Sunday, September 30, 2012

Unraveling (Unraveling #1) by Elizabeth Norris (4/5 stars)

Title: Unraveling (Unraveling #1)
Author: Elizabeth Norris
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Date Published: April 24, 2012
Genre: Science Fiction
Paperback: 445 pages
Rating: 4/5 stars

 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. 

Janelle's tires were slashed by her sort of boyfriend's (Nick's) ex-girlfriend, possibly in connivance with her ex-best friend, Kate. Refusing to play the damsel in distress, she decides to start walking. While on the phone with her best friend Alex, trying to get him to pick up her younger brother Jared, she gets hit by a pickup truck. She's pretty sure she died. Only, she wakes up to find Ben Michaels touching broken parts of her somehow fixing them, Ben is someone she has never noticed before, never talked to before, but she sees visions, of her since she was little. Why does she see them through his eyes?

Unraveling starts off strong pulling me into the story with just a few pages. I initially thought it was a paranormal romance but when Janelle discovers pictures of bodies with radiation burns in her dad's files, her dad marking each picture with a countdown set of numbers, I got excited because the book is actually a Sci-Fi mystery! I would say it's Fringe meets Veronica Mars and I do love both tv series. 

The book's shortcoming, which isn't a shortcoming at all, is that there was way too much going on in Unravelling because of a few unnecessary stories and characters that felt crammed in a single installment, which makes me think, would the second book even have anything left to hook us in? For example, Janelle refuses to play damsel in distress because of her almost rape incident a few years back, she thought all along that she was raped but it turns out that Ben saved her. That story would be nice in the second installment, maybe when Janelle is thinking about Ben then she finally figures out that he has been present in her life all along, protecting her, without her knowing it and now he's gone. The story of how she started to date Nick, I could do without. What about Elise? If you've read the book you would have said by now, Elise, who? Elise was mentioned in the earlier parts of the story then she has made herself disappear! Cecily's character is another redundant character because we already have Alex, it was like her character was forced into the story midway.  

There was an inconsistency with Janelle having photographic memory too but it was something I easily brushed aside. At one point she had it, the picture of a body flashing in her mind making her remember the countdown numbers but then aside from that incident, she couldn't remember saving Ben when she was little and she had to repeat certain numbers to memorize it.

I did love Alex and Janelle's physics theories and how their guess wasn't correct! Their virus theory sounds like something teens of their generation would come up with. The explanation behind the isolated radiation burns was really good, even better than had their virus theory been correct. Their virus theory really threw me off the scent of the real story that I was more than pleasantly surprised when the truth was revealed! The pacing was constantly good throughout the story and the book had a lot of suspense that kept me on my toes. The love story between Ben and Janelle was sweet and amazing! Although on Janelle's side there was a little bit of that insta-love trope but the guy brought her back to life so I decided to not to gripe on that. One last thought, how everything turned out to be interconnected was executed with such finesse and flair that Ms. Norris has made it to my list of authors to watch out for!


  1. Wow! I def. want to read this book. It just sounds amazing. I'm going to wait till the sequel comes out and then buy both of them at the same time. I just don't like waiting. :)Great review.

    J'adore Happy Endings

  2. I like that this story has a sci-fi and mystery edge to it as well (I have a hard time reading straight romance). From your review, you got me dying to know what happened to the burn victims and what the heck those numbers mean! Off to find a copy :)

    Returning your follow!