone close to Janelle is killed, she can no longer deny what's right in front of her: Everything that's happened—the accident, the murder, the countdown clock, Ben's sudden appearance in her life—points to the end of life as she knows it. And as the clock ticks down, she realizes that if she wants to put a stop to the end of the world, she's going to need to uncover Ben's secrets—and keep from falling in love with him in the process.

From debut author Elizabeth Norris comes this shattering novel of one girl's fight to save herself, her world, and the boy she never saw coming.


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Product Details

  • Series: Unraveling (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Balzer + Bray; First Edition, First Printing edition (April 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062103733
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062103734
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (190 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,203,813 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After enduring several duds on my list, I decided to treat myself to a book I've been dying to read for a while. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I loved this book!

Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris is about Janelle, a teenaged girl who seems just like any other ordinary teen, until she dies... and is brought back to life by a boy she's never noticed. She believes she has been given a second chance and is determined to live life to the fullest. But she also has a streak of curiosity and wants to find out Ben's secret in addition to helping her FBI agent dad solve a case about several dead people who have apparently been killed by a healthy dose of radiation. To make matters worse, her father has found a device that is ticking down to a certain doomsday. Will Janelle be able to figure out the answers before the clock reaches zero?

If I could describe this book in a tagline, it would be Veronica Mars meets Fringe. The first 60% of the book, while beautifully written, doesn't have a ton of surprises. Instead, I would say it is almost an homage of all the wonderful books, movies, and shows that have come before it. In addition to the two I mentioned above, there are shout-outs to X-files, Ender's Game, Before I Fall, and some plot twists that are similar to the teen series and show Roswell. The characters are terrific-- Janelle is a wonderful protagonist-- spunky and smart. Her best friend, Alex, may be my favorite character. Ben is a fascinating love interest, and even though when I realize logically that the way he knows Janelle is kind of creepy, Norris masterfully weaves the story to make it seem normal. The pacing of the story is great, and the last 40% of the book approaches unknown territory, which makes it fun to keep guessing.

Overall, a terrific addition to the small but persistent genre of YA science fiction with a great protagonist and plot twists-- I can't wait to pick up the next installment.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Unraveling is a story with true emotional depth that kept me engaged with it's mystery surrounding the countdown clock, a possibly doomed love between two likable and realistic characters, and that's laced with tragedy that hits the heart and pulled at my heartstrings. I felt Unraveling was a character driven story, and it was told from the main character, Janelle's point view, as she tried to discover the reason behind the countdown clock and starts to realize that Ben Michaels is more than he leads everyone to believe.

I thought Janelle was a smart, easy-going, level headed teen who had more responsibility than the average teenager. She hasn't had the luxury of leading a carefree childhood because she has also been her younger brother's main caretaker since he was born with random spurts of help from her FBI agent dad because her mother is usually hiding from the world, sunken into a depression caused from bipolar disorder.

At the beginning, Ben seemed allusive, quiet and a little standoffish but deeper into the story, small surprising pieces of information about him are revealed, evolving his character into someone you end up feeling a emotional tie to. Ben and his friends are classic examples of "Don't judge a book by it's cover" because they are more then their surface appearances and attitudes would have you think.

While I enjoyed Unraveling immensely, there were a few plot holes for me, or maybe I should say pieces of the story that didn't make sense to have them included nor did they add to it in any way because they were put out there but never expanded upon, making me wonder why have them in the story at all.

Upon finished Unraveling, I felt the ending was fitting but one aspect of the finale left me feeling angry, very angry.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Elizabeth Norris's UNRAVELING is a fantastically exciting science fiction story, sort of a mash-up of THE X-FILES and QUANTAM LEAP, but ultimately original. The narrator is high school junior Janelle Tenner, who's pretty much an ordinary teenage girl until she's hit by a pickup truck and killed. But then something amazing happens - Ben Michaels brings her back to life. Janelle has no clue how Ben did it, but she's sure it happened. Because in the seconds between the accident and the arrival of the EMT crew, her severed spine is miraculously knitted back together. She knows it's true, and she knows it's because of Ben

Things just keep getting stranger and stranger for Janelle, as her father (a big wig at the FBI) begins investigating a series of odd murders involving radiation burns, and she finds herself growing closer and closer to Ben, the boy who saved her life. It's not long before she realizes that Ben and his two friends, Alijah and Reid, are somehow connected to the cases her father has been investigating. And a mysterious count-down, which neither the FBI nor Ben can explain, suggests that the world we know might not last another three weeks.

UNRAVELING is brilliantly paced, and intensely thrilling. In structure, it suggests the TV series 24, in which Jack Bauer had twenty-four hours to solve a mystery that threatened the world. In UNRAVELING, however, Janelle has twenty-four days to figure things out, and each chapter moves us closer by hours to the moment of truth. I was captivated from the very beginning.

Janelle is a beautifully drawn character who is totally real and believable, and her romance with Ben grows slowly until the reader is swept away with their story.
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