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Review: Unraveling

UNRAVELING by Elizabeth Norris was released in the U.S. on April 24, 2012 in hardcover, audio and eBook formats. It is currently available to order in all formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Published by Balzer + Bray, the print edition is 464 pages.

UNRAVELING is the first book in author Elizabeth Norris’ series of the same name. The second book in the series, UNBREAKABLE, is slated for release on April 23, 2013.

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Goodreads description:

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.

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UNRAVELING was a complete and total surprise in all the best possible ways. For readers a little hesitant about trying out a story dubbed “sci-fi” this book is the perfect read. It’s packed full of action, the characters are so easy to connect with, fall in love with, and become heartbroken over. The storyline is utterly engaging, the concepts fascinating, the ending killer.

While I was initially reluctant to pick up this book that I’d purchased on release date because of its label, from the moment I read the first lines I found myself wanting to read more. The author’s writing had a wonderful flow. It was engaging. It was inviting.

And it made me instantly curious about and incredibly sympathetic toward her main character, Janelle Tenner. Especially after the shocker the author threw in just pages into the story.

UNRAVELING is not just a story of the supernatural. It is a mystery. It is a love story. It is an adventure. One I was not able to put down. Even with a stack of “must read” books on my reading pile.

I was totally riveted to this story. To the heroine, Janelle. To the reluctant hero, Ben. And even to the best friend, Alex. I wanted to know the reason behind what happened to Janelle at the beginning of the book. I wanted to know just what part Ben had to play in everything that went down. I wanted to solve the mystery before the characters did. And I wanted to keep reading even after there were no more pages left to read.

Every pre-conceived notion I had about science-fiction was thrown out the window after I read UNRAVELING. It wasn’t this foreign, alien concept that I couldn’t wrap my head around. The science that was included as part of this story was fascinating. It kept me interested. It made me think. It made me want to know more.

But, of course, I was most captivated by the love story and the heartbreak. Which sometimes went hand-in-hand. I did not expect to make as strong of an emotional connection to this book as I did. I did not at all expect there to be tears. But there were. On more than one occasion.

And I did not expect the author to be as skilled at writing absolutely heart-wrenching scenes as she was at writing scenes filled with fast-paced action, nail-biting suspense and shocking surprises. Yet she mastered them all.

Elizabeth Norris created an interesting and wonderfully diverse group of characters in UNRAVELING. Some of whom were likable, lovable, brave or trustworthy or some combination thereof. Others who were the exact opposite.

And while there were a few characters I absolutely adored, Janelle and Ben were the two characters I believed in and rooted for from beginning to end.

Janelle is an amazingly strong character. She’s brave, determined, protective and fiercely loyal. But most of all she’s a fighter. Even with everything that she’d been through in her life, with everything and everyone she lost, she did not give up.

And Ben Michaels is equally as amazing, totally swoon-worthy, and just as determined, protective and loyal as Janelle. He melted my heart, he broke my heart and he brought me to tears more than once. But he so was totally worth it.

I love stories with a ticking clock, with an uncertain future and a boy with secrets. I love stories where a happy ending is only the thing of dreams. And I love stories where my jaw drops in surprise, where I wonder out loud, “What just happened?” and where I am left a bundle of nerves worried about what will happen next.

This was one of those stories.

Suspenseful. Surprising. Heartrending. Utterly irresistible. An absolute must read and one I must read again.

Reviewer gives this book…

Favorite passage:

I actually had quite a few, so choosing just the one wasn’t easy. But I thought this short passage, which makes me sigh every single time I read it, was the perfect tease for this amazing book.

Then the scent of mint, soap, and gasoline hits me, and it’s like I’m on my back on the 101 looking up at him all over again. But he turns away, and we narrowly avoid any physical contact. I watch his back for a few seconds, but he doesn’t turn around.

It doesn’t matter. Every nerve ending in my whole body feels as if it’s on fire.

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And if you’d like to take a longer look inside, courtesy of the publisher, HarperCollins, CLICK HERE.

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Book Trailer:

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8 Responses to “Review: Unraveling”

  1. Great review, Rachel. I think I’ve picked up this ARC at work a dozen times, but haven’t committed myself to reading it because I just wasn’t sure. I’ll definitely be grabbing it now. :)

    • Fiktshun009 says:

      I had an ARC of it too, though I ended up reading the eBook I purchased. I saw it sitting on my shelves for ages and ages and it just never screamed out to me. Then one night in October I was out and about without reception on my phone and it happened to be one of the books downloaded. I started reading and just couldn’t stop.

      It was such a surprise. And I love being surprised by a book. Totally worth the read and I wish I’d read it sooner. I hope you enjoy it too when you finally get the chance to read it!

  2. Erica says:

    I am so excited to read this one – I am really excited to hear that it was such a surprise and was excellent, as it tops my list of books I want to read currently :)

    • Fiktshun009 says:

      I hope you enjoy it! I was in such a reading funk for awhile and this book took that away. I love being surprised by a story. Just don’t read the description for book two UNBREAKABLE or you might want to wait until that book’s released before you start. :)

  3. Jen R. says:

    See? Your review was FANTASTIC, and not at all boring! I mean, Unraveling’s been sitting on my shelf for about 2 months now, but after reading your review, I’m definitely moving it up my TBR pile. You convinced me! :) I mean, the cover caught my attention, and so did the summary, but I’m not a fan of heavy sci-fi. I’m glad there’s supernatural, romance, and mystery in it too! And Janelle and Ben sound like awesome characters- though I think it’d be tad weird to read a story with a heroine who’s name is almost like mine, except for the “a”, since mine’s an “e”. XD Oh gosh, I wanna read this now so bad!

  4. Sadaf says:

    Great review! When I wrote my review, I just couldn’t even fin the words to describe it. I love this book!

    • Fiktshun009 says:

      Oh thank you so much! I don’t feel like I found the right words either. It took me forever to write the review because I was way too emotional and I don’t think I expressed that fully. But it was so awesome and heartbreaking. It was such a surprise and a book that I absolutely loved, too!

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