Summary: 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.
Unraveling is unlike any book I’ve ever read–it’s fast-paced adventure, with angst and humor and some swoon all thrown together. It’s contemporary, and it’s sci-fi. It’s a mystery and a coming-of-age tale. It’s so good, and I really liked it!
Like the synopsis says, 17-year-old Janelle is hit by a truck and dies. She has flashes of her happiest moments in life before waking up to find Ben Michaels, a boy who she recognizes from school, hovering over her and whispering that she’s going to be okay. He heals her, and she doesn’t understand exactly what happened.
The mystery doesn’t end there. Janelle comes across some cryptic notes written on pictures she finds while perusing her FBI father’s files–indicating a countdown of sorts. Add to that that Janelle had to deal with something that she doesn’t fully know the ramifications of happening to her when she was a freshman, and that her mother is bipolar, and you’ve got a lot going on.
Though this book is kinda long (just under 450 pages), I found myself enamored with the story. I won’t say this was a can’t-put-down-have-to-know-what-happens-next kinda read, I did want to know what was going on and get to the bottom of the mystery.
I liked a lot of things about it, but most of all, I liked Janelle. The girl was totally kick-ass. She was real, and it is obvious that Norris is totally in touch with the ya-crowd. Janelle curses, she kicks guys in the balls, and she can’t stay away from pretty boys.
“Shit, J,” Steve says as he gets out of the truck, his eyes wandering to the tendrils of my scar peeking out from under the left strap of my bathing suit. “You’re bailing?”
I grab my duffel and jump from the guard stand into the sand–and ignore the urge to remind hm that the scar is nothing he hasn’t seen all summer. “Dude, it’s all you until sundown.”
Steve doesn’t get a chance to say anything else. A clump of wet sand hits me in the leg, followed by a chorus of prepubescent male snickers.
“Aw, Nick. How many times I gotta tell you not to throw shit at chicks to get their attention?” Per usual, Kevin Collins, mediocre quarterback, star shortstop, and biggest man-whore of Eastview High School stands surrounded by a half-dozen of his Little League campers. “Sorry, Janelle, but you know my man. He’s just got no skillz.” He throws an arrogant smile at me because he knows he looks good enough without a shirt that most girls will forgive anything.
But I’m not most girls.
Instead I turn to his best friend. A blush and a lazy smile on his face, he’s swinging his hands together nervously. Tanned skin, short black hair, almond eyes, washboard abs. If I was Elise, I might say Nick Matherson is so pretty it hurts.”
What else do I like? I like the boys. Ben’s totally swoonworthy, and I like Nick. I love her relationship with best friend Alex and her little brother. I like the friends. I like the overall story, though I felt like there was a whole lot of it. Oh, and I like the swoon, though there isn’t a ton.
Our noses brush against each other. I hold my breath. Before he kisses me, I can feel how close we are, like the nerve endings in my body are so sensitive they’ve extended inches outward, and the electricity between us charges the space between. Ben hesitates, and I wonder if he’s changed his mind. I open my eyes to check.
And then his lips touch mine.
They’re soft and smooth, and they taste salty from his tears. And then he opens his mouth, our tongues touch, I taste mint, and his other hand slides around my waist, settling on my back. My mouth opens wider, and I don’t know if I’ll ever get enough of him.
And his hand at my back pushes me into him. Hard.
There’s no space between our bodies anymore, and all thought turns to frenzy.
What didn’t I like? Like I said, I felt like this book was a lot of things–mystery and romance and sci-fi and contemporary and so much. I don’t really know how to explain it, but at times I felt like it was too much stuff. Or not enough of one thing. It was just a lot to keep up with. And there did seem to be some that could have been omitted, like the stuff with her mom. And maybe basically everything that happened with her former BFF. I know those things shaped her into the person she is, but it was a lot. idk idk
Also, as much as I liked Janelle, I didn’t feel like her reactions to situations were very realistic. Yes, she’s seventeen. Yes, her father is an FBI agent, and yes, she’s very intelligent. But, I feel like when faced with certain apocalypse, she might have had different reactions. She might have asked for help.
The ending really surprised me, and I’m pretty impressed with Elizabeth Norris for that.
With that being said, I thought this book was great, and I liked it. If you want to read sci-fi or mysteries or just a plain good story, then check out Unraveling.
We’ve got an ARC of Unraveling to give away!!
Just leave us a comment and let us know why you are looking forward to reading. Ends Monday, April 30 at 11:59EST. Congratulations to our winner: lioness!!
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