{Review} Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris

{Review} Unraveling by Elizabeth NorrisUnraveling by Elizabeth Norris
Series: Unraveling
Published by Balzer & Bray on April 24, 2012
Genres: Adventure, Sci-Fi
Pages: 464
Goodreads Buy the Book
4 Stars

Sixteen-year-old Janelle Tenner is used to having a lot of responsibility. She balances working as a lifeguard in San Diego with an intense academic schedule. Janelle's mother is bipolar, and her dad is a workaholic FBI agent, which means Janelle also has to look out for her younger brother, Jared.

And that was before she died... and is brought back to life by Ben Michaels, a mysterious, alluring loner from her high school. When she discovers a strange clock that seems to be counting down to the earth's destruction, Janelle learns she has twenty-four days to figure out how to stop the clock and save the planet.

The 411:

Unraveling is a 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 we really liked it!

Seventeen-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.

Heart Border

What We Loved:

Though this book is kinda long (just under 450 pages), we found ourselves enamored with the story. We won’t say this was a can’t-put-down-have-to-know-what-happens-next kinda read, but we did want to know what was going on and get to the bottom of the mystery.

Most of all, we liked Janelle. More on her in a sec.

We also liked the boys. Ben’s totally swoonworthy, and we like Nick. We loved her relationship with best friend Alex and her little brother. We liked the friends. We liked the overall story, though we felt like there was a whole lot of it. Oh, and we liked 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.

The ending really surprised us, and we’re pretty impressed with Elizabeth Norris for that.

Heart Border

Um...Not So Much:

We felt like this book was a lot of things–mystery and romance and sci-fi and contemporary and so much. We don’t really know how to explain it, but at times we 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. We know those things shaped her into the person she is, but it was a lot. *shrugs*

Also, as much as we liked Janelle, we 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, we feel like when faced with certain apocalypse, she might have had different reactions. She might have asked for help.

Heart Border

The Girls:

Janelle Tenner. 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.”

Heart Border

Bottom Line:

If you are looking for sci-fi or mysteries or just a plain good story, then check out Unraveling.

Heart Border


Swoony Boys Podcast Approved


Featured on Swoony Boys Podcast

4 Stars

OMG Let's Totally Talk About It...


Want to include a link to one of your blog posts below your comment? Enter your URL in the website field, then click the button below to get started.