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Unraveling Hardcover – April 24, 2012
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"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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Top Customer Reviews
Let's start with the basics. The blurb tells you everything you need to know, so if you want to know what the book is about, read that. The important stuff to remember is that Janelle dies, is brought back, and there's a countdown that could mean the end of the world as we know it. Figuring out what that countdown is all about, who's behind it, and how to stop it is the driving force of the novel. Elizabeth Norris does an amazing job sustaining both the tension and the action. So well, in fact, that as I was reading, I could easily visualize the events of the book in my head, like they were playing out on the big screen - and for that, I really have to applaud her.
Now let's talk characters.
Janelle Turner is probably one of the best YA heroines I've read. Top 10, for sure. She's an honor student, works hard, loves and takes care of her family, has a strong personality, and is overall a take-charge kinda gal who isn't afraid to throw down and get her hands dirty if it's necessary. Seriously, what is not to love about a character like that? I mean, I suppose I could nitpick and find some type of flaw to criticize, but I don't really see the point of that, do you? The girl seriously rocks. She leaps right off the page and carries the story with so much maturity, spunk, and intelligence, you'll find it hard to believe she's a YA character. I sure did.
Ben Michaels is a foster kid who hangs with the stoner crowd, and though he and Janelle have gone to school together for years, he doesn't really register on her radar...that is, until the day he brings her back to life. Suddenly, he's front and center in Janelle's mind, and she won't rest until she finds out why and how he saved her. She simply has to know, and being Janelle, she won't take no for an answer.
I love Ben. Seriously, completely love him. Bad boys may have all the flash and fire, and they may garner the lion's share of attention from readers, but I have a huge soft spot for the quiet, steady-burning types, and Ben is certainly one of those. There's just something so true about him. Even when he's guarding his secrets and dodging questions he can't comfortably answer (with good reason), he somehow does it honestly. He's a good guy, through and through - a boy who just wants to do the right thing and be with the girl who stole his heart back when they were kids. That girl, of course, being Janelle.
The romance is strictly PG, but don't let that clean rating fool you. Janelle and Ben share a lot of intense, swoon-inducing moments. Hands down, my favorite scene between them was their classroom debate about a Charles Dickens book, and then of course there was that time Ben showed up at Janelle's house, all soaking wet from the rain and.....yeah. Great stuff!
There are a ton of other characters I could mention - Alex, Cecily, Barclay, Eli and Reid, to name a few - and each one of them plays a vital role in the story. When all the crap started hitting the fan and events began to spin out of control, I was on total tenterhooks, afraid not only for Janelle and Ben, but everyone. It's a rare book that gets me equally invested in all the characters, and if I could leaped into the pages and pushed them all out of harm's way, I would have. In a heartbeat.
(A word about the sci-fi stuff...I'll admit, I didn't understand everything the characters were talking about, and there were a few times I struggled to wrap my head around all the science-y stuff, BUT it didn't significantly affect my reading experience. So if you're worried about that aspect of it, don't.)
So would I recommend this book? YES. Absolutely. And when you're done reading it and having your minds blown by all the awesomeness, you can dive right into book 2, Unbreakable, which finishes off Janelle and Ben's incredible story.
4.5 Stars ★★★★1/2
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.
When I picked up Unraveling I thought it was a fairly new premise that I’d like. It wasn’t until about 1/4 of the way through that I had the sudden realization that this book reminds of the TV show Roswell from about 15 years ago. This was back when the network the WB still existed. Roswell starts out with a girl who dies and then is brought back by a guy whom she pretty much never paid attention to before. Now Unraveling does have different details, but that’s honestly all I could think of once I realized how much it reminded me of that TV show.
So why did I quit reading it? Well, I honestly wasn’t that interested in what happened to the characters. I find it hard to read any book when I’m not at least a little emotionally invested in what’s going on with the characters. In the book there’s a clock counting down to the destruction of the earth, and I wasn’t fazed at all by that fact. I do believe that my emotional detachment has at least a little bit to do with my next point.
The other issue I had with this book was that there was so much going on at once. It was hard to keep in mind that something huge like the world ending was going on while I was reading about Janelle’s everyday life. I think the point of including everything about her everyday life before Janelle died and was brought back was to show that she still had to deal with these things, but in my opinion it really slowed down the book.
I was promised new and exciting, but I was left with boredom and a lack of connection with the book. Too bad because I had high hopes.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Kept me turning through the pages to see what happened next. One of my all time favorites.Read more