Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Book Review: Unraveling

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. Quoted from Goodreads


This is how the world ends.  Literally.

Okay, so I've read a lot of Utopia/distopia books lately, and they all have one thing in common.  Once upon a time, the world ended, and then strange societies rise up out of the ashes, and thus the story begins. In contrast, this book is about the end of the world, and I love it.

The book starts out with paranormal leanings.  Janelle is mystically saved by a mysterious boy after being run over by a truck and dying.  See? Paranormal.  But things quickly move into scifi/mystery territory and tend to stay there the rest of the book.

Plot: In the beginning Janelle was hit by a man who's face was literally melting off.  He suffered from extreme radiation burns, and was basically dead when he hit her. So besides Janelle's miraculous recovery, there is the question of what happened to the poor man who ran her over.  And things just go up from there. Everything keeps building and building up to a perfect climax.  The book has lots of short chapters (sort of like The DaVinci Code) that forces you to keep turning pages when you know you shouldn't. Plus, there were a couple of things that happened that completely blindsided me.  I also really liked the countdown to the end.  It helps build the sense of urgency as the numbers grow lower and lower (and no, they didn't stop at 00:00:00:01, so you an avoid that lovely cliche).

Characters:  First and foremost, Janelle.  I really liked this girl.  She is smart, over achieving, caring, funny, and has an excellent voice. She comes across as real, confident, yet vulnerable. Then there's her Dad.  Honestly, you don't see him in the book all that much, but I felt like I really got to know him, and he was a great character.  Now Alex, her funny best friend, who stands by her, but will call on her crap when she makes a bad decision.  Finally, Ben, the mystery boy/love interest who sort of starts the end of the world. Yes, that's right.  He sort of does.  Are you intrigued?

Just a heads up, this book does have some language issues, nothing that you wouldn't hear daily in Jr. High---oh wait, yeah, Jr. High is worse. I thought the writing was good, though filled with a few too many pop culture references, which will unfortunately date the book a little.  

This is yet another lovely 4 star book.  What can I say? I like experiencing one author's version of the end of the world, or at least a lot of catastrophes.  This book is an excellent mix of a small group of people's problems that have global repercussions.


  1. Sounds good. Is it the start of a series, or is it a stand alone book?

  2. Start of a series, but it could sort of end here.