Unraveling (Unraveling 1) by Elizabeth Norris
published by: Balzer & Bray
4 out of 5 stars
Read this if: You want a good twisting, YA book that not your standard dystopian or mean girls book
Don’t Read this if: you are easily freaked out, there are some scenes that are a bit gross (again, in a good way!)
The blurb was enough to draw me in: **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 **
So yeah, thats the story – Janelle dies and comes back, one of many similar plotted stories, so what can Norris do differently?
Its not so much what is done differently in Unraveling, its more whats done WELL. Janelle is a breath of fresh air in the genre, not some superhero-trained-amazonian but a normal girl who is a little headstrong and a typical teenager, she acts in her own interests first and considers others second.
Unraveling isn’t set in a dystiopian future and its really not about death (or seeing ghosts after a near-death experience etc) its about something completely different (I can’t tell you what though – or that will spoil the plot). Norris has wound an usual, and unexpected plot into the modern-day based teen novel. Janelle and Ben deal with every day issues as well as this great big count down. There’s love and loss and grief and everything in-between, you doubt the characters honesty and their motives and you start to look for things that aren’t there. Yes there’s the ‘save the world’ bit too – but it doesn’t take over, in fact its a side effect of the over-all plot, if Jenelle and Ben work out whats going on, then they CAN save the world – but DO they? Read it and find out!
There are moments in the book that truly gross you out (in a good way!), Norris’ descriptive voice is engaging and draws you into the world. A great book, and one that stands alone, no major cliff hangers (one or two but if you just read this, you’d be satisfied with the ending) but that is hopefully a start to a good series.
p.s – is it me or does the model on book cover 1 look like Melissa George?