Thursday, April 12, 2012
"Unraveling" by Elizabeth Norris
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Age Group: Young Adult
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.
Whew! What a ride. I went into this book not exactly sure of what to expect, but at least expecting that it was going to an exciting read. If was definitely an exciting read and there were so many twists and turns. It starts of pretty normal, actually. Janelle is having typical high school mean girl problems and happens to be dating the cute popular boy in school, even though she's not sure he's exactly what she's looking for. She's on her way to pick her brother up from school and then, bam! Hit by a truck, dead, brought back to life, and Ben. I appreciated the fact that no matter how much her friend Alex insisted she was just delirious, and didn't actually die, Janelle refused to back down. She was dead and now she's not, it's not something she could so easily make up. And that's only the beginning.
I loved Janelle. She is absolutely in my top 5 favorite female main characters. She is strong willed and tough, but she also has a lot of compassion and wants to do what she can for those that she loves. She's got so much spunk and I would definitely hang out with her if she were a real person. Heck, I'll be hanging out with her again when I reread UNRAVELING! Janelle has the best family, too. Her relationships with her dad and brother were so great. Her dad is an FBI work-a-holic and isn't around much, but when they were all together it was so much fun. They actually spouted lines from The X-Files back and forth between the three of them, and their dad was always hoping to find some sort of life beyond. Jared wasn't your typical little brother. Sure he was bratty on occasion, but for the most part him and Janelle were a great team. They spent time together and talked to one another. It's the kind of sibling relationship everyone should be lucky enough to have. Janelle's best friend Alex was such a loyal guy, willing to suspend his disbelief on some major things, because Janelle needed his help. I'm not so sure, presented with the same information that Alex was, that I could have joined in and helped the way he did. And Ben, what can I say about him. I was really unsure of Ben at the beginning of the book. We don't know much about him, other than he has a secret, and he's not so willing to divulge much information. I really enjoyed the friendship, then tenuous romance, that built between him and Janelle. There is a lot of crazy in their world, but they were really there for each other.
I want to say so many things about the amazing plot, but then you wouldn't get the awesome experience of discovering it for yourself. I had so many guesses as to what was going on and I never guessed right, but what turned out to be real was completely awesome. It's one of my favorite things about the book and I can't wait to find out more information about it in the coming books. I'm also really hoping to see more Jared in book two. While we did get to know him pretty well, I want to spend more sibling time with him and Janelle. I don't think there were any characters in the book that weren't great. Even the bad guys were so well written and I won't mind spending more pages with any of them.
All I can say is go read this as soon as you can, you will not be disappointed. It's such a wonderfully written, thrilling and adventurous story. There are plots twisting all over the place and it will keep the pages turning and you at the edge of your seat. Elizabeth Norris is a promising new author and I can't wait to see what she's got for us in the future!