Published: 01 June 2012 by HarperCollins
Format: Paperback, 416 pages
Genres: Science Fiction
Goodreads ● Booktopia
STOP THE COUNTDOWN. SAVE THE WORLD…
Leaving the beach, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit head on by a pickup truck.
Then Ben Michaels, resident stoner, is leaning over her. And even though it isn’t possible, she knows Ben somehow brought her back to life …
Meanwhile, Janelle’s father, a special agent for the FBI, starts working on a case that seems strangely connected to Ben. Digging in his files, Janelle finds a mysterious device – one that seems to be counting down to something that will happen in 23 days and 10 hours time.
That something? It might just be the end of the world. And if Janelle wants to stop it, she’s going to need to uncover Ben’s secrets – and keep from falling in love with him in the process …
Every now and again I come across a book that screams to be read in one sitting – forget eating and sleeping and just read! Unravelling is one of these books, and unfortunately my read through it was interrupted by … work. But I went straight back to it after I got home again! Everything about the book is superb – the pace, the setting, the wonderful relationships it portrays – but the elements that stand out for me are the characterisation and the plot.
Elizabeth Norris serves up a heart-stopping story in Unravelling – one that will keep you hanging for sure. There is barely a dull moment after Janelle is hit by a truck in the first chapter and wakes to find Ben hovering near her. What follows is a “Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but I was dead and, you saved me … maybe” (see what I did there?). At this point I thought I knew where the plot was going and then BAM, all bets were off and the book was hurtling towards new territory. Although I find it extremely odd that Janelle was able to easily access all her father’s FBI files, it became a minor nuisance as new details were revealed and the characters raced to save the world. The only complaint I have is that, as teenagers, they were extremely unequipped to deal with the situation and I wish they had brought in the proper authorities sooner.
I liked Janelle instantly – she’s smart, focussed, mature and dependable. And all this comes across in the very first chapter. She’s a girl after my own heart and I had an instant connection with her. I could see myself making many of the decisions she did and sharing her motivations for doing so. Janelle’s attraction to Ben also resonated within me, because for once it isn’t an insta-romance, and what blossoms between them is, in my eyes, realistic and very sweet. It’s only after the two get to know one another and find out they actually have a lot in common do they embark on a romantic journey.
Janelle’s life is centred around her younger brother Jared, whom she has basically brought up – her mother is bi-polar and her father deals with it by working as much as he can. I love the relationships Janelle has with her family, even her mother, and again, find this aspect of the novel to be realistic. Another awesome addition to the cast is Alex, Janelle’s best friend, and although I was fearful that the story would quickly spiral into a love triangle, I am happy to report that it didn’t. Alex remains her steadfast best friend and resident voice-of-reason – proving that a girl and a guy can be friends without romantic feelings developing between them.
A book to get your hands into as soon as you can, Unravelling is a rare blend of thriller, science fiction and young adult literature that I feel it will enjoyed by all readers. A brilliant book that is made more stunning in the light of being Elizabeth Norris’ debut – I know I’ll be eagerly awaiting anything she writes next!