Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris
Author: Elizabeth Norris
Series: Unraveling #1
Release Date: April 24, 2012
Dates Read: July 15-20, 2012
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, Janelle knows—with every fiber of her being—that Ben has somehow brought her back to life.
But her reincarnation, 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 one boy she never saw coming.
Unraveling was an action-packed joyride of a book. Elizabeth Norris said in an interview that she wrote the book she wanted to read. I think a big chunk of the young adult audience will concur — this is a novel they want to read. Although I don’t think such a thing exists, I would say that Unraveling reads like a good science-fiction, FBI thriller, time-bending, heart-pounding, high-stakes teen movie peppered with family drama and romance. If that makes it sound like way too much is going on, I apologize, because Norris manages to pull it off.
It all starts with an unassuming teen girl hit by a pickup on the side of the road. She knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that she died that day, and that a guy from her high school she’s never paid much attention to somehow brought her to life. But no one will listen to her. Who would? It’s such a crazy notion she’s sometimes not sure she believes it herself. But then other very strange things keep happening around her. Her father, an FBI agent, is stressed about a case that (upon further snooping) may somehow be related to her revival. And then there’s the clock — counting down until what could very well be the end of Janelle’s world.
I found the story to be really engrossing. Norris’ writing is engaging and keeps you turning the pages to see what can possibly happen next. The characters are great. I love the heroine, Janelle, and her relationships with the people around her are believable and relatable. The depth of her friendship with Alex is inspiring and you warm up to the romance with Ben even if you’re initially not so sure about the prospect. The action keeps your heart pounding and the mystery keeps you guessing until the end. The mind-blowing sci-fi twist leaves open many possibilities for the sequel.
Science fiction and thriller fans should definitely pick this up. I look forward to seeing where Norris takes us with Unbreakable in April!