Series: Unravelling, Book One
Published: 7th June 2012
Number of Pages: 416
Genre: Psychological Suspense, Thriller Suspense, Contemporary, Realistic-Fiction, Science-Fiction, Thriller, Suspense, Horror, YA
Recommended Age: 14+
Contains: Lots of Swearing, Alcohol, Drug and Sexual Assault References
Author's Site: Elizabeth Norris
Author's Blog: Elizabeth Norris
Leaving the beach, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit head on by a pickup truck.
Then, someone is leaning over her, healing her stopped heart. But if she was brought back to life, it must be for a very good reason.
Unless Janelle can stop it happening, the world is going to end in twenty three days.
The countdown has begun.
“I wonder how long I was dead. Because I know with absolute certainty that I was. Dead.
And I also know with absolute certainty that somehow - even though it defies any logical explanation - Ben Michaels brought me back.”
Janelle's life is far from perfect. Her mother is bipolar and barely manages to get out of bed. Her father is a full-time FBI agent who is hardly ever there. Janelle is responsible for her brother, trying to play the mother while also trying to be a normal teen.
She doesn't realise how dead she feels until she is actually, physically dead.
Hit by a car. Very definitely dead. And then... brought back. Healed. Alive. Someone restarting her silent, broken heart, leaning over her with worried brown-black eyes.
This person – the one who heals her – loves her. Very, very much. But surely, surely, they have a better reason for bringing her back. There has to be something bigger going on. Right?
Possibly something that is linked to the series of mysterious and bizarre cases Janelle's dad is investigating.
Like her own. The car – the one that killed her - is unregistered, created by a car company no one has ever heard of. As if the car just... appeared. Out of nowhere. The driver, a John Doe, who died after hitting her. He died in his car. Only, he seems to have died from extensive radiation burns - injuries that could never have happened to him inside the car.
But all of that's impossible, right?
Unfortunately, no. Something far bigger than her is going on. Something the whole world is going to find out about in, oh, about twenty three days.
Well. Not really going to find out about, per say. More... not discover. Cause the world will be over.
Unless Janelle, her best friend and saviour can stop it - unless they can keep everything from unravelling.
'So far all attempts to stop the countdown have been unsuccessful...'
So, let the countdown begin and pray that Janelle can stop it...
Unravelling is the kind of book you pick up, start to read and then just can't stop. It is totally addictive. I could barely do anything else – even the so-called 'important' stuff, like eating and sleeping and breathing... Who came up with these stupid bodily rules? They totally get in the way of my reading. It is extremely annoying. But back on topic, Unravelling was completely hooking. I literally could not put it down at all, no matter how hard I tried – not that I tried all that hard, really, given that the book is freaking amazing.
I absolutely adored Janelle. She was so normal and yet so not. She was clever, stubborn, strong and snarky. She never let anyone walk over her or stop her from doing what she wanted – namely investigating FBI cases. I do admit, the fact that the only thing that seemed to work for her when she was grieving was just throwing herself into snoop mode was a bit odd to me (personally, I'm the curl-up-and-cry-and-eat-chocolate-and-watch-trashy-TV kind of girl) but, hey! People grieve in their own way and if that's what works... And no. I'm not telling you why she's grieving. You're just gonna have to read the book and find out.
As for Ben... Yum. Right from the word go, he made me fall in love. Damn me and my weak spot for the tortured ones! But seriously, he was so so amazing.
And Alex... Oh, I want an Alex. He was so sweet and amazing and just always always there for Janelle, no matter what. And I loved that they were just friends – no love triangle including new mysterious boy and boy-next-door. Yay!
The whole daughter-keeping-family-together, absent-workaholic-father and/or emotionally-absent-disturbed-mother thing has been done numerous times. But I think what made this family and the family angle so special is that even though it seemed like it was almost on the verge of falling apart, the family was still normal. Janelle, her dad and her little brother fire off X-Files quotes, eat Chinese and joke around. There's Strutz, the basically-uncle, who's there and makes them laugh. Alex, to whom Janelle's dad is basically a second father. The beautiful, perfect and touching relationship between Janelle and her little brother Jared. Even the nickname they gave Janelle: "J-baby" just screamed normality. The mother might be the only abnormal thing, always holed up in bed with the occasional episode, but also the occasional normal, sunny period. And then there came The Event, which proved that even if you're normal and even though you love each other and are hanging on firmly, a single act or event can still devastate...
Oh, I have to mention the plot! Mainly 'cause I loved all the twists and turns. And, of course, because I'm a sucker for a good murder mystery! But my God, Miss Norris! Why do you seem to be set upon breaking my goddamn heart?! I mean, what's with that?! Because yes, this book that I wasn't expecting to be emotional, this book that I expected to be all sci-fi, was absolutely heartbreaking. The way Norris wrote... she made the sci-fi, far-fetched as it was, seem actually real and so emotional it was untrue. I fell in love, laughed, hated and then cried my eyes out at three in the morning. Oh, why did you do it, Miss Norris? Why why why...?
But back to the writing: it was brilliant. I think Janelle and her voice had a big part to play in that: J felt real and human and I felt everything she felt. Which, obviously, meant I mourned as she mourned. And now I'm pretty sure half my heart has been taken... But on top of the emotions there was the whole mystery. I loved that part of it - mainly 'cause generally speaking it didn't destroy me. I just had fun trying to figure everything out and loved racing through the book to the end, gobbling it all up. But seriously: that blend of emotions and pure sci-fi? Brilliant. Genius. Awesome. Yay!
So, yes. Unravelling was... incredible. I adored it. I have been left broken by it and yet absolutely deliriously desperate for Unbreakable. My heart may be broken but the torn muscle still aches for more of this story, of this world (or should I say worlds?) and of these characters. This is a book that will suck you in, capture your heart and mind and leave you breathless, broken and longing for more more more as soon as humanely possible. Just an absolutely stunning debut I can’t recommend enough.
4¼ Out of 5
4¼ Out of 5
Read this book if you liked:
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Lorien Legacies by Pittacus Lore
Partials by Dan Wells
Fated by Sarah Alderson
Slide by Jill Hathaway
Insignia by S.J. Kincaid
Sister Assassin by Kiersten White
Challenges It's Taking Part In: